5 things I learned from my first post-doc

As I prepare to take up a lectureship at the start of April, I’ve been reflecting on what I have learned in the 15 months since I finished my PhD. No doubt there are many new challenges which await me as a new member of faculty, but it occurred to me that there are elements of my experience as a post-doc and insights I’ve had – many of which surprised me – which might be useful to others who are about to take up their first post-doc posts. DSC_0174

This post tries to summarise some of the key lessons and will hopefully be useful to some in preparing for what lies ahead. Continue reading

First year Geography BA teaching

We had a meeting last week to decide on the final outline for our Human Geographies of a Changing World module – the core module for first year students on our brand new Geography BA programme at UEA. I’ve found it both exciting and daunting to be involved in this process of creating introductory material for new students from scratch. On the one hand, it’s a privilege to be able to play a part in shaping UEA Geography’s emerging identity, and explore the different ways we can thread our particular concern with the environment through the full spectrum of approaches in academic Geography. On the other hand, its quite a responsibility to be charged with introducing new students to the discipline, and I’m constantly thinking about things we might have missed or that I might misrepresent in my teaching. Though, I’m assured by others that there will inevitably be a process of re-organising and re-writing  after our first year of running this module.

polar bear

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Two Cfps on systemic and relational participation

environmental justice

My colleague Jason Chilvers and I have two calls for papers open building on our work on systemic and relational approaches to participation in our UK Energy Research Centre-funded project.

The first call is for the 4S/EASST conference in Barcelona, August 31st – September 3rd 2016, on ‘Ecologies of participation: Thinking systemically about science and technology by other means’. The second call is for the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers’ Annual Conference, August 30th – September 2nd 2016, on ‘Relational Geographies of participation‘.

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Using blogging and social media in teaching

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to incorporate blogging and social media into University teaching over the last few weeks. This was prompted in part by this very interesting article on the Guardian’s Higher Education Network – which talked about some social media platforms which even I as a millennial have no experience using! This semester is also the second time that I have run the formative assessment component of my colleague Jason Chilvers’ ‘Science, Society & Sustainability’ Master’s level module as a blogging task. We were pleased with how the task went last year and the students seemed to enjoy it and find it useful, so we are running it again this year with a few small tweaks.

Public

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New job: Lecturer in the Human Geography of the Environment

UEA GeographyLast week I was delighted to be offered a lectureship in the Human Geography of the Environment in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, where I have been based since I started my Master’s degree. I will formally take up the lectureship on April 1st (when I will be, appropriately, at the Association of American Geographers annual conference in San Francisco) and my main task will be contribute to and help shape the School’s new Geography BA programme which starts in September 2016. I will carry on my involvement with the UKERC energy participation project which I have been working on as a senior research associate for the last year, but my new role will also give me the opportunity develop my ideas around ‘democratic innovations’ further and put some new research proposals together. I will also be helping to run field trips and taking on other teaching and administrative responsibilities.

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Beyond experiments: conceptualising democratic innovations

I have had an abstract accepted to contribute to a COST action workshop in Brighton in April, on the topic ‘Beyond experiments: Understanding how climate governance innovations become embedded‘. The aim of the workshop is to develop an edited book, and I’m using my chapter to develop my thinking on ‘democratic innovations’, a concept around which I hope to focus my research in future. What particularly attracted me to the workshop was the emphasis on bringing together insights from science and technology studies and governance studies which is something I have been thinking about a lot. I explain how I am hoping to do this in the abstract below, and how I think a focus on democratic innovations, rather than just public participation processes for example, can lead to new insights about climate governance.

Public

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Uneven geographies of openness and information

Here’s a post I wrote on the Geo open access: Geography and Environment blog a few weeks ago responding to a paper in the journal by Mark Graham, Stefano De Sabbata and Matthew A. Zook on information geographies.

I’m becoming increasingly interested in debates about open data and open access as a useful extension of and comparison with my work on public participation procedures, and this paper offered some insights relevant to this debate which I wanted to tease out.

Geo: Geography and Environment

By Helen Pallett (University of East Anglia, UK)

Open access to information and data appears to be a cause which has found its moment, with governments, businesses, NGOs and academics queuing up to ratify open access commitments and extoll its virtues. It has variously been heralded as a means of rejuvenating democracy, reforming corrupt institutions, holding big business and business-dealings to account, improving the quality of scientific data available, removing academics from their ivory towers, and changing relationships between publishers, academic journals and authors.

These arguments for the opening up of data and information now seem uncontroversial and have few serious detractors. However, an emerging body of work demonstrates that to take the geographies of information seriously is to add a significant but often-overlooked angle on debates in academia and policy on open access and open data. This is what Mark Graham, Stefano De Sabbata and Matthew A. Zook have done…

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