# Policy Forum investigates the geography of the court system
5th October, 2016
A Policy Forum organised by Alex Jeffrey on 29th and 30th September 2016 and funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award, brought together Judges, government officials, NGO representatives and academics to debate the implications of the re-organisation of the UK Court System. As trials are focused on fewer court buildings and digital technologies are enrolled by court users to facilitate access to justice, the debate focused on the role of court spaces in shaping judicial outcomes, the significance of courts as symbols of justice and the uneven adoption of technologies amongst court users.
Much of the discussion focused on the micro-scale of the court space, its organisation and the potential for innovation. For example, Meredith Rossner (LSE) presented recent research into the role of the dock in shaping and jury's perception of guilt or innocence, where the use of a dock (as opposed to the defendant sitting at a table next to their legal support) led to a statistical increase in guilty verdicts. Referring to this work, Judge Nicolas Coleman talked through the importance of the appropriate atmosphere for the achievement of justice – the significance of solemnity – drawing attention to the comportment of the judiciary but also the appropriate arrangement of trial spaces. Alexandra Marks, lawyer and board member of the legal reform NGO JUSTICE, emphasised the need for more flexible spaces to perform trials, including ad hoc or temporary courts alongside more formal judicial spaces. Particular attention was placed by Marks on the possibility of local justice centres in UK towns and cities where technologically mediated and face-to-face legal advice could be accessed by the public.
A more complete report an be found on PlacingLaw.
# Anthropocene: The journey to a new geological epoch
5th October, 2016
Over the last century, humans have littered the oceans with plastic, pumped CO2 into the air and raked fertilisers across the land. The impact of our species is so severe and so enduring that the current geological time period could soon be declared the 'Anthropocene'. This was the recommendation of a group of scientists in August. The announcement was the product of years of work and, arguably, arrived on the shoulders of centuries of scientific and philosophical grappling with the idea of humanity's role in shaping the world. Professor Phil Gibbard, of the Department, is interviewed in the article.
# All the World’s a Stage: Gray and Smith collaborate with Menagerie Theatre on play
4th October, 2016
What do you get when you cross two geographers with a theatre company? Mia Gray and Susan Smith have teamed up with Menagerie Theatre Company to bring you The Great Austerity Debate, a forum theatre event which shares questions and seeks fresh ideas about austerity's effects on people, policies and places. Is austerity inevitable? Is it fair? What are the alternatives? We start with a hard-hitting performance of an original play, followed by an interactive session when you get to give your responses, ideas and answers. It will be entertaining, sparky and unpredictable. We start our tour at the Festival of Ideas. Come along and join in!
The Great Austerity Debate is a year-long collaboration between Mia Gray, Susan Smith, and Menagerie Theatre Company. We created a forum theatre piece, A Life in the Week of Megan K., which tours to non-theatre venues in Cambridge, Great Yarmouth, County Durham, Norwich and London. Each venue chooses to host a performance for very specific reasons and it is through their interest and goodwill that the events are taking place. We tour to a church hall, a community centre, a former miners' reading room, a university lecture theatre and a trade union office. As in all forum theatre pieces, we involve the audience as "spect-actors" or creative participants, helping to solve problems to the play's thorny questions. The performances are largely free and the project will be documented on film. Gray and Smith's research and questions inspired the content and narrative of the piece and the performances themselves will even form part of their ongoing work.
# Releasing the Commons: in discussion with Professor Jeremy Gilbert
31st August, 2016
To mark the publication of Releasing the Commons: Rethinking the Futures of the Commons (Routledge, 2016), edited by Ash Amin and Philip Howell, the Department is delighted to welcome Professor Jeremy Gilbert to join us to discuss the theme of this collection: the challenges facing the global commons. Jeremy is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London, and is a noted analyst of contemporary politics and radical democracy. He is a regular commentator in the progressive media, and his most recent book is Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism (Pluto Press, 2013). This discussion will be held in the Department of Geography on Thursday, 29th September, at 4pm.
Releasing the Commons results from the Department of Geography's major international symposium, The Shrinking Commons?, which took place on 8-9 September 2014. The book contains contributions from the department's Alex Jeffrey and Sarah Radcliffe, joining Nick Blomley, Maria Fannin, J.K. Gibson-Graham (with Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy), Natalie Fenton, Bruce Lankford, Colin Mcfarlane (with Renu Desai), Adam Reed, Marilyn Strathern, and the late John Urry - whose passing we wish to commemorate at the same time as we celebrate his enormously influential body of work and commitment to social justice.
# Book prize for Matthew Gandy
22nd July, 2016
'The Fabric of Space' by Professor Matthew Gandy has won an award for "the most innovative book in planning history" from the International Planning Historical Society (IPHS). The announcement was made public on Wednesday 20th July at the 17th IPHS Conference in Delft, The Netherlands. This award was eligible to books written in English, based on original new research and published in 2014-2015. This prize is awarded biannually. Congratulations to Matthew.
# Matthew Gandy elected Fellow of the British Academy
21st July, 2016
Professor Matthew Gandy has been elected Fellow of the British Academy. The Academy elected 42 distinguished UK academics as Fellows, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to research. Their research areas span the breadth of humanities and social science.
# Book Launch: Professor Matthew Gandy ‘Moth’
18th May, 2016
Prof Matthew Gandy and Reaktion Books are delighted to invite you to celebrate the launch of 'Moth', a bold and fascinating new guide to these denizens of the night. (Read selected pages.) Matthew will be joined by Professor Susan Owens, Professor Steve Connor, and Jonathan Burt (series editor). Please join us for an evening in the shadows.
Thursday 9th June, Periodicals Room, Library, Department of Geography, 5.30pm - 7.00pm. Wine reception to follow. All are welcome. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
# Ron Martin awarded prestigious Victoria Medal
14th May, 2016
Professor Ron Martin been awarded the highly prestigious Victoria Medal for 2016 by the the Royal Geographical Society / Institute of British Geographers 'for outstanding contributions to the field of economic geography, especially with respect to advances in regional economic development theory'
# Prof Matthew Gandy book launch in Paris
13th May, 2016
Prof Matthew Gandy was in Paris, France on Thursday 12th May for the launch of his book 'Ecologie queer: Nature, sexualité et hétérotopie' translated by Olivier Piona. The book is a translation of Matthew's article that originally appeared in the journal "Society and Space" along with a range of additional photographs and materials. Matthew was joined at Les Mots A La Bouche by Anne Querrien, and introduced by Alessio Kolioulis.
# Rachel Meunier, Newnham College, wins Royal Geographical Society's Alfred Steers Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2015
4th May, 2016
Rachel Meunier, who graduated from the Geography Department with a Frist Class degree in July 2015, was selected as a winner of the 2015 Royal Geographical Society's Alfred Steers UG Dissertation Prize for her project entitled 'Bridging Urban Divides? The Clichy-Batignolles Urban Development Project, Paris'.
Rachel's dissertation was described by the judges as 'an extremely engaging and well-structured piece of work, with clear thinking, research and writing throughout'. They were particularly impressed by her 'exploration of the idea that shared spaces may also be contested, thus having the opposite effect of that desired'. It is for these reasons, amongst others, that Rachel's work stood out from all the dissertations reviewed, and was considered an 'exceptionally fine piece of undergraduate research'.