Provocations of the Present: What Culture for What Geography?

I will be participating in the joint OU/RHUL workshop, which is the 6th annual Doreen Massey event, concerning how we can continue to think about how we bring together issues of culture and politics through the engagement between geography and social theory. Should be a stimulating day!

Provocations of the Present: What Culture for What Geography?

Friday, 6 June 2014, 10:00 – 17:00 The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

The Geography Departments of the Open University and Royal Holloway, University of London are delighted to announce that the 6th Doreen Massey Annual Event will take place on Friday 6 June 2014 at the Open University in Milton Keynes. This year’s theme is the role of cultural geography in the contemporary moment.

In his book Maps of Meaning (1989) Peter Jackson set out an agenda for the ‘new cultural geography’ that was firmly committed to bringing together issues of culture and politics through an engagement between geography and cultural theory. In the 25 years since its publication cultural geography has, arguably, come to dominate human geography. Theorisations of production of culture as production of space have formed the basis for addressing a variety of ‘issues’ including race, gender, nation, nature and culture.

Today those provocations for culturally attuned spatial thinking have been significantly reframed. Issues such as the environment, mobility, globalisation, liberalisation, security, sexuality and cultural intolerance have become more prominent political issues while other concerns have faded away. Cultural geography has also transformed, as too have the media and modalities of politics and political debate. How do we understand culture within this context and what is the role of cultural geography in the politics of the present? How will geography as a discipline be shaped by cultural geography? This event brings together some of the key thinkers in cultural geography in order to address these questions. As Peter Jackson said back in 1989:

If cultural geography is to be revitalised, … , ‘it cannot be by the defensive reiteration of well tried and by now well worn formulae. It can only be by an engagement with the contemporary intellectual terrain – not to counter a threat, but to discover an opportunity’(Jackson 1989: 180; Stedman Jones 1983: 24).


10.00 – 10.30: Coffee and registration
10.30 – 11.30: Panel presentations (Societies/Economies/Cultures)
11.30 – 11.45: Coffee
11.45 – 12.45: Panel presentations (Histories/Technologies/Environments)
12.45 – 13.45: Lunch
13.45 – 15.00: Small group discussions
15.00 – 15.30: Tea
15.30 – 17.00: Plenary
17:00 – 18:00: Wine reception

This is an opportunity for students to meet and exchange with key figures in cultural geography today.

Confirmed panellists include: Peter Adey, Phil Crang, Anindita Datta (via webcast), Mona Domosh (via webcast), Claire Dwyer, Isla Forsyth, Peter Jackson, Sam Kinsley, Pat Noxolo, George Revill, Gillian Rose, Anna Secor (via webcast), Divya Tolia-Kelly.

Parts of this event will be streamed live (the morning panel sessions and the afternoon plenary) and accessible through the Open University’s Webcast page. Those who are unable to attend in person will be able to join the live streaming and have an opportunity to submit questions that may be selected for discussion.

Registration is free, but we ask that everyone confirms their place by filling in their details on this registration form.

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