Conference of Irish Geographers, 16-18 May 2013
Conference Sessions

Conference sessions proposed as part of the Conference of Irish Geographers, NUI Galway, 16th – 18th May 2013 include:

Art and Geography Ireland


In recent years, artists and geographers have begun to have conversations about how they might learn from each others’ creative and research practices in a range of fields.[i] We wish to extend these international and transdisciplinary discussions as part of the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers (Transformative Geographies) at the National University of Ireland Galway and the annual Galway ‘Dance Days’ Public Programme.


The Space&Place/Ómós Áite research networks and the Galway Dancer in Residence are organising a special series of papers, sessions, conversations, workshops, discussion panels and performances that may incite reflection, listening and learning across the fields of Art and Geography (see: and


Our overlapping larger themes will include: Bodies and Spaces; Landscapes and Environments; and Creative Research Practices. We are soliciting proposals that consider how research and creative practices might result in transformative spatial imaginaries. Workshops and conversations, including by artist/architect Blaithin Quinn, Ambra Bergamasco, Ríonach Ní Néill, and Aoife McGrath and will engage with geographical practice, including the works of radical geographer David Harvey, a CIG plenary speaker. Participants will be invited to partake in ‘Dance Days’, the Galway Dancer in Residence Public Programme, with theatre and site-specific performances and workshops by Irish and international dance artists and companies La Veronal, Fitzgerald & Stapleton, and Eelena Giannotti, and practical and discursive engagements between artists, geographers and the public.


Possible sessions or proposals may include (but are not limited to):


Bodies and Spaces

* The Body as Place

* Body Memory

* Bodies/Selves/Environments/Emotions

* Embodied Spaces/Spatialities

* Body and Identity

* Bodily Movements and Pathways

* Choreographing Place/Emplacing Bodies

* Scaling the Body

* Places of Insurgency

* Access/Rights to Places


Landscapes and Environments

* Literary and Living Landscapes

* Urban (Re)Generation

* Ecologies (social, emotional, environmental) and Livelihoods

* Choreographing Natures

* Earthing Bodies

* Writing Bodies onto the Earth/Writing the Earth onto Bodies

* Indigenous Geographies

* Architectures/Performances of Space 

* Public Art

* Custodianship and Inherited Landscapes and Environments


Creative Research Practices

* Mappings

* Curating

* Fieldwork

* Place-based, Embedded and Socially Engaged Practices

* Animating Publics

* Creating Experimental Communities

* Body-Work and Memory-Work

* Telling Stories and Learning to Listen

* The Art of Geography/The Geography of Art

* Performance/Practice as Research


We are open proposals that work within the constraints of conference schedules (90 minutes) and available spaces (on and/or near NUIG campus). Formats may include: conversations, works in progress, panel discussions, workshops, papers, and film. We welcome experimental formats.


Proposal abstract deadline: 15 March 2013. Please send a 250-word abstract, a one page c.v., images, weblinks and av/space requirements, and contact details to: In your submission, please include:

·      Your name, affiliation, email (or contact details)

·      Proposal title, type of format (paper, panellist for discussion, workshop, etc)

·      Overview what questions, concepts and topics you wish to explore and how

·      Which of the three themes you see your proposal fitting best with.

·      AV and/or space requirements

·      Date/time restrictions


Funding: We will offer a limited number conference fee bursaries for artists and practitioners. We do not yet have funding for artists’ or practitioner travel bursaries, but are happy to write letters of invitation if an individual can seek funding.


Due to a limited number of session slots, we may not be able to accommodate all submissions. We will let applicants know of the outcomes of the CFP by April 1, and will try to facilitate placement of submissions in other CIG sessions if the Art and Geography Ireland sessions are full.


Contemporary rural research; critical perspectives and interventions

In his first Editorial for the Journal of Rural Studies (2012), Prof. Mike Woods cast a view back over the evolution and expansion of rural studies since the journal was first founded by Prof. Paul Cloke in 1985.  He identified the emergence of a critical rural social science which had been nurtured through the openness of editorial perspectives on conceptual and methodological innovation, marked by contributors’ engagements with major critical theories of the time, including political-economic, post-modern and post-structuralist perspectives.  The impact of these engagements has been to place rural studies to the fore in terms of academic significance.  They have also served to keep rural issues to the forefront of wide-ranging political debates taking place at national and international levels.

In spite of this success, Woods (ibid.) sounded a note of concern about the progress made by rural research on a number of crucial issues including the social and economic future of rural areas in the global north impacted by ongoing processes of change and development, as well as the persistent situation of extreme poverty in rural areas of the global south.  He drew attention to the need for rural studies to move beyond highlighting the complexity and diversity of rural phenomena and rural issues to a point where the significance of this complexity transfers into successful forms of interventions for rural places and populations; interventions that answer broad-ranging policy and resource-management questions on pressing issues such as climate change, food security and energy supply, but that are at the same time sensitive to aspects such as the cultural and symbolic specificities of rural places for its residents.  Key areas of research that present ongoing challenges for rural areas are highlighted.  Of these, the following form the basis for this call for papers:

• issues relating to the sustainable use of resources and the potential social, environmental and political dimensions for rural localities;
• the resilience of rural communities to environmental uncertainties; critical analysis of the political economies of new strategies for rural economic development based on the sustainable use and management of environmental resources;
• the changing nature of state intervention in rural societies and economies particularly in the context of neoliberal reforms, including the impacts on agricultural supports, the changing form of governance structures.

Papers that engage with any of the above debates are invited.  Please forward your abstracts and any queries to the conference convenors:

Marie Mahon, NUI Galway (, Maura Farrell, NUI Galway (, John McDonagh, NUI Galway (


Charting new pathways towards sustainable consumption: Policy challenges and promising practices
Session Organiser: Mary Jo Lavelle, Geography, NUI Galway. Email
In line with this theme, the session (see attached) in question aims to bring together papers that address, connect and expand geographical research on consumer behaviours and lifestyles, with regard to their social and cultural embeddedness in consumption practices, as well as the interdependencies of these behaviours within wider contextual and political frameworks.
 Abstracts are invited from members of the policy and practice community, as well as from researchers and scholars from varying disciplines in the academic community (e.g. Sociology, Geography, Psychology, Marketing, Economics, and Health Studies). With the overall aim of promoting comprehensive academic discourse on issues pertaining to sustainable consumption, empirically-based and theoretically-informed papers are invited which may address (but are not limited to) the following areas:
§  Sustainable consumption and behaviour change - theoretical perspectives
§  Implementation of sustainable consumption policy
§  Sustainable lifestyles
§  Sustainable consumption across different lifestyle groupings and across varying socio-economic contexts
If you, or another member of your organisation, would be interested in contributing to this event, please submit your abstract via the website: The deadline for abstract submissions is March 14th 2013


Coastal and Marine Session
Session Organisers:  Eugene Farrell and Kevin Lynch, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, Ireland.
We invite you to participate in a Coastal and Marine Session at CIG 2013 in Galway, Ireland on 16-18th May, 2013.  Please consider submitting an abstract on your latest research findings. Final date for abstract submission: 14th March 2013.For further details on the session please contact: or


Community Geographies

Session Organisers: Stephen Rigney and Eoin O'Mahony, Geography, NUI Maynooth

Community geography is a wide ranging and often misunderstood area of geographic research. This session is designed to bring together researchers, teachers and community activists who share an interest in community geographies in an Irish context. Papers covering all aspects of community geography including walking geographies, community mapping, public geographic resources are welcome. 

For further details on the session(s), please contact Eoin O'Mahony (


Ecological impacts of climate change

This session aims to bring together practitioners and academics from the ecological and atmospheric sciences in an effort to promote interdisciplinary discussion relating to the potential impacts of climate change on natural and managed ecosystems. Evidence of changes in species population dynamics, ecosystem functioning and geographic distribution are well documented in international literature; however this area remains under-explored in an Irish context. This session welcomes submissions relating to (but not limited by) the aforementioned areas of research, utilising both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

If you are interested in contribution to this session, please contact or


Emerging Themes in Postgraduate Geographies

Submissions are invited for paper presentations that cover new and emerging themes in postgraduate geography. Although not restricted to, presentations are welcomed that address the conference theme of ‘Transformative Geographies: Critical Reflections on Environment, Sustainability and Governmentality’. Presenters are particularly encouraged to raise theoretical or methodological challenges associated with their research as these sessions provide an unique opportunity for new researchers to present work-in-progress in an open and supportive environment and to gain individual feedback on their research from those with similar experiences.
This session provides a friendly and supportive space to present and explore the innovative and exciting geographical research being done by postgraduates. The format consists of a series of 15-minute presentations summarising either a completed research project or research in progress followed by the opportunity for questions and a general discussion of new and emerging themes coming from the sessions. They also provide participants with a rapid and intensive update and overview of emerging postgraduate geographical research.

Abstracts of 200 words can be submitted to Richard Scriven at


Geomorphology Session
Session Organisers:  Eugene Farrell and Kevin Lynch, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, Ireland.
We invite you to participate in a Geomorphology Session at CIG 2013 in Galway, Ireland on 16-18th May, 2013.  Please consider submitting an abstract on your latest research findings. Final date for abstract submission: 14th March 2013.
For further details on the session please contact: or


Palaeoenvironmental Change

Session Organisers: Dr Aaron Potito and Michelle McKeown, Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit, School of Geography and Archaeology, National University of Ireland Galway.For further details on the session(s), please contact Aaron Potito ( or Michelle McKeown (

Palaeoenvironmental research covers a wide range of topics including historic and pre-historic landscape change, evidence for and effects of past climate change, ice sheet dynamics and human-environment relations through time. This session is thus designed to bring together researchers who share an interest in past environments, with an eye towards how the recent or distant past can be used to inform the present. Papers covering all aspects of palaeoenvironmental research, including ecological, geomorphological, climatological, archaeological and inter-disciplinary perspectives, will be welcomed.  To register for the CIG and submit your abstract online, please visit the conference website:

Final date for abstract submission: 14th March 2013  


Poster Session

Poster presentations relating to topics which complement the conference theme – ‘Transforming Geographies: Critical Reflections on Environment, Sustainability and Governmentality’- are welcomed. There is a 250 word limit for poster abstracts. The abstract must clearly describe the research topic and include the aim or rationale for the study, as well as methods and implementation processes employed, and results obtained. A brief account highlighting how the research pertains to the conference theme is also required. There is no limit to the number of posters that will be accepted from a single author/group.

Accepted posters will be prominently on display next to the exhibition area throughout the three days of the conference; providing the author with an ideal dissemination opportunity as well as an excellent forum for individual discussion. All submitted posters will be eligible for the ‘Best Poster Award’. The evaluation criteria will be based on posters’ succinctness and clarity, conciseness and general ‘appeal’. Text should be limited to brief statements. Specific information regarding size and mounting requirements will be provided with the notice of acceptance.

Abstracts can be submitted to Mary Jo Lavelle at


Public geography through social media: An open discussion on the Ireland After NAMA blog

Organised by Cian O’Callaghan, Rob Kitchin, and Philip Lawton

The Ireland After NAMA (IAN) public geographies blog ( was founded in November 2009 with the aim of providing a spatial and social commentary on the impacts of the economic crisis in Ireland.  The goal of the IAN venture is to communicate academic knowledge to wider publics (digital and otherwise), to contribute to and shape current debates, and to create a dialogue between Irish geographers and other communities. Through posting on the site, Irish geographers have found an entry point into wider public debates and have influenced policy issues.  On average there are 350-500 views per day, and often considerably more, while the project has also has led to significant media work (over 500 newspaper articles and radio and television interviews). Such public geography projects are not without their challenges and pitfalls, not least because they alter and challenge the ways in which academics work, communicate and are assessed.  Similarly, such projects require substantial time and energy to sustain.

The IAN collective recently published its 500th post since starting the blog over three years ago.  This milestone provides an opportune moment to frame an open discussion about the current relevance of the blog as a tool for Irish geographers to communicate to wider publics and the directions that this might take in the future.  Although Ireland is still very much undergoing a period of crisis, the context has nevertheless shifted since the establishment of the blog.  A small number of panellists will offer a range of perspectives on their experiences contributing to the blog as a preposition to an open discussion on the role of IAN and social media more generally in the development of Geography in Ireland.


Spaces and places of migration: Considering the transformative human geographies of migrants and mobility
1. Migration and its impacts across rural spaces

Rural areas in developed countries of the world experienced a relatively rapid turnaround in population movements during the last two decades. From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, inward flows of labour migrants, commuters, first and second generation returnees and retirees took place. Since the late 2000s, reversals of these trends have emerged in many areas. Papers are invited that address the geographies, socio-economic composition and local impacts of recent migration to and from rural areas in terms of data sources and methodologies, the patterns and composition of the flows and their impacts on local demography.

Abstracts can be submitted to Dr. Mary Cawley at

2. We asked for workers but  we got families instead: Considering children, young people and families in migration

Within the context of the ongoing economic downturn, it is necessary to consider how migration and mobility shapes the experiences of children, young people and their families. How do current practices of governance and regulation affect families? How are immigrant families, children and young people faring in the current economic downturn? What identities are they forming? How do they navigate integration and citizenship as normative ideals, political processes and lived experiences?  How do they navigate trans-national and trans-generational spaces? Papers are invited that address these questions from across the epistemological and methodological spectrum.

Abstracts can be submitted to Dr. Valerie Ledwith at

To register for the CIG and formally submit your abstract online, please visit the conference website: Final date for abstract submission: 14th March 2013  


Rural tourism:  The role of niche tourism products

Session Organisers:  Therese Conway and Deborah Kanakis, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway. Email:

The rural environment has a particular role to play in attracting visitors to countryside locations and in turn contributing to the local economy.  It is a role which is being promoted by local communities and relevant organisations, in the form of rural tourism, as a catalyst for development in otherwise lagging regions.  Many rural regions are undergoing a rapid and large scale change and the countryside is facing considerable challenges (McDonagh 2007); many of these challenges are associated with a decline in agri-economic activities which are associated with a decline in the intensity of land use and changes in the methods used in food production (Cawley 2010).  Since the 1990s attempts have been made worldwide to address a wide range of pressing economic, social and environmental problems that beset many peripheral rural areas (Moseley 2003; Che 2006), and alternative sources of income have been sought (Hall and Jenkins 1998; Cawley and Gillmor 2007).  Rural tourism has been identified as playing an important part in this context, as it is recognised that it has the potential to provide an economically, culturally and environmentally sustainable future for rural areas (McAreavey and McDonagh 2011; Cawley et al. 2007).  There are many niches to rural tourism which include, but are not limited to; activity tourism, agri-tourism, culture and heritage tourism and ecotourism.  All of these forms of tourism have the potential to contribute to the economic, environmental and sociocultural sustainability of rural regions in both developing and developed countries.  Papers will be welcomed which address some of these niches in rural tourism.  Sub themes include: Activity tourism, Agri-tourism, Cultural and heritage tourism, Ecotourism

The interdisciplinary needs of contemporary environmental research

Session Conveners: Dr. Stephen Flood, ICARUS, NUIM and Ms Alexandra Revez, NUIG Email: or
Interdisciplinarity is hailed as a useful and necessary approach to gaining a fuller understanding of many contemporary issues in geography. This is especially true in the area of environmental research; where traditional physical and human geography practices often combine together in order to answer important research questions.
Analysis of complex physical environmental processes such as inland or coastal flooding, air pollution or climate change needs to be complemented with research that explores the associated social processes that both impact upon and are impacted by the natural and man-made environment in order to capture the complexity of human-environmental systems. A greater understanding of this human-environmental interaction is critical for decision-makers in taking actions that impact upon the natural environment and society. Only through linking the physical and human environment more completely can policy-makers hope to undertake the process of effectively managing and coping with complex environmental issues.  
This session welcomes interdisciplinary papers which explore contemporary environmental issues such as climate change, flooding and pollution that may employ a range of quantitative and qualitative methods including, but not limited to, environmental mapping and modeling, policy analysis and stakeholder analysis.


Transformations, Transitions, Transgressions: Contemporary food politics
Session convenors: Dr Alma Clavin (NUIG) and Dr Colin Sage (UCC)
 Alma Clavin:
Colin Sage:
The recent ‘horse meat’ scandal might be regarded as the latest transgression in food’s governmentality, another episode that reveals the food system’s failure to provide assurances of the health and safety of its otherwise cheap food. Yet while the corporate sector continues to strengthen its grip on the supply chain, and public policy is preoccupied with ‘restoring consumer confidence’, increasing numbers of households and communities throughout the Global North are exploring alternative arrangements for procuring their food. Relocalisation continues to resonate as the basis for greater traceability and transparency, with new forms of social organisation emerging that reveal a dynamic process of innovation and experimentation around food. Community gardens, allotments and orchards; community supported agriculture, box schemes and collective purchasing agreements: all attest to the vigour that can be found at local level creating new practices and, arguably, a new micro-politics around food. Such efforts serve to challenge and reshape narrative boundaries, even while the discourse of cheap food remains paramount, particularly at a time of economic austerity.
We invite papers on a wide range of themes that are centrally concerned with the matter of food: its production, supply, and/or consumption; its representation through the media; or papers that attend to some other aspect of its contemporary geography or politics on the island of Ireland or as part of a European-wide production and trading system. Titles and abstracts of 250 words should be submitted to the convenors and online by 14th March.


Transformative Geographies: The Lifework of Neil Smith
Session organiser, John Morrissey, Geography, NUI Galway. Email

Neil Smith’s standing as one of the most influential geographers of his generation was the result of a wide range of critical intellectual interventions through the course of his career on a number of urgent political and social geographical concerns. These include questions of: urban renewal and gentrification; the production of nature; the political economy of imperialism; and the spatial and scalar relations of globalization and neoliberal interventionism. Given Neil’s recent sad passing, this session seeks to connect to his lifework by having papers address any of the broader concerns of human geography that his writing and activism so brilliantly engaged. The session is being organised by the Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster in Geography at NUIG, and, in line with the overall conference theme, papers are particularly welcome that address the cluster’s core concern of insisting upon transformative human geographies in the ongoing critique of what Neil theorised as ‘uneven development’.
Since 2009, Neil served as external examiner for Geography’s MA in Environment, Society and Development programme at NUIG, and all colleagues, as well as those who knew him in the wider geographical community in Ireland, remember Neil as a passionate and wholly committed human geographer as well as a warm and wonderfully spirited man. We are delighted to have David Harvey, Neil’s lifelong friend and intellectual confidante, as one of our keynote speakers at this year’s CIG. David will be attending this session, and it will culminate in the launch of the Neil Smith Graduate Research Award in Neil’s honour.

If you are interested in contributing to the session, please submit an abstract via the conference website (the deadline for submissions is March 14th). For any queries, please contact the session organiser, John Morrissey, at