Department of Geography
Renaturing cities - working with policymakers
A group of approximately 40 researchers from the UK and Brazil, including our own Dr Heather Rumble, joined policymakers in Goiânia on a workshop about the renaturalisation of cities. Heather was a member of the workshop’s organising committee and participated as a tutor. The workshop not only enabled researchers to share expertise and build new knowledge, but also to work with policymakers to find ways to make positive transformations to their cities. Researchers came from a range of areas, such as urban ecology, town planning, biology, architecture, landscape planning and geography to propose multidisciplinary solutions to the problems of how to balance urbanisation with nature.
The workshop was part of the project Re-Naturing Cities: Theories, Strategies and Methodologies, led by Dr Fabiano Lemes, from the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth. The project was funded by the British Council and Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás (FAPEG), under the Newton Fund Researcher Links Programme.
New Lecturer in GIS appointed
We're delighted to welcome Dr Faith Taylor to the Department as our new Lecturer in Geographical Information Science (GIS). Faith's research converges around the themes of natural hazards, geocomputational techniques and the Global South. Faith brings a wealth of experience in the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS-GIS) and open, freely available data for advancing our understanding of risk in Global South contexts. Her expertise will be put to good use in the teaching of our MSc Geographical Information Systems programme.
Understanding management of migrants
Dr Diana Martin recently undertook fieldwork in Italy where she carried out interviews with local authorities, asylum seekers, NGOs, and civil society organisations assisting migrants. Data collected will help understand how current management operates and whether there is scope for improvement, taking into account the needs of asylum seekers and local communities. More broadly, Diana's research focuses on European countries' management of the most recent migration flows. In particular, she is interested in uncovering the relationship between institutional and informal spaces of refuge.
Uganda field trip
Eight final year Geography students on the unit Environment and Development travelled to Uganda with Drs Julia Brown and Diana Martin as part of a two week fieldtrip to learn about how groundwater is accessed and managed for sustainability in rural areas. The students undertook research - interviews and focus groups - with community members and had a go at collecting water from a shallow well (locally called a shadoof) which has enhanced their learning, research skills and confidence by working as a team in remote and challenging areas.
Students debate racism in football
Following a series of sessions on the geographies of race, students recreated the FA boardroom to debate the issue of racism in football. Students worked in four groups - black footballers, non-black footballers, FA board members and geographers (working as independent mediators) - to approach the issue from a range of perspectives. The workshop, led by Dr Tara Woodyer, was a great opportunity to apply theory to a real world issue, with students demonstrating high level powers of analysis.
Contours Magazine Issue 3
Issue 3 of our Contours Magazine is now available.
The newsletter of the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Geography. Whether you are a current, future or former student, or you are simply interested in Geography, we extend a very warm welcome to you.
In this issue we look to how researchers in the department have shed light on better incorporating nature into our cities, contributed to a major art exhibition on the American Civil War, and are studying the effects of climate change on Norway’s glaciers. We also celebrate the achievements of our students!
New BSc Sustainable Environmental Management Course
The Department of Geography is pleased to be offering a new undergraduate course for 2018 entry. The BSc Sustainable Environmental Management is a three year course with the possibility of a four year sandwich course. The course is aimed at those with a passion for environmental issues and sustainability. The course covers both applied aspects in relation to environmental management as well as practical based units looking at solutions for environmental issues. The first year is developed to give the students a broad understanding of environmental and geographical issues. In the second and third year students will focus on environmentally themed units. Aspects covered include sustainability, ecosystem services, impact assessment and, footprinting. In addition, students will be able to choose optional units related to GIS, coastal management or employability. This course is fully certified by the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Management (IEMA), and students will graduate with a GradIEMA status in addition to their degree. The course will be taught by staff with an applied knowledge of environmental management assisted by experts from the environmental profession.
Geography helps festival goers map their musical memories
A team from geography attended Victorious Festival this year to create the #UoPMusicMap. Festival goers created a map with nearly 600 points, sharing the songs that remind them of a special place on the globe. Song buffs also tested their trivia, finding song lyrics from every country in the world - we still have some gaps in Africa, but most countries were covered by the end of the festival. The event was designed to show that music and place are important and intertwined in culture and that geography can help us understand this relationship. We helped get the message to over 3000 people on Twitter. Watch this space; the #UoPMusicMap will return!
Department given all clear to fly drones
At the beginning of October the University of Portsmouth was granted a Permission for Commercial Work (PfCO). This allows the University to fly multi-rotor drones weighing less than 7kg for research, education and commercial work in the UK. Drones, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), as they are officially called within the University, can be used for a wide range of data capture, from filming and photography to surveying and inspection, and for a wide range of applications, in film making, civil engineering or environmental monitoring, for example. Survey data collected from drones can provide high detail, high accuracy data at a relatively low cost. They can be deployed quickly in approved areas and can monitor change with a high temporal resolution.
Staff from Geography have been involved in the University's application process from the beginning and have one approved pilot and one pilot in training amongst their technical staff. Geography have a high accuracy GPS equipped survey octocopter, which they look forward to now using in applied research projects.
For more information contact Martin Schaefer, GIS Manager in Geography.
Geography Graduation Day
The department were very proud to see the 2017 student cohort graduate this week and enjoyed giving them a good send off at the post-ceremony reception held in Ravelin Park. Congratulations to the following graduates on their well-deserved awards:
Best Undergraduate Student
Best Undergraduate Dissertation Prize
Bethany Harbour and Rowan Taylor were awarded a joint prize of the Colin Warner Memorial Prize for Best Undergraduate Students Dissertation.
Dominic Scannell received an award from IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) for Best Environmental Dissertation.
Departmental Prize for Excellent Performance
See our departmental Twitter feed for more news and pictures from the day: https://twitter.com/PortsmouthGeog
Stay in touch, graduates!
Geography undergraduate programmes awarded RGS professional accreditation
We are delighted our BA (Hons) and BSc (Hons) Geography degree programmes have been awarded Royal Geographical Society (RGS) accreditation. The RGS accreditation scheme offers recognition of undergraduate programmes delivering key geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches, and the development of professional and personal attributes of geography graduates. Programmes are assessed in line with the QAA subject benchmark statement for Geography, which defines what can be expected of a graduate in terms of the knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches they have gained.
For students, the RGS state that "Accreditation is one of the ways for a university to receive an independent check that the knowledge, skills and other attributes expected of high quality geography graduates are being delivered. During the accreditation process, the course’s content and delivery is assessed by a peer review panel (of academics and professional geographers working in public and private sectors) in terms of the geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches taught and the professional attributes and transferable skills graduates will acquire".
Postgraduate student wins national research poster prize
Katherine Brailsford has won the Royal Geographical Society Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference’s research poster prize. Katherine is currently studying on our MRes Science programme. This is a great achievement as her poster was judged alongside those by doctoral students, who are more advanced in their academic research careers. The professional judges agreed the poster content was intellectually novel and clearly carved out new research avenues on care, age and gender, addressing a subject matter that is relatively untheorised, both empirically and conceptually.
Katherine accepting her prize from judge, Dr Andy Williams.