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News archive

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# Into the Inferno ranked second amongst volcano films

Into the Inferno, co-directed by Professor Clive Oppenheimer, has been ranked second in this list of "the most epic, exploding-mountain movies ever made".

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# Premdeep Gill elected to RGS Council

PhD student, Prem Gill, has been elected by members of the Royal Geographical Society to the Council of the RGS as the Expedition and Fieldwork Councillor for the next three years.

The Council is responsible for the Society's governance and Prem joins a group of 21 elected members. As the Expedition and Fieldwork Councillor, Prem will lead the Expeditions and Fieldwork Committee, using his specific expertise to help guide members and Society staff.

Prem Gill is currently a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr Gareth Rees, leading the "Seals from Space: the study of Antarctic pack-ice seals by remote sensing" priority project with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

# Britain is crumbling into the sea – but does it matter?

"Sea level rise is a massive inter-generational problem: our children and our grandchildren should not be the victims of poorly informed and short-termist decisions made now" says Tom Spencer, arguing for long-term strategic planning at the coast and contributing to the debate on what to do about coastal erosion, in The Telegraph , 25th June 2022.

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# Academic promotions

The Department is delighted by the success of colleagues who have been promoted in the current Academic Career Pathways exercise. The announcement has just been released in the Reporter.

Professor Emma Mawdsley has been promoted to Professor (Grade 12) and Dr Neil Arnold, Dr Michael Bravo, Dr Mia Gray, Dr David Nally, Dr Chris Sandbrook and Dr Gareth Rees have all been promoted to Professor, from October 2022.

This is a great tribute to their tremendous contributions to our collective endeavours, as well as recognition of the respect they command and the esteem in which they are held.

# Food resources and challenges - two new videos

Dr Catherine Oliver has been working with Time for Geography - the open-access, dedicated video platform for geography and geoscience education - to create two new videos on food resources and challenges.

From the Time for Geography website -

Ending hunger and ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, is a global challenge. In working to address this, the geography of our food has changed a lot in recent history, with the development of new methods of food production, complex food supply chains and changing customer demands and expectations. In these two videos, we team up with geographers Dr Christopher Turner, Dr Catherine Oliver and Dr Kim Ward, to explore these changes, their impacts and challenges.

Food in the UK: Changing food production and demand

Challenges of global food supply chains

# Undergraduate Open Days

The Department will be taking part in the 2022 Cambridge Open Days for prospective applicants from Year 12 (or equivalent) and mature applicants (aged 21 or over), together with their parents or supporters, to help them learn more about the University.

On Thursday 7 July and Friday 8 July we will be open to anyone who would like to visit; you will be able to meet staff and students, explore the physical geography Laboratory and enjoy displays of current and former students' work in the Library. We will be open 9:30 to 4:30 each day.

In addition, as this year's event is hybrid, you will also be able to watch a taster lecture and a talk introducing the course online between 4 July – 17 July via the open day platform.

To attend the Open Days (either in person or online) you'll need to book - find out more and access the booking page on the University's website.

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# Professor Mark Carey public lecture

We are delighted that Professor Mark Carey as Distinguished International Visitor to the Department of Geography will be giving a public lecture Icebergs and Oil in the North Atlantic, Reframing Human Relationships with Ice on Wednesday 8 June at 2:30pm in the Large Lecture Theatre. Please circulate this invitation and the attached poster widely.

Since the 1970s, oil companies off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador have been drilling for oil right in the middle of Iceberg Alley. To ensure uninterrupted oil flows, and to make the North Atlantic Ocean safer for capitalism, they have monitored, mapped, moved, blasted, and towed Arctic icebergs that drift into their ocean 'frontier'. At the same time, widely circulating environmental narratives have turned icebergs into unpredictable enemies. Ice in this story, then, becomes less an icon of the climate crisis and more an agent of the Anthropocene.

Mark Carey is Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography, as well as Director of the Environmental Studies Program, at the University of Oregon, USA. His research addresses environmental justice issues related to climate change, glaciers, and water in the Andes and Arctic. He has co-authored several IPCC chapters and won the Elinor Melville Book Award, the Leopold-Hidy article prize, and the King Albert Mountain Award for lifetime contributions to mountain conservation and peoples. He currently runs the Glacier Lab for the Study of Ice and Society, where he prioritizes collaboration with students.

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# Sea ice can control Antarctic ice sheet stability, new SPRI research finds

SPRI researchers have used over 40 years of satellite observations and ocean and atmosphere records to show that abrupt changes in offshore sea ice cover can either safeguard from, or set in motion, the final rifting and calving of icebergs from even large Antarctic ice shelves.

The research, led by Dr. Frazer Christie, has been published as an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.

This research was supported in part by the Flotilla Foundation, Marine Archaeology Consultants Switzerland, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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# REF 2021

The results from the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) have highlighted the excellent research being undertaken at the Department. The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

96% of Cambridge's overall submissions under the most recent exercise have been rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'. 50.8% of outputs submitted by the Department were awarded the highest rating of 4* overall, meaning that they were world leading. The Department was also recognised for its outstanding research environment which enables its researchers to flourish to their full potential.

The Department is delighted with this recognition of research excellence, and with the strength of research being undertaken in Geography across the United Kingdom. These results reflect a subject that is thriving intellectually, and making important contributions to the major challenges facing our planet and societies.

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# New report assesses global anti-deforestation measures

A major new scientific assessment has evaluated the world's progress on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The report analyses the past 10 years of REDD+ implementation – a global action plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation primarily in tropical and sub-tropical regions – with respect to forest governance, carbon measurements and effects on biodiversity and livelihoods.

One of the lead authors is Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of the Department of Geography. He writes: "This report is being launched at a very important moment, and feeds directly into international discussions on climate change and biodiversity. There is an urgent focus on the role of land use and forests as part of our transitions towards a net zero future, and on the contributions that forests can make to biodiversity and livelihoods.

Image credit: Deforestation, by crustmania

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# Professor Philip Gibbard awarded the Merit Medal by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua)

Photo by Angela Coe 2020.

Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard has been awarded the Verdienstmedaille (Merit Medal) by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua). The medal is awarded biennially as a special honour for outstanding scientific achievements in Quaternary research.

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# Hannah White's new book on the future of Parliamentary democracy in Britain

Many congratulations to Hannah White (Selwyn, 1997; Jesus, 2000) on the publication of her book, Held in Contempt: What's wrong with the House of Commons? (Manchester University Press, 2022).

The topic could hardly be more timely, and if you want to know how British government works, or doesn't, how it has been viewed by the British public in the years of Brexit, Covid-19, and beyond - and also how it might be saved from terminal decline, this is the book for you.

Hannah was awarded an OBE in 2020 for her services to the constitution, and has worked extensively in Parliament since taking her PhD in Geography. She is currently Deputy Director of the Institute for Government.

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# Ancient subglacial water paths revealed around Antarctica

A new paper involving colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey, Neil Arnold and Julian Dowdeswell at SPRI, and other international colleagues, has been selected as an Editor's Highlight by the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

The paper analyses the results of new observations in the Marguerite Trough area, Antarctic Peninsula, using a combination of echosounders, remotely operated vehicles and sediment coring. The data show a complex network of channels formed as the Antarctic Ice Sheet was retreating from its peak extent at the last glacial maximum tens of thousands of years ago, including potholes and small, branching channels on the floors of the larger channels formed by erosion by highly turbulent water flow. A hydrological model developed at SPRI shows that such water flow was associated with floods from subglacial lakes that happened every few tens to hundreds of years.

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# Viking partners with the Scott Polar Research Institute to advance scientific research into the Polar Regions

Professor Julian Dowdeswell and Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen at the Scott Polar Museum. Image courtesy of Viking.

We pleased to announce the establishment of a new professorship to advance research in the field of polar environmental science, thanks to a generous endowment by Viking.

The Viking Polar Marine Geoscience Fund will endow the Viking Chair of Polar Marine Geoscience, the first fully funded professorship based at the Scott Polar Research Institute. This new post will enhance the scientific leadership at the Institute and enable the development of new lines of research into the past, present and likely future behaviour of polar ice sheets, sea ice and ocean circulation.

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# Geographer Chris Mason appointed BBC political editor

Congratulations to Cambridge geographer Chris Mason (Christ's 1998), who takes over as BBC political editor in May. This is a position central to British cultural life, as well as a prominent role in the media. It carries significant challenges and responsibilities, and we wish Chris all the best in his new post!

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# Professor Sir Tony Wrigley FBA (17 Aug 1931 – 25 Feb 2022)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor Sir Tony Wrigley.

A leading scholar in a number of different social science disciplines and President of the British Academy, his first academic post was in the Geography Department and in 1964 he founded, with Peter Laslett, The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure and transformed knowledge of British population in the pre-industrial era. He remained actively involved in Campop throughout his career and into his retirement, and we will miss his gentle presence at coffee and his kindly encouragement as well as his considerable intellectual contributions.

A full obituary is available.

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# Natura urbana - new book by Matthew Gandy now out

Matthew Gandy has just published his new book Natura urbana: ecological constellations in urban space with the MIT Press.

There will be an "author meets critics" session at the virtual AAG on Friday 25th February with Julian Agyemen (Tufts University), Dawn Day Biehler (University of Maryland), Marion Ernwein (Open University), and Stephanie Wakefield (Life University).

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# Base of Greenland Ice Sheet melts much faster than expected

Poul Christoffersen

New research in the Department of Geography shows that meltwater falling through fractures and cracks on the Greenland Ice Sheet ends up melting the bottom of the ice at extremely high rates.

Huge quantities of meltwater are produced every summer and when it descends to the bed – a kilometre or more below, energy is converted into heat in a process like the hydroelectric power generated by large dams. To measure the effect, Dr Tun Jan Young and Professor Poul Christoffersen, both from the Scott Polar Research Institute, used radio-echo sounding and boreholes drilled to the bed of Store Glacier in the EU-funded RESPONDER project.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports unexpectedly warm basal conditions and melt rates that are approximately 100 times greater than expected. The research shed light on an over-looked ice-sheet mass-loss mechanism, which is not yet included in projections of global sea level rise.

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# First SCLA Fund projects announced

The first three Sansom Conservation Leadership Alumni (SCLA) Fund projects have been announced.

The SCLA Fund was established with the generosity of Robert Sansom to support high impact conservation projects undertaken by alumni from the Masters in Conservation Leadership. 2021-22 was the inaugural year, and proposed projects were based in over 20 countries with a particular focus on Africa and South America, as well as some with global application. From these 17 projects, three were awarded funding by a Selection Panel of individuals from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and the Alumni Network.

Course Director, Dr Chris Sandbrook, said 'This dedicated fund allows us to be able to support our alumni lead in conservation after graduation. I am so excited to see these projects flourish and I am extremely grateful to Robert Sansom for providing this generous support.'

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# Unravelling the glacial history of eastern England - The Paper Trail podcast


The Paper Trail is a series of interviews with people who published a paper in the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences. We ask them to tell us a bit about the background to their research, the relevance to science and society and just how it was to write the piece!

In this episode, Phil Gibbard talks to journal editor Henk Kombrink about the Pleistocene glacial history of eastern England and how to date the multiple glacial advances that took place over time. Phil has spent a long career working on glaciations across England and further afield and is known for collaborating with researchers on the Continent in an attempt to develop a holistic view of the Pleistocene geological history of the North Sea region. Phil also touches on the history of the Fenland in eastern England, how the current landscape was formed and deformed and the influence of bedrock geology onto glacial advance.

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# Phil Gibbard on the Anthropocene

Mike Sarginson 2021

Phil Gibbard, Emeritus Professor of Quaternary Palaeoenvironments and Secretary General of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), is a founding member of the Anthropocene Working Group tasked by the ICS to examine the status, hierarchical level, and definition of the Anthropocene as a potential new formal division of the Geological Time Scale.

As he explains in this podcast, no consensus on the Anthropocene has been reached, and it remains controversial as to whether there is even a need for such an epoch at all.

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# On the Polar Road with Penguin Classics Podcasts: The Blazing World with Michael Bravo

Henry Eliot, Penguin Classics

In a new podcast, Dr Michael Bravo explores the idea of multiple worlds joined at the North Pole in The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, the maverick Duchess of Newcastle, proto-feminist and pioneering author of the first recognised work of polar fantasy. Blending fantasy, philosophy and seventeenth-century science, the podcast visits the Polar Museum, the Whipple Museum and Cambridge University Library. They meet Dr Joshua Nall, an expert on the history of science, and Dr Emily Dourish, deputy keeper of rare books.

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# Cambridge to offer studentships to Posse scholars

Posse Foundation

The University of Cambridge has become the first Higher Education institution outside of the USA to partner with the Posse Foundation, offering graduate studentships to young people from under-represented backgrounds.

This offers a fully-funded studentship (fees and maintenance) for a Posse student accepted into a full-time MPhil programme in the Department of Geography.

Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge: "This partnership has the potential to transform lives. Posse awards are made on the basis of merit. Through this affiliation, the Department will admit talented students who will both benefit from and contribute to Cambridge's vibrant community. We're looking forward to meeting the first Cambridge Posse Scholar."

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# 'Afterlives of a PhD Thesis'

This reflective essay - recently published in the journal Area -- answers the question: in what ways does a PhD thesis live on beyond the time when it can only be thought of as "work in progress"?

Mike Hulme develops an answer to this question along four dimensions – the material, instrumental, epistemic, and personal afterlives of a PhD thesis. While a PhD thesis can be understood as having a variety of afterlives, those that matter the most are perhaps also those that are less easily recognised.

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# The search for the Endurance

Charlotte Connelly, Curator of the Polar Museum at SPRI, spoke on the BBC Today programme (at 2h46s) about the Weddell Sea expedition in search of Shackleton's lost ship, Endurance.

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# Cambridge Geography alumnus and former staff member on Radio 4's In Our Time

University of Nottingham

Cambridge Geography alumnus and former staff member Dr David Beckingham is on Radio 4's In Our Time programme today, 3rd February 2022. David discusses his research on the temperance movement in the UK in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

David completed some of this research on alcohol regulation whilst working in Cambridge and it featured in the Part IB Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society paper. David is now Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Nottingham.

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# UK plants flowering a month earlier due to climate change

Climate change is causing plants in the UK to flower a month earlier on average, which could have profound consequences for wildlife, agriculture and gardeners.

Using a citizen science database with records going back to the mid-18th century, a research team, involving members of the Department Ulf Büntgen, Alma Piermattei, Paul Krusic, and Alan Crivellaro, and led by the University of Cambridge, has found that the effects of climate change are causing plants in the UK to flower one month earlier under recent global warming.

They found that the average first flowering date from 1987 to 2019 is a full month earlier than the average first flowering date from 1753 to 1986. The same period coincides with accelerating global warming caused by human activities. The results are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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# Earliest human remains in eastern Africa dated to more than 230,000 years ago

The age of the oldest fossils in eastern Africa widely recognised as representing our species, Homo sapiens, has long been uncertain. Now, dating of a massive volcanic eruption in Ethiopia reveals they are much older than previously thought.

An international team of scientists, led by the University of Cambridge, has reassessed the age of the Omo I remains – and Homo sapiens as a species. Earlier attempts to date the fossils suggested they were less than 200,000 years old, but the new research shows they must be older than a colossal volcanic eruption that took place 230,000 years ago. The results are reported in the journal Nature.

Members of the Department, Dr Céline Vidal (lead author), Professor Clive Oppenheimer, Professor Christine Lane, were all part of the team.

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# Sylvie Hodgson-Smith wins 2021 the Quaternary Research Award Dissertation Prize

Many congratulations to Sylvie Hodgson-Smith who has been selected as this year's recipient of the QRA Dissertation Prize for her dissertation "Reconstructing the global climate effects of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Samalas, 1257 AD".

The judges commended Sylvie's dissertation as …. 'a sophisticated analysis of tree-ring-derived palaeotemperature and hydroclimate records to examine the impacts of a large tropical eruption, including the coherency of records at regional to global scales. Sylvie's interpretation was thoughtful and balanced, and included a critical evaluation of climate models that simulate the climate behaviour following the eruption. The thesis stood out in terms of its very high standard of presentation and is worthy of publication. We congratulate Sylvie on an outstanding piece of undergraduate research.'

Well done on this remarkable achievement!

# Women of Snow and Ice

SPRI PhD student Morgan Seag, SPRI researcher Dr Becky Dell and SPRI Institute Associate Dr Ali Banwell are among interviewees in a special ice-themed edition of BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour.

Listen (from around 28:00) as women researchers in Antarctica are interviewed for the programme; find out how women broke through the ice ceiling to create opportunities and become leaders in their fields, and hear from researchers in the field working on the George VI ice sheet.

# SPRI research in the New York Times

As part of his doctoral research at SPRI, Dr Praveen Teleti investigated the historical variability of Antarctic sea ice, making use of whaling logbooks cared for by our archive. The logbooks contained invaluable climate measurements, including air and water temperatures, barometric pressure, wind strength, from the 1930s and 1950s.

You can read more about Dr Teleti's work in a new article in the New York Times, or for a more detailed account see "A historical Southern Ocean climate dataset from whaling ships' logbooks" in the Geoscience Data Journal (open access).

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# Professor Bhaskar Vira appointed as the next Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education

Professor Bhaskar Vira, current Head of Department, has been appointed as the next Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education.

Professor Vira finishes his term as Head of Department in September 2022 and will take up his new post immediately afterwards, for a period of three years. Professor Vira will be taking over the role from Professor Graham Virgo.

Professor Vira will be joining the team of five Pro-Vice-Chancellors whose role, as well as supporting the Vice-Chancellor in providing academic leadership to the University, is to work in partnership with senior administrators; as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Vira will lead the development and implementation of strategy and policy relating to education.

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# Professor Ron Martin named as Highly Cited Researcher

Professor Ron Martin, Emeritus Professor of Economic Geography, has been named by Clarivate (the Web of Science) as a Highly Cited Researcher.

He has more than 44,000 Google Scholar citations of his work. His most recent co-authored book (with Professor Peter Tyler and others), titled Levelling Up Left Behind Places: The Scale and Nature of the Economic and Policy Challenge (London: Routledge), has just been published.

Ron's highly cited papers cover contributions to the theory of regional and urban economic growth, the economic resilience of cities and regions, the geographies of money and finance, the development of the new field of evolutionary economic geography, and spatial economic policy. He is the only social scientist across the University to be named as a Highly Cited Researcher.

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# The zoonotic city

A new article from Professor Matthew Gandy explores the relationship between urbanisation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matthew explores "how contemporary health threats intersect with complex patterns of environmental change, including the destruction of biodiversity (and trade in live animals), the co-evolutionary dynamics of viruses and other pathogens, and wider dimensions to the global technosphere, including food production, infrastructure networks, and the shifting topographies of peri- or ex-urban contact zones."

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# Flood Risk Modelling UK East Coast

By Andy Beecroft, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Elizabeth Christie and Tom Spencer, of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre and Consulting Engineers Arup report a new approach to coastal flood risk modelling, with a case study for the city of Hull.

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# A Venetian saltmarsh survival experiment

Tom Spencer has contributed to a commentary in the journal 'Science' on a study published in the journal 'Nature Geoscience' on a large-scale experiment on saltmarsh health in the Venice lagoon where periodic closure of the MOSE barrier system now excludes storm surge sedimentation on the marshes.

Professor Spencer comments 'this study is instructive in highlighting the fundamental mismatch between those strategies aimed at the protection of the built environment and its inhabitants and those aimed at the protection of valuable, biodiverse intertidal habitats. Co-existence is not out of reach but is going to require much more nuanced and sophisticated coastal management approaches than are available at present, urgently needed as we move into decades of progressively higher sea levels.'

# Arctic Ocean started getting warmer decades earlier than we thought

An international study shows that the Arctic Ocean has been getting warmer since the beginning of the 20th century – decades earlier than records suggest – due to warmer water flowing into the delicate polar ecosystem from the Atlantic Ocean.

The study, co-led by Dr. Francesco Muschitiello and reported in the journal Science Advances, provides the first historical perspective on Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean and reveals a connection with the North Atlantic that is much stronger than previously thought. The connection is capable of shaping Arctic climate variability, which could have important implications for sea-ice retreat and global sea-level rise as the polar ice sheets continue to melt.

An analysis of the findings is featured on CNN, and the work has been featured in article in the New York Times.

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# Shreyashi Dasgupta awarded honourable mention for prestigious Bayly Prize 2021

Many congratulations to Shreyashi Dasgupta, ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Geography, who has been awarded Honourable Mention, for the prestigious 2021 Bayly Prize by the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for her PhD thesis, The Accommodation City: Private low-income housing and urban space in Dhaka and Mumbai.

The dissertation was completed at the Centre of Development Studies under the supervision of Dr Graham Denyer Willis. The prize committee described Shreyashi's work to be of 'outstanding merit'. The Bayly Prize, established by the Royal Asiatic Society in memory of Professor Sir Christopher Bayly, is awarded annually for a distinguished PhD thesis completed at a British or Irish University in the field of Asian Studies. The award ceremony was held on Thursday 11th November 2021 at the Royal Asiatic Society London.

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# New paper on urban political ecology

New paper by Matthew Gandy explores the changing field of urban political ecology and identifies some key tensions in the existing literature such as relations with the biophysical sciences and the implications of extended conceptions of agency and subjectivity. The paper concludes by emphasizing evidentiary materialism as an alternative to new materialist and neo-vitalist ontologies.

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# Tom Ward wins 2021 Political Geography RGS dissertation prize

Many congratulations to Tom Ward, who was the joint winner of the 2021 Political Geography RGS dissertation prize for his dissertation Navigating (Il)legal Art: Producing Street Art in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

The prize committee described Tom's work as a "detailed and engaging text (that) brought to life the political, symbolic and discursive dynamics surrounding the (partial) legalisation of street art in East London."

Tom is staying in the Department to undertake the MPhil in Geography. Well done on this remarkable achievement!

# Stability of Antarctic Ice Shelves

Photo Ian Willis; Installing a weather station on the George VI Ice Shelf

Scott Polar Research Institute's Ian Willis and Becky Dell are on their way to Antarctica to retrieve data from instruments that were set up two years ago. They are currently quarantining in the Falkland Islands with their colleague Laura Stevens (University of Oxford) waiting for runway conditions at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera base to improve, before making their onward journey. From Rothera, they will fly a further 400 kms into the icy continent to Fossil Bluff on the edge of the George VI Ice Shelf where they will stay for around three weeks. Once there, they will commute daily onto the ice shelf by skiddoo to find the global positioning system instruments, water level sensors, weather stations, and time-lapse cameras that have hopefully been operating continuously since November 2019. They also plan to use a novel hot ring corer to retrieve 10-15 m deep ice cores from the ice shelf surface. The team will service and reposition the instruments to collect more data, before returning in January 2023 to pack them all up and bring them home.

Working with colleagues Alison Banwell (University of Colorado Boulder) and Doug MacAyeal (University of Chicago) the team will use the data to examine in detail how much melting occurs across the ice shelf each summer, how much of that water ponds up in lakes, and how that melting and ponding causes the floating ice shelf to bend and possibly crack. The team's findings should improve our understanding of how ice shelves fracture and break up. This may be more likely in the future as melting around Antarctica's periphery increases, ultimately due to global warming.

A recent study using satellite data by team members showed that 2019/2020 was an exceptionally high melt summer, with more water ponded on the George VI Ice shelf than at any time for the past three decades. In January 2020, just two months after the team set up their instruments, a large part of the northern part of the ice shelf was covered with water. The team are concerned, therefore, that some of their instruments may have got damaged as a result. They were unable to revisit the sites in the 2020/21 summer because of Covid-19, making this year's visit all the more important.

The work is funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the US National Science Foundation and with British Antarctic Survey Logistics. Becky Dell is funded by the European Space Agency through a Climate Change Initiative Fellowship.

# ‘Generation lockdown’ needs targeted help-to-work policies – global report

Nations the world over are guilty of "policy inertia" when it comes to supporting young people who lost work or will struggle to enter the labour market as a result of the pandemic, according to new University of Cambridge research, involving geographers Anna Barford and Garima Sahai.

In the report commissioned by the UN's International Labour Organisation, the Cambridge team calls on countries to go beyond employment policies that "yo-yo" with each virus surge, and implement longer-term interventions aimed squarely at the young.

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# International Geography Declaration on Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

The Department has formally endorsed the International Geography Declaration on Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, coordinated by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, which has been supported by 79 global geography societies and organizations from 58 countries.

You can read the full text of the declaration via the link above, and see the full list of signatories.

Key messages drawn from the Declaration:
  • The global geography community calls on world leaders to place the protection of nature and a liveable climate at the centre of the world's economics and politics
  • Geography is applied knowledge of our planet and our relationship with it
  • The global geography community pledges to redouble its efforts to help deliver a better tomorrow

This international statement was convened by:

  • National Geographic
  • Royal Canadian Geographical Society
  • Royal Scottish Geographical Society
  • Royal Geographical Society with IBG

# On Coral Reefs, Iconic Engineering and Geography at Cambridge

It is 100 years next October since the formation of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Committee in Brisbane in 1922. As part of these celebrations, Professor Tom Spencer and an Anglo-Australian group of researchers has been investigating one of the Committee's great successes, the 1928-1929 Great Barrier Reef Expedition (Spencer et al., 2021).

On 30 August 1929, Maurice and Mattie Yonge, the Expedition's Leader and Medical Officer respectively, finally said good bye to Australia after living and working for 13 months on Low isles, a small island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. The research undertaken there by the Expedition's British and Australian scientists marked the beginning of modern analytical studies of corals and coral reefs. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was also an Anglo-Australian collaboration, being built by Dorman Long of Middlesborough (and based on their design for the 1928 Tyne Bridge). As the Yonges left Sydney Harbour, the arch was in the early stages of construction; the two halves did not meet until 19 August 1930 with the Bridge finally being opened, an exhilarating affirmation of modern Australia, on 19 March 1932.

But there is also link between the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Great Barrier Reef Expedition and the Department of Geography at Cambridge. One of the key players in the building of the Bridge was Arthur Debenham, Principal Assistant Engineer of the Sydney Harbour Trust. Arthur was the older brother of Frank Debenham (1883-1965), the first Professor of Geography at Cambridge (1931). It was Frank Debenham who had secured the 'Geographical Section' of the 1928-1929 Expedition, seeing to the appointment of Alfred Steers (who was to become the second holder of the Cambridge Chair in 1949) as the section leader and thus promoting the first modern geomorphological studies of the Great Barrier Reef.

Spencer T, Brown, B, Hamylton, S, McLean, R 2021 'A close and friendly alliance': biology, geology and the Great Barrier Reef Expedition of 1928-29. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 59, 89-138.

(Photo: C.M. Yonge, National Library of Australia, nla.obj-145038436-1; 30 August 1929)

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# Abi Smith wins 2021 Social and Cultural Geography RGS Dissertation Prize

Many congratulations to Abi Smith, who won the 2021 Social and Cultural Geography RGS Dissertation Prize for her dissertation Making sense of sonic affect: the automated voices of the London Underground.

The prize committee described Abi's work as "a clear and unique intellectual contribution to aural spaces and sonic geographies, demonstrating conceptual excellence and methodological originality. It was deemed by reviewers of publishable standard."

Abi is staying in the Department to undertake the MPhil in Geography examining the sensory qualities of urban planning laws. Well done on this remarkable achievement!

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# SPRI library forges new links with Arctic Russia

National Library of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YaNAO)

Eleanor Peers in partnership with Anastasiia Shnaider have arranged an exchange of resources between the SPRI library and the National Library of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YaNAO) in Arctic Russia. Thanks to this exchange SPRI will acquire books from YaNAO that are unavailable anywhere else in the UK, if not Europe. Readers at the SPRI library will be able to learn about the diverse histories and cultures of this fascinating and little-known area. YaNAO is both an important industrial region, and the homeland of several Indigenous communities, such as the Nenets, Khanty and Komi peoples. In return, the National Library will receive access to the Polar Record.

We are especially glad about the new links we are making with YaNAO's Academic Centre for the Study of the Arctic, who will be sending us their work through this exchange. The Academic Centre carries out crucial multidisciplinary research into YaNAO and the Russian Arctic. Like SPRI, it incorporates scholars from both the sciences (e.g. Cryology and Medicine), and the humanities and social sciences (e.g. Archaeology, Social Anthropology, and Social Psychology). We are delighted to be receiving the Centre's work via the National Library, and we hope that these additions to our collection will stimulate new and fruitful collaborations between YaNAO and the United Kingdom.

# Professor Bhaskar Vira awarded Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Congratulations to Professor Bhaskar Vira who has been conferred the award
of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences for his contribution to social

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# Anja Schmidt awarded AGU Macelwane Medal

Congratuations to Anja Schmidt, who has been awarded the Macelwane Medal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The Macelwane Medal is one of the most significant awards in the geosciences for early career researchers.

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# Climate migration is about people, not numbers

Ahead of COP26, PhD student David Durand-Delacre publishes an essay on the trouble with climate migration numbers with 13 other co-authors, including Prof. Mike Hulme. Titled 'Climate Migration is about People, not Numbers', it reviews the methodological challenges of estimating climate migration flows, and question the usefulness of dramatic quantitative predictions to progressive agendas for climate action.

It can be found in the open access volume "Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis" edited by Dr. Steffen Böhm and Dr. Sian Sullivan (University of Exeter) includes 28 essays providing diverse and highly readable social science perspectives on climate change.

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# Dr Alice Reid elected President of the British Society for Population Studies

Congratulations to Dr Alice Reid who has been elected President of the
British Society for Population Studies.

# Tom Spencer elected to Fellowship of the British Society for Geomorphology

Congratulations to Professor Tom Spencer, who has been elected to a Fellowship of the British Society for Geomorphology, one of 50 such Fellows worldwide. He joins Keith Richards and Julian Dowdeswell as Fellows from the Department.

# Alumni Festival event: The Future of Work

We are hosting an event for the University's Alumni Festival, which is taking place on Saturday 24 September, 3-4pm, on The Future of Work.

The talk will have an excellent line-up, which will be chaired by Professor Bhaskar Vira, and includes Brendan Burchell (Sociology), Garima Sahai (postdoc in the Department), and two alumna (Caroline Francis - now with Accenture; and Catherine Boyce - now with CAMFED).

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# Jamie Arnaud joint winner of Dissertation Prize for 2021

Jamie Arnaud is the joint winner of the Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society Dissertation Prize for 2021, for his dissertation 'Roads to Improvement: The Construction of "Destitution Roads" by the Edinburgh Section of the Central Board as a response to Highland Famine, 1847-1850.'

Jamie is one of three prize winners who will be invited to present their work to the Historical Geography Research Group day conference for postgraduates in November.

Many congratulations to Jamie for this great achievement.

# Ellie Fox wins 'best climate change dissertation'

One of our graduates from this summer - Ellie Fox (Fitzwilliam) - was awarded the 'best human geography dissertation' by the Climate Change Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society. Ellie's dissertation was a study of the processes of politicisation/depoliticisation within the French Citizens' Convention on Climate Change. Many congratulations to Ellie for this great achievement. Ellie is now commencing on a PhD at the University of Exeter.

# September Virtual Open Day 2021

Cambridge Virtual Open Days are aimed at prospective applicants from Year 12 and Year 13 (or equivalent) and mature applicants (aged 21 or over), together with their parents or supporters. They take place over two weeks via the University's Virtual Tour.

Throughout the Open Days, you'll be able to find out all about the University and Colleges by accessing pre-recorded presentations and videos about courses, the Colleges and departments, University facilities, the application process, student life, and finance.

The Department is offering a live Q&A with Dr Harriet Allen and a group of current students, ready to speak to applicants interested in studying geography. The webinar will take place at noon on the 16th September.

To attend the event you will need to register in advance.

If you wish to attend the general sessions organised as part of the Open Days (e.g. College talks), you can register in advance. Once you have booked, you can view the full open days programme.

# Spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea discovered using 3D seismic reflection technology

PhD student James Kirkham has led a study, along with Neil Arnold and Julian Dowdeswell from SPRI, which used cutting edge 3D seismic reflection technology to discover spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea.

So called tunnel valleys, buried hundreds of metres beneath the seafloor in the North Sea are remnants of huge rivers that were the 'plumbing system' of the ancient ice sheets as they melted in response to rising air temperatures.

These ancient structures provide clues to how ice sheets react to a warming climate. The findings are published this week (9 September) in the journal Geology.

More information can be found on the British Antarctic Survey website, along with BBC News.

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# Registration open for Co-Designing Publics Symposium

Calling activists, practitioners and academics working and experimenting with design in the public realm! Please join us for the international symposium for Dr Lemanski's AHRC-funded research network on Co-Designing Publics which is being held virtually 16-17 September.

This online symposium will bring together our team, project partners and special guest speakers to discuss emerging themes for research and practice on co-designing publics.

The full program and link for registration (required) is now online.

The event will offer simultaneous translation into Spanish throughout the event. The list of speakers is on the web link.

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# Spectral ecologies in the Mississippi Delta

A new article from Professor Matthew Gandy explores the intersections between ornithology and political ecology in the Mississippi Delta.

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# Off-Grid Cities

Dr Charlotte Lemanski, is part of a new Off Grid Cities research project, collaborating with colleagues in South Africa and the UK to explore how urban elites are seceding from state provided infrastructure networks in favour of private hybrid and off-grid technologies.

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# Climate change will transform cooling effects of volcanic eruptions, study suggests

Sarychev Volcano, as seen from space. Credit: NASA.

Volcanoes are an important part of our climate system.

Researchers have shown that human-caused climate change will have important consequences for how volcanic gases interact with the atmosphere.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge (including Dr Thomas Aubry and Dr Anja Schmidt) and the UK Met Office, say that large-magnitude eruptions will have greater effects as the climate continues to warm. However, the cooling effects of small- and medium-sized eruptions could shrink by as much as 75%. Since these smaller eruptions are far more frequent, further research is needed to determine whether the net effect will be additional warming or cooling.

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# A Level Results Day 2021

Congratulations to everyone who has received their A-level results today. If you are coming to Cambridge and joining us at Geography, we look forward to welcoming you in October.

Be sure to take a look at the Cambridge Students' Union Freshers' website which has lots of information to help you prepare for life at Cambridge.

Members of our student society – Cambridge University Geographical Society (CUGS) – are also working on providing materials for all new students joining us in October; please make sure to check back on our website and look out for emails from the Department and your College in the coming weeks.

# New study investigates nineteenth-century science transfer and expertise in Arctic exploration

In a new research paper published in the British Journal for the History of Science, Dr Nanna Kaalund and Dr John Woitkowitz of the ERC Arctic Cultures research group based at the Scott Polar Research Institute investigate the history of nineteenth-century scientific networks and expertise in the organization of expeditions to the central Arctic Ocean.

The study examines the transatlantic exchange of scientific theories and epistemic objects related to theories of an Open Polar Sea among European and American scientific networks during the early 1850s. Drawing on Arctic expeditions envisioned by the American explorer Elisha Kent Kane and the Prussian cartographer August Petermann, Kaalund and Woitkowitz show how the notion of expertise in Arctic geography and exploration was rooted in first-hand experience and mediated knowledge in the field along with emergent understandings of the Arctic Ocean as a system of interacting physical phenomena. Based on archival research in Germany, England and the United States, the paper adopts a comparative and transnational approach to demonstrate how nineteenth-century scientific theories and cartographies of the Arctic moved among Berlin, London, and New York, and in doing so informed Arctic exploration agendas throughout the Atlantic world.

Read the full research article: Nanna Kaalund and John Woitkowitz, "'Ancient lore with modern appliances': networks, expertise, and the making of the Open Polar Sea, 1851-1853," British Journal for the History of Science (2021).

# Decolonising landscape

Tiffany Kaewen Dang, a PhD student in the Department, has published a new paper on decolonizing landscape.

In this article, she examines both the colonial roots of landscape as a field of study and the prospect of its decolonisation. If decolonisation truly begins with land, then landscape studies—as a field primarily concerned with the shaping of land—has at least some stake in on-going decolonisation processes.

Tiffany Kaewen Dang (2021) Decolonizing Landscape, Landscape Research, DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2021.1935820

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# ‘Climate Change’: New title in the Key Ideas in Geography series

Professor Mike Hulme's new book 'Climate Change' publishes today, the latest title in the Routledge student textbook series Key Ideas in Geography, edited by Noel Castree and Audrey Kobayashi.

Hulme makes the case that the power of climate change as an idea can only be grasped from a vantage point that embraces the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences. The book is a synthesis of Hulme's 40-year research on the science, discourses and cultural politics of climate change. In ten carefully crafted chapters, he presents climate change as an idea with a past, a present and a future, and illustrates the many ways different political, social and cultural movements in today's world seek to make sense of climate change, and how they act accordingly.

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# Piers Vitebsky awarded IASSA Honorary Lifetime Membership

During the ICASS X meetings in June 2021, Dr. Piers Vitebsky was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership by the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA).

This very prestigious award is some small marker of the esteem with which Piers is held by the Arctic social sciences and humanities community. The presentation to Piers was made virtually, and a number of SPRI colleagues joined an international audience to reflect on Piers's career and celebrate his achievements.

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# Moran Professorship of Conservation and Development

The Board of Electors to the Moran Professorship of Conservation and Development invite applications for this Professorship from persons whose work falls within the general field of the Professorship to take up appointment on 1st January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Candidates will have an outstanding research record of international stature focusing on the challenges of biodiversity conservation, especially in rich biodiverse regions in the Global South, and a demonstrable ability to work across the social and natural sciences to understand conservation challenges and solutions.

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# Mapping glacier surface debris thickness across high mountain Asia

PhD student Karla Boxall and supervisor Ian Willis have mapped the thickness of debris cover on all glaciers in High Mountain Asia. With colleagues from the US and China, they developed a robust statistical relationship between surface temperature and the few existing field measurements of debris thickness. Using regional scale thermal imagery, they applied that relationship to map debris thickness across all 134,770 glaciers in the region. Their map of debris thickness is as accurate and more precise than one already in the literature.

They also determine the controls on the distribution of debris thickness across glaciers showing that thicker debris typically occurs on flatter, west-facing slopes at lower elevations, where ice flow is slower.

Debris thickness contributes to the rate at which glaciers melt, so these findings have important implications for modelling the future behaviour of glaciers in this region.

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# Remembering Lynn Staeheli

Two members of the Department of Geography, Dino Kadich and Alex Jeffrey, have just published an article in Political Geography remembering the work of celebrated feminist political geographer Lynn Staeheli. Alex and Dino, who worked with Lynn on a range of projects in Cambridge, Durham and Arizona, remember the huge contribution her research has made to the field of citizenship studies, in particular her work on the political practices and capabilities of young people.

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# The enduring geography of mortality and its social causes

BBC News

"If you had a map of Covid's biggest effects now and a map of child deaths in 1850, they look remarkably similar" said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer of England and Wales, recently. The BBC interviewed Alice Reid and used data from Populations Past, her interactive website on Victorian and Edwardian population, for a news article on the endurance of patterns in mortality and its social causes.

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# Dowdeswell Bay

We are delighted to announce that Professor Julian Dowdeswell, former Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, has been honoured by the Antarctic Place-names Committee, and an Antarctic bay has been named for him. The bay is about 8.5 km wide and 8 km deep (2021) at the southern end of Lallemand Fjord, Loubet Coast. To the west of Hooke Point and north of, and formed by the retreat of, Müller Ice Shelf. The newly named Dowdeswell Bay continues a well-established naming theme of Glaciologists in this area.

Professor Dowdeswell is a glaciologist, studying the form and flow of glaciers and ice caps and their response to climate change, and the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record. He was Chief Scientist on the Weddell Sea Expedition, 2019, and represented the UK on the councils of both the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and was Chair of the UK National Committee on Antarctic Research. Awarded the Polar Medal (1994) for 'outstanding contributions to glacier geophysics'; Founder's Gold Medal from the Royal Geographical Society (2008); Louis Agassiz Medal from European geosciences Union (2011) and Lyell Medal from the Geological Society of London (2018).

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# New book: Explorations in the Icy North

A new book by Nanna K. L. Kaalund, SPRI Research Associate on the ERC Arctic Cultures project, is now out: Explorations in the Icy North: How Travel Narratives Shaped Arctic Science in the Nineteenth Century, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.

Science in the Arctic changed dramatically over the course of the nineteenth century, when early, scattered attempts in the region to gather knowledge about all aspects of the natural world transitioned to a more unified Arctic science under the First International Polar Year in 1882. The IPY brought together researchers from multiple countries with the aim of undertaking systematic and coordinated experiments and observations in the Arctic and Antarctic. Harsh conditions, intense isolation, and acute danger inevitably impacted the making and communicating of scientific knowledge. At the same time, changes in ideas about what it meant to be an authoritative observer of natural phenomena were linked to tensions in imperial ambitions, national identities, and international collaborations of the IPY. Through a focused study of travel narratives in the British, Danish, Canadian, and American contexts, Nanna Katrine Lüders Kaalund uncovers not only the transnational nature of Arctic exploration, but also how the publication and reception of literature about it shaped an extreme environment, its explorers, and their scientific practices. She reveals how, far beyond the metropole—in the vast area we understand today as the North American and Greenlandic Arctic—explorations and the narratives that followed ultimately influenced the production of field science in the nineteenth century.

"In this study of the making of Arctic science, Nanna Katrine Lüders Kaalund's originality lies in her attention to Greenland as well as the Canadian archipelago and the shores of the Arctic Ocean; the role of narratives in shaping knowledge; and the role of the Inuit, who have too often been ignored by historians. She brings literary sensibilities as well as historiographical ones to this book, which will accordingly be of interest to historians of imperialism, historians of science, cultural historians, literary scholars, and those simply fascinated by the Arctic."

Trevor H. Levere, University of Toronto

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# Coasts, Climate Risk and Cambridge

Research by the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit – on coastal flooding risks (with case studies from The Wash and North Norfolk) and wetland responses to both sea level rise and storm surges – is cited in the latest (June 2021) Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk from the Climate Change Committee.

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# Green Thinking podcast series - BBC & AHRC

BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council have launched a series of 26 podcasts, 26 minutes long, ahead of COP26 this November. Each episode will take a deep-dive into the latest research on climate and social processes. Ayesha Siddiqi has been discussing her research in the new episode on Climate and Conflict on Green Thinking.

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# Decolonising Cambridge Geography - panel discussion

A panel event was held on 21st May 2021 on Decolonising Cambridge Geography. A video of the event is now available.

Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of Department; Geography was joined by alumnus Dominic Waughray (World Economic Forum); Professor Sarah Radcliffe, who convenes the Decolonising Cambridge Geography Working Group; and current Geography students, Matipa Mukondiwa and Victoria Ayodeji, as they discuss initiatives being taken to Decolonise Cambridge Geography.

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# Co-designing publics podcast

A new series of podcasts, bringing together academics, activists and urban designers to discuss the nature of the public realm, have been released. These comprise part of Dr Charlotte Lemanski's AHRC Researcher Networking Grant on Co-designing publics, with Prof Aseem Inam and Juan Usubillaga (Cardiff University).

The first podcast debates the difference between the public realm and public space, and includes contributions from Charlotte Lemanski (Cambridge), Aseem Inam (Cardiff), AbdouMaliq Simone (Sheffield), Melanie Lombard (Sheffield), Neha Sami (IIHS, India), Simon Springer (Newcastle, Australia), and Fernando Lara (Texas, USA).

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# Film as method

Natura urbana: the Brachen of Berlin (Dir.: Matthew Gandy, 2017)

In his latest article "Film as method in the geohumanities" Professor Matthew Gandy reflects on how documentary film has a distinctive role to play in expanding the research imagination, enhancing pedagogic practice, reaching new audiences, and producing unique cultural artifacts. At the same time, however, he notes that film is also entrained in complex debates concerning the verisimilitude of representational practices and the wider institutional context for the production and evaluation of knowledge.

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# Catz Chats on Geography

The last 'Catz Chats' at St Catharine's College was on the subject of Geography. It is now available on YouTube and features insights from Emeritus Professor Ron Martin (1974), Dr Ivan Scales (2008) and Dr Ian Willis (1989).

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# Rebuilding economies after the pandemic

Writing in LSE Blogs, Ron Martin (Emeritus Professor of Economic Geography) and other researchers argue that the task of governments is not simply to build 'back' better after COVID-19, but to rebuild forward better, towards an inclusive model of economic growth.

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# Closing gaps for good: Ensuring equitable recovery in a post-pandemic world

Former PhD student in the Department, Tara Cookson, spoke at an event, Closing gaps for good: Ensuring equitable recovery in a post-pandemic world, as part of celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme.

As we begin to emerge from the crisis, we must create an inclusive society that capitalises on the full potential of all its citizens, to eliminate inequality and poverty. The poverty cycle is inextricably linked with women's education and career opportunities. Closing the gender gap will narrow the poverty divide and increase opportunities for more than 50 per cent of the world's population.

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# Industrial Cambridge From Above: A Century of Aerial Photography

Cambridge Museum of Technology has launched a new video (40 minutes) which explores a century of Cambridge's changing industrial landscape, as viewed from aerial photography. The video features images from the Department's CUCAP (Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography) collection.

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# Decolonising Cambridge Geography - panel event

Cambridge Geography recognises that colonial structures and power relations remain embedded in University institutions, and that these structures silence and marginalise groups which historically have not been fully validated and included in teaching, learning and research. The department is seeking to change these relations of power and how knowledge is produced and shared.

Join Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of Department; Geography alumnus Dominic Waughray (World Economic Forum); Professor Sarah Radcliffe, who convenes the Decolonising Cambridge Geography Working Group; and current Geography students, Matipa Mukondiwa and Victoria Ayodeji, as they discuss initiatives being taken to Decolonise Cambridge Geography.

The panel will highlight experiences of past and current students of Geography at Cambridge. There will be a 20 minute Q&A session following the talk. Tickets available here.

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# Fibre-optics used to take the temperature of Greenland Ice Sheet

RESPONDER team members installing borehole sensors after drilling to the bed of Store Glacier (Rob Law and RESPONDER team)

Scientists have used fibre-optic sensing to obtain the most detailed measurements of ice properties ever taken on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Their findings will be used to make more accurate models of the future movement of the world's second-largest ice sheet, as the effects of climate change continue to accelerate.

The research team, led by Dr Poul Christoffersen from the Scott Polar Research Institute, used a new technique in which laser pulses are transmitted in a fibre-optic cable to obtain highly detailed temperature measurements from the surface of the ice sheet all the way to the base, more than 1000 metres below.

"With typical sensing methods, we can only attach about a dozen sensors onto the cable, so the measurements are very spaced out," said first author Robert Law, a PhD candidate at the Scott Polar Research Institute. "But by using a fibre-optic cable instead, essentially the whole cable becomes a sensor, so we can get precise measurements from the surface all the way to the base." The researchers found three layers of ice in the glacier. The thickest layer consists of cold and stiff ice which formed over the last 10,000 years. Below, they found older ice from the last ice age, which is softer and more deformable due to dust trapped in the ice. What surprised the researchers the most, however, was a layer of warm ice more than 70 metres thick at the bottom of the glacier. "We know this type of warm ice from far warmer Alpine environments, but here the glacier is producing the heat by deforming itself," said Law.

Read the full paper: Robert Law et al. 'Thermodynamics of a fast-moving Greenlandic outlet glacier revealed by fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing.' Science Advances (2021). doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe7136

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# Coasts and COP26

Kat Petersen (Imperial College, London, UK)

The CCRU's Ben Evans and Tom Spencer discuss 'the critical coastal zone' in the COP26 Universities Network's Briefing Paper on the role of Earth Observation in delivering a low-carbon, resilient world.

The COP26 Universities Network is a group of more than 55 UK-based universities working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference [Glasgow, Scotland, November 2021].

# SPRI Review 2020

SPRI Review 2020 is now available online. SPRI Review is the Annual Report issued by the Scott Polar Research Institute, giving information on the Institute's activities over the past year.

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# Congratulations to Dr Emma Mawdsley: Busk Medal

Congratulations to Dr Emma Mawdsley, who has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Busk Medal, 'For exceptional engagements with fieldwork, research and knowledge production about the global South'.

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# Defining mangrove fisheries

Singapore mangroves (photo: T Spencer)

Mangrove forests are rich and complex ecosystems that many fish – and fishers – rely on for survival. A new report from Nippon Foundation Nereus Program researchers based in the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) published on April 21 in the journal PLOS-ONE will help policy-makers tailor mangrove fishery definitions to specific places and situations.

"The actors and their uses or benefits from the mangrove for fishing are much more diverse than is usually communicated, which means it's likely that not all of these uses are recorded or represented when we make management decisions," said Rachel Seary, lead author of the report "It's important that we represent all uses when we make management decisions so that underrepresented groups don't lose out."

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# Makoto Takahashi is awarded the American Association of Geographers’ (AAG) Jacques May Thesis Prize

Congratulations to recent PhD student, Makoto Takahashi, who has been awarded the American Association of Geographers' (AAG) Jacques May Thesis Prize for his work on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

The award is managed by the Health and Medical Geographies Specialty Group and was this year awarded to both Makoto's The Improvised Expert and Meredith Alberta Palmer's Land, Family, Body.

Having completed his BA and MPhil with the department, before going on to write his PhD under the supervision of Alex Jeffrey, Makoto credits much of this success to his friends and mentors: "It's a testament to the combination of cosy collegiality and intellectual stimulation that the Department provides." Well done Makoto on this remarkable success!

# ‘Knowing like a global expert organisation’

Mike Hulme, Noam Obermeister, together with two external colleagues, have published the first systematic comparison of two expert inter-governmental assessment panels: the IPCC and IPBES. The study is published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

The article concludes that while the IPCC imagines itself offering a view of climate change 'from nowhere' and IPBES a view of biodiversity 'from somewhere', both organisations in fact offer their respective views 'from somewhere'. In other words, their assessments are shaped by distinctive and situated ways of knowing their respective objects.

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# Daughters of the Snow (BBC Sounds and Radio 4)

A BBC Sounds / Radio 4 program, "Daughters of the Snow", broadcast this week and available to listen online, featured Dr Michael Bravo.

This collaboration between Dr Bravo, radio producer Andrea Rangecroft, and the artist and poet Himali Singh Soin, explores the North Pole as a mythologised space in literature. Reading novels like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Arthur Conan Doyle's Captain of the Pole Star at school in India, the North Pole has often been portrayed as a blank, white, mysterious and uninhabited place. The conversations in this programme, set to music, discuss the consequences of mythologising this huge region of diverse lands and cultures at the top of the world.

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# Greenland Ice Sheet lakes drain in the winter

Ian Willis

PhD student Corinne Benedek and supervisor Ian Willis have discovered that large lakes on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet drain in the Arctic winter. They used satellite radar images to identify large, anomalous, sudden and sustained increases in radar backscatter, showing a switch from a water to an ice surface.

It is known that lakes can drain catastrophically in the summer but this is the first time they have been seen to disappear in the winter.

Using other satellite data they confirmed the lake drainages, which show a lowering of the surface by several metres and the loss of up to 20 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of around 8000 olympic size swimming pools emptying to the bottom of the ice sheet over a few days, possibly just a few hours.

The findings have implications for the speed at which the ice sheet flows to the ocean.

The work is discussed further on the University of Cambridge news pages and is published in The Cryosphere.

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# A primer on climate migration

Jules Xénard via Wikimedia Commons

David Durand-Delacre, PhD student in the Department, has just published a short primer on climate migration in the Global Human Movement Review: the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement's blog.

In it, he explores common misconceptions about climate migration, and makes the case for decolonising narratives, research, and activism on the issue.

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# Digital Ecologies workshop

Digital Ecologies is a free, interdisciplinary, two-day virtual workshop taking place on 29–30 March 2021.

Digital Ecologies seeks to foster critical conversations at the interface of more-than-human geographies, political ecology, digital humanities, and media studies to understand the varying ways in which nonhumans are digitised and for what purposes.

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# Eduard Brückner Prize

Professor Mike Hulme has been awarded the 2021 Eduard Brückner Prize by the German Meteorological Society. The Prize is awarded for outstanding interdisciplinary achievements in climate research and is named after the geographer Eduard Brückner (1862-1927). Brückner researched the ice age climate in the Alps and the natural climate fluctuations on time scales of decades, and also made outstanding contributions to the economic and social dimensions of understanding climate in historical times.

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# ‘We monitor its every breath’: inside Mount Etna’s war room with Giuseppe Salerno

A picture essay in the Guardian, 'We monitor its every breath': inside Mount Etna's war room, about monitoring of Mount Etna, features former PhD student of the Department, Giuseppe Salerno. Salerno is now head of volcanologists at Catania's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

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# Census 2021 public engagement podcasts

Alice Reid and Sophy Arulanantham from the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure have teamed up with Year 8s from South Wales to co-produce census-related public engagement material. Check out our podcasts in which year 8s interview census experts. This public engagement project is funded by the AHRC and ESRC in conjunction with The National Archives and the Office for National Statistics.

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# Urban Studies Foundation seminar series success

Dr Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded an Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series Award to run a series of seminars on Infrastructure, Inequality and the Neo-Apartheid City in collaboration with Dr Mori Ram (Newcastle University) and Prof Haim Yacobi (University College London).

The seminars will comprise a series of one-day workshops during October-December 2021, bringing together invited international speakers and early-career researchers.

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# Inside the 'Covid Triangle': a catastrophe years in the making

Financial Times, 6th Mar 2021

The Department of Geography's Dr. Mia Gray was featured in a recent piece in the Financial Times about the toxic combination of Covid, deprivation, job insecurity, income inequality and housing discrimination in the "Covid Triangle" in East London.

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# Big Freeze Art Festival launches

The Big Freeze

Online art festival, 4-14 March 2021 #BigFreezeArtFest

This spring, the Scott Polar Research Institute is holding an online art festival. Featuring work from the Polar Museum's collections, Friends of SPRI artists in residence and a range of other polar artists and film makers, the Big Freeze art festival will be the perfect way to wave goodbye to winter.


Throughout the festival we'll be sharing short films and interviews with a range of artists. Find out about the Inuit traditions that inspire Alaskan artist Art Oomittuk's work, watch a short film about Lesley Burr's residency in the Canadian Arctic and watch a film showing a day in the studio with Theo Crutchley-Mack. Most of our programme will be streamed over social media, you can see the full programme on our website.


The Big Freeze art festival includes the Big Freeze online exhibition. Featuring work from our participating artists and from our collection, the exhibition will offer the opportunity to explore at your own pace.


You can get involved too by joining in with The Big Freeze Challenge: Polar self Portraits! How about a polar self portrait of… yourself? The festival will open with a special online screening of artist and curator Zsuzsanna Ardó's Polar Self Portraits project, and the invitation to you to join in by imagining yourself in the polar regions and creating your own self portrait. Share your image with us using the #BigFreezeArtFest hashtag on social media.

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# Engaging the public in the Census 2021

Dr Alice Reid and colleagues have been awarded one of 15 projects by the AHRC/ESRC to engage the public in Census 2021. This project will inform KS3 students about the relevance of the Census, provide insight into being a data-driven social scientist and enhance the school curriculum. Using Census returns from the early nineteenth century to the present day, students from South Wales state schools will co-produce school resources that explore aspects of Census taking and Census data.

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# Living on a coral atoll: What does the future hold?

Graphical abstract: Virginie Duvat et al. (2021)

Sea-level coral atolls, and their populations, are seen as being high vulnerable to global environmental change. But this debate has largely been framed around the single impact of sea level rise and island submergence.

Now an international team, including the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit's Tom Spencer, has analysed the cumulative risk from multiple drivers (sea‐level rise; changes in rainfall, ocean–atmosphere oscillations and tropical cyclone intensity; ocean warming and acidification) to five Habitability Pillars: Land, Freshwater supply, Food supply, Settlements and infrastructure, and Economic activities.

Risks will be highest on Western Pacific atolls which will experience increased island destabilisation together with a high threat to freshwater, and decreased land‐based and marine food supply. But at all locations, risk will increase even under a low emission scenario by the mid‐century, requiring urgent and ambitious adaptation efforts.

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# Environmental Diplomacy in the Arctic

Geographer Richard Powell appeared today, 19 January 2021, as a witness before the Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into 'Environmental Diplomacy'. The inquiry is examining the UK Government's strategic approach to environmental diplomacy, particularly in the context of COP26.

Richard contributed evidence to a session addressing the geopolitics and governance of the polar regions. The Committee business is all being held virtually.

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# (When) are you going to have children?

An article in the new issue of the Cambridge University research magazine, Horizons, explores decisions about if and when to have children, considering what influences come into play and how these have changed over time. The article brings together research from across the University, featuring two members of the Geography Department, Dr Alice Reid and Dr Francesca Moore.

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# The Changing Geography of Ill Health

The Chief Medical Officer of the UK Chris Whitty's recent lecture on 25th November on the Geography of Ill Health will be of interest to all geographers, but it is particularly pleasing to see it featuring some maps from our interactive online atlas, Whitty uses the maps to illustrate the fact that the areas with particularly high infant mortality in the past still have high levels of ill health today.

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# 100 Years of the Scott Polar Research Institute

Today we have been celebrating the centenary of the Scott Polar Research Institute, with a day looking back at the past 100 years of polar research conducted at the Institute.

Although 2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges, the SPRI community continues to work together to continue the legacy of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions who died on their return from the South Pole in 1912, and Frank Debenham, who was the driving force behind the founding of the Institute. We are very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds, and another 100 years of SPRI.

The Polar Museum recently unveiled its new exhibition, dedicated to the Scott Polar Research Institute centenary 'A Century of Polar Research', which you can also now view online.

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# BBC iPlayer - Animated Thinking: A Room in Mumbai

'A Room in Mumbai', a film collaboration between the University of Cambridge (Geography, Architecture, Engineering and Judge Business School), Calling The Shots, AHRC and BBC Arts is now available. This film is part of AHRC 'Animated Thinking' film series.

This film is about today's slums in India. In Mumbai, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) is building high-rise flats to house former slum residents, but this transition has adversely and radically affected the lives of women. The film tells the story of one woman in the process of moving to SRA housing. All voice contributions are based on real interviews recorded on-site.

The AHRC-funded Research Network Filming Energy (FERN), was led by Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank (Cambridge Architecture). Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Cambridge Geography) was a co-investigator, and Dr Anika Haque (previously Cambridge Geography) was the postdoctoral researcher on the project, as part of the GENUS research group.

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# Legal Geography research featured in Cambridge University Research Horizons magazine

University of Cambridge

Legal Geography research in the Department of Geography is featured in the latest issue of the University's Research Horizons magazine.

Dr Francesca Moore of Homerton College and the Department of Geography is researching anti-abortion protest and the use of safe zones around women's healthcare clinics. Existing studies on anti-abortion protest show that clinic staff and patients find the mere presence of protesters near clinics very distressing. Moore's legal geography work investigates the cascade of extreme protest tactics into the UK and the 'Americanisation' of UK protest by setting the protests in their geopolitical contexts. The research also quantifies the influence of legal cultures from beyond the borders of the UK, such as American First Amendment Rights. This research features on the Part II Legal Geographies course which Francesca shares with Dr Alex Jeffrey, Reader in Geography.

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# Regional Studies Best Paper Award

Dr Mia Gray has just been awarded the Regional Studies Association's prize for the best paper 2020 in their flagship journal, Regional Studies.

Gray and Donald explore in their paper, The double crisis: in what sense a regional problem?, the "double crisis" of climate change and inequality. It examines the numerous ways in which social injustices and inequalities are manifested in environmental conditions and the global market economy. They argue the reification of competitive consumption-led growth models in regional studies has exacerbated, legitimised and celebrated the dominant narratives of growth in public policy.

The paper was written with Betsy Donald, of Queens University, Canada, a long-time collaborator with Gray. The two have written extensively together on issues of austerity, inequality, and urban and regional change.

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# Arctic Ocean sediments reveal permafrost thawing during past climate warming

Björn Eriksson

A new paper co-authored by Francesco Muschitiello has used seafloor sediments of the Arctic Ocean to understand how permafrost responds to climate warming and found evidence of past permafrost thawing during climate warming events at the end of the last ice age.

The study also shows for the first time that permafrost thawing occurred concomitantly with the release of large quantities of atmospheric CO2 as recorded in Antarctic ice cores. The findings suggest that Arctic warming by only a few degrees Celsius may be sufficient to disturb large areas covered by permafrost and potentially affect the Earth's climate system.

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# Honorary doctorate for Matthew Gandy by the University of Louvain

Professor Matthew Gandy has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Louvain, Belgium. The commendation for the title of Doctor Honoris Causa states that "our university wishes to pay tribute to your contribution in the fields of environmental and cultural geography and urban political ecology. Your research has shed new light on the production of urban space and its cultural and political dimensions in the face of ecological transformations at a global scale."

# Scholarship for black and mixed black heritage undergraduate students

Admissions and enrolment data indicate that black and black mixed heritage students are significantly under-represented in undergraduate geography programmes across the UK, and at Cambridge.

The Department is working proactively to address historic under-representation in the discipline. As part of our commitment to support inclusion, diversity and decolonisation in Geography, the Department is launching a programme of support and financial assistance for black British students intending to read for the Cambridge Geographical Tripos.

For an incoming undergraduate in the 2021-22 academic year, the Department of Geography is able to offer one scholarship award of £10,000 per annum, tenable for three years while the student pursues the Cambridge Geographical Tripos. The award can be spent on fees or maintenance.

# The Cambridge Disaster Research Network (CDRN)

A group of early career researchers from various Cambridge departments, including Rory Walshe from Geography, have established a new research network and seminar series for those interested in disasters and natural hazards.

The Cambridge Disaster Research Network (CDRN) will connect hazard and disaster research and researchers across disciplines, and link scientific understanding of hazards to social science, humanities and arts research, and industry practitioners. The CDRN will begin with a bi-weekly seminar series on Zoom in Michaelmas term 2020.

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# Deep channels link ocean to vulnerable West Antarctic glacier

James Kirkham

Newly-discovered deep seabed channels beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica may be the pathway for warm ocean water to melt the underside of the ice.

Researchers from UK and US International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, including James Kirkham from SPRI, collected data from offshore of the glacier during January-March 2019 aboard the icebreaker the RV Nathaniel B Palmer.

Exceptional sea-ice break up in early 2019 enabled the team to survey over 2000 square kilometres of sea floor right in front of the glacier — an area which had previously been hidden beneath part of the floating ice shelf extending from Thwaites Glacier.

The team's findings reveal that the sea floor contains deep channels leading under the ice shelf towards the grounding line which may provide pathways along which warm water can reach the underside of Thwaites Glacier, causing it to melt and contribute to global sea-level rise.

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# Past subglacial water flow beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

James Kirkham

A new paper by James Kirkham, Julian Dowdeswell and others has used two decades of multibeam bathymetric data to explore the meltwater drainage imprint left by the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the past.

High-resolution maps of seabed areas previously covered by ice reveal over 2700 channels carved by subglacial rivers of meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheet.

The seafloor channels are extremely large (up to 3 km wide and over 200 m deep) and inform us about processes that are difficult to observe beneath the modern day ice sheet, and which occur over timescales much longer than covered by existing glaciological observations. The authors conclude that the channels were most likely incised by the periodic drainage of subglacial lakes over multiple glacial cycles.

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# Undergraduate Open Days 17 & 18 September

Find out more about studying Undergraduate Geography at Cambridge at the online Undergraduate Open days 17-18th September.

Sign up to attend.

# Course changes 2020-21

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government guidance, we have had to make some changes to some elements of our teaching programmes for 2020-21 in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give students the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation.

Please follow these links for further information for our taught programmes:

# PhD students shortlisted for Glaciology award

Former SPRI PhD students, Andrew Williamson and Tun Jan Young, supervised by Neil Arnold, Alison Banwell, Poul Christoffersen and Ian Willis, were shortlisted for the 2020 IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award "for their excellent papers published in the Journal of Glaciology over the past two years".

From approximately 70 student-authored papers in the Journal of Glaciology and Annals of Glaciology eligible for the 2020 award, the committee shortlisted nine papers from five countries.

Their papers use novel satellite remote sensing methods and field-based radar techniques to investigate hydrological and dynamic processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Williamson, A., Willis, I., Arnold, N., & Banwell, A. (2018). Controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland: An Exploratory Data Analysis approach. Journal of Glaciology, 64(244), 208-226.

Tun Jan Young: Young, T., Schroeder, D., Christoffersen, P., Lok, L., Nicholls, K., Brennan, P., Doyle, S.H., Hubbard, B. & Hubbard, A. (2018). Resolving the internal and basal geometry of ice masses using imaging phase-sensitive radar. Journal of Glaciology, 64(246), 649-660.

The IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award was established in 2019 in memory of Professor Graham Cogley who made substantial and enduring contributions to glaciology. The award recognizes excellence in glaciological research by student scientists. The award is shared between the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and the International Glaciological Society, with the IACS and IGS giving out the award in alternate years.

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# WIREs Climate Change - top-ranked journal

In the new Citescore journal rankings for 2019 from Scopus, WIREs Climate Change -- edited by Professor Mike Hulme - is the 2nd ranked journal in the subject area 'Geography, Planning and Development'. Its 2019 Citescore of 12.4 places it second behind Global Environmental Change in the 679 journals listed on Scopus in this subject area. It also comes in as the top-ranked journal in the category 'Atmospheric Sciences'.

The journal is co-sponsored by the RGS-IBG and the Royal Meteorlogical Society and Mike has been the founding editor of the journal since 2008.

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# Virtual Open Days - Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd July 2020

This year's open days are Virtual Open Days on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd July 2020.

Details are available on the University's website, where you can sign up using the booking form.

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# Resources for remote research in Human Geography

Bhaskar Vira

Dr Antonio Ferraz-de-Oliveira has curated a document, Resources for remote research in Human Geography, that was originally designed to support second year undergraduates who are rapidly reformulating their dissertation plans for the summer. This project evolved into something quite substantial, and has been welcomed by PhD students and colleagues, who are also finding the need to revise and revisit research plans.

This resource is potentially of value to a much wider community, and we have now released a version for general circulation, in the spirit of collective solidarity towards students, colleagues and researchers in these difficult times.

Ferraz de Oliveira, A., ed. (2020). Resources for remote research in Human Geography. (crowd-sourced document). Available at:

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# Conducting research at a distance - discussion group

The coronavirus pandemic has caused uncertainty and disruption to many research fieldwork plans. A new discussion group, Conducting research at a distance, fosters discussion over the challenges of conducting fieldwork at a distance, and how we can overcome these innovatively as researchers.

All in the Department of Geography are welcome to attend, including postgraduates and undergraduates. Joining details for all practical workshops and discussions are circulated during the week of the session.

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# Article award for PhD student Judit Kuschnitzki

PhD student in the Department, Judit Kuschnitzki (supervised by Alex Jeffrey), has just been awarded the Hague Journal of Diplomacy Article Award for her 2019 paper Navigating Discretion: A Diplomatic Practice in Moments of Socio-political Rupture. This is a fantastic achievement which saw a jury of 10 HJD advisory board members select Judit's paper from the 40+ research articles in the 2018-19 volumes.

Congratulations Judit!

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# The Botanical City

The Botanical City has just been published.

This collection of essays, edited by Matthew Gandy and Sandra Jasper, emerges from Matthew's ERC project Rethinking Urban Nature.

The wide ranging set of essays explores the botanical dimensions of urban space, ranging from scientific efforts to understand the distinctive dynamics of urban flora to the way spontaneous vegetation has inspired artists and writers.

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# Outstanding dissertation award

Huge congratulations to one of our PhDs, Misbah Khatana (supervisor Mia Gray).

Misbah has just won the EGRG's 2019 dissertation prize for her dissertation on 'Navigating gendered space: The social construction of labour markets in Pakistan'.

Well done Misbah!

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# Communication at a distance

SPRI PhD Candidate, Premdeep Gill, recently joined the Royal Greenwich Museum as a special guest on their online show, speaking to BBC presenter Helen Czerski on the theme of communication at a distance throughout history.

Prem discussed his use of satellites to track seals and how he uses "seal grime" to connect with a wider audience, and encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to consider polar science and conservation.

The episode is available to watch online and featured on BBC online as part of their "culture in quarantine" programming.

# New paper on subarctic treelines

A new paper, whose co-authors include Dr Gareth Rees, Dr Olga Tutubalina & Zuzana Swirad of the Scott Polar Research Institute, is now available as open access.

The paper, 'Is subarctic forest advance able to keep pace with climate change?' demonstrates that the still widespread assumption that treelines are moving northwards into the arctic tundra at a rate determined by climate change is wrong. The authors discuss that they are moving much more slowly than thought, and climate-change models must consequently be adapted accordingly.

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# Super seagrasses

Seagrass and coral, Cuba(photo: K. Teleki, CCRU))

Ellie Wilding (MPhil by research, 2019-2020) writes about flowering plants that live underwater, seagrasses - 'the undercover hero of the sea' -and how they might help combat climate change in the latest issue of 'BlueSci' magazine.

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# SPRI Review 2019

SPRI Review 2019 is now available online. SPRI Review is the Annual Report issued by the Scott Polar Research Institute, giving information on the Institute's activities over the past year.

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# Routes Journal for undergraduate students

Undergraduate students and recent graduates in Geography often have limited opportunities to see their work published, and to gain experience with the peer-review publication process. To create this opportunity, a group of young academics, including our final-year PhD student Lander Bosch, are launching a new journal, Routes.

Routes invites current undergraduates and those who recently graduated to submit work for publication in the online journal. Articles up to 2,000 words based on undergraduate dissertations, essays and book reviews are welcomed, both in the fields of Human and Physical Geography. These will then be peer-reviewed, and can be accepted for publication, with the first issue appearing in September 2020.

Given the high quality of the work produced by our Geography undergraduates at Cambridge, we would like to encourage you to consider submitting your work to the journal. It will present you with an excellent opportunity to gain a wider audience for your work, and get acquainted with the process of publishing academic journal articles. Should you have any queries, you can contact the editor of Routes via You can submit your work following the guidelines on the website.

Postgraduates and academic staff are invited to join the journal as peer-reviewers. More information on this can be found on the website.

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# Atlas of Entrepreneurship launch

Entrepreneurs in the past were twice as numerous than today with women particularly strongly involved in running their own businesses. The newly launched Atlas of Entrepreneurship covering 1851 to 1911 for Britain show how their businesses developed across the country - with particularly high rates in many rural areas as well as the large cities.

This is the result of the major ESRC project led by Bob Bennett over the last 4 years. Martin Lucas-Smith as web developer, and the main team on involved with the research Harry Smith, Carry van Lieshout and Piero Montebruno have now been able to release the Atlas; and the database deposit form the research has just been released at the UK Data Archive.

The database covers about 2 million employers and 14 million self-employed people. They have been found by algorithm and desk searches from the 180m people who lived in Britain and were recorded in the censuses between 1851 and 1911. Various statistical models and machine learning have been used as tools find, parse and code these data. This unique resource has already seen various journal publications and a research book. Now the Atlas provides opportunities for researchers, students, schools, and the general public to explore the data in an accessible way.

The research book, The age of Entrepreneurship shows how entrepreneurship rates of 16-18% were achieved in the 1880s compared to 10% today, whist economically occupied women were twice as likely to be self-employed then than now. Despite the changes since the 1980s which have seen rapid growth of self-employed and the Gig-economy, large and small business proprietors were relatively much more common then, and more widely spread around the country.

The censuses were originally encoded and deposited as a digital record by Kevin Schürer, Eddy Higgs and their team as I-CeM. The software for the Atlas was originally developed by Martin Lucas-Smith and Alice Reid as part of the Populations Past project. The new output shows how the Geography Department is contributing to cutting edge economic and social research.

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# Department of Geography buildings closure

In light of recent government announcements, and of recent developments including a growing number of staff members now working from home, the University of Cambridge has now moved into its "red" phase in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. There are more details about this on the University's Coronavirus (Covid-19) pages.

As a result, the Department of Geography Main Building, and the Department offices in the William Hardy Building, will be closed; as will the Department's facilities, including the Geography Department Library, the Geography Science Laboratories and Field Equipment Service. Information for staff and students about this closure, procedures for remote working, and Departmental updates about the Coronavirus situation are available on the Geography Intranet.

# Coronavirus: latest information for students and staff

The Geography Intranet has a new section giving updates on the Coronavirus situation, together with links to key resources.

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# Getting a (proper) grip on UK flooding

Professor Tom Spencer takes the government to task on its approach to river flooding, in an article in The Guardian, 'Getting a proper grip on flooding problems'.

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# Athena SWAN Bronze Award for the Department of Geography

We are delighted to say that the Department of Geography has received an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for its efforts in breaking down barriers to gender equality.

The Athena SWAN Charter was founded in 2005, in order to recognise higher education institutions that have committed to advancing the careers of women in teaching and research of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine).

In 2015, as well as being expanded to include all academic subjects and also in professional and support roles, Athena SWAN awards recognise the work that promotes gender equality. This includes the interests of trans staff and students, and support for more positive working environments.

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# Upcoming Events in London: The Urban Salon and the British Academy events both chaired by Prof. Matthew Gandy

On Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 February, Matthew Gandy will chair two events in London on urban green space, urban biodiversity, and ecological design in the city.

The Urban Salon event on the evening of the 18th of February is free and open for all, no need to RSVP.

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# New book: The Edge of Law by Alex Jeffrey

A new book by Alex Jeffrey examines the social and political consequences of conducting war crimes trials in the wake of violent conflict. Focusing on the establishment of a war crimes court in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Edge of Law explores the challenge of creating a new legal institution in a divided and traumatised society.

To examine this task, Dr Jeffrey understood the operation of law as a social process, in doing exploring the ways in which trials are communicated; the civil society groups and NGOs helping facilitate legal proceedings, and even the architecture and organisation of the court itself. In mapping the consequences of the court's establishment, the book argues that war crimes trials need to be understood as part of a wider array of legal and political instruments established to confront atrocities of the past.

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# Best Article Award of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Congratulations to Joanna Kusiak on being awarded the 2019 Best Article Award of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research for 'Legal Technologies of Primitive Accumulation: Judicial Robbery and Dispossession-by-Restitution in Warsaw'. The prize is awarded for 'the article that makes the most original and outstanding contribution to the journal.

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# Quaternary Glaciations - top of the pops!

The Geological Society

Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology - A Closer Look. Developments in Quaternary Science 15. 1108 pp. published by Elsevier: Amsterdam in 2011, ISBN: 978-0-444-53447-7, edited by Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard with J. Ehlers and Philip Hughes was the most downloaded e-book from the Geological Society of London's Library in 2019.

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# Pani, Pahar: The Water Curriculum

Hearth Education Advisors

Research led by the Department has been used to develop an innovative resource for schools in India, Pani Pahar: The Water Curriculum. The resource is free to use and download, and should be adaptable for use in a wide range of contexts, including the UK.

The underlying research focused on the political economy of water resources and water security in six small towns in the hill regions of India and Nepal. The project was led by Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs, and worked with the Centre for Ecology, Development and Research (CEDAR), Dehra Dun, India and the Southasia Institute for Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal Further work focused on developing a visual archive of the research, in collaboration with photographer Toby Smith, which resulted in an exhibition that travelled across the UK, India and Nepal.

The curriculum material was developed following the exhibition, and was co-developed by a recent Department graduate, Beth Barker with The Hearth Education Advisors (India and UK), who led on the education structure, development of curriculum resources (including activities, worksheets, learning tools) and instructional design for the learning materials.

Funding for this research was generously provided by grants from the UK's Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, which was a joint initiative of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Funding was also provided by the University of Cambridge's Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account. The Oxonian India Foundation funded the graphics design of the curriculum materials.

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# Undergraduate Geography dissertation prize for Paavan Sawjani

In more success for Cambridge Geography, we are delighted to congratulate Paavan Sawjani of Sidney Sussex for winning first prize for his undergraduate dissertation, "Sex and the post-colonial City: University students' understanding of the accepted boundaries of public intimacy in New Delhi, India".

The prize was awarded by the Geographies of Children, Youth, and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. Paavan graduated last summer, and is currently studying for his MRes at the University of Nottingham. Well done, Paavan!

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# Antarctic research features on BBC Radio 4 Today programme

Current glaciological research being undertaken by Ian Willis and Alison Banwell as part of a joint US-NSF and UK-NERC funded project featured on a recent edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, guest edited by Greta Thunberg. The research investigates the role of surface meltwater movement on the stability of Antarctic Ice Shelves and involves fieldwork on the George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsular from where the SPRI scientists have recently returned. Their work is mentioned as part of a larger report into Antarctic glacier melt and sea level rise, which begins about 47 minutes into the programme.

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# Contemporary climate change debates: a student primer

Climate change raises many complex and interlocking moral, ethical and political questions about the future, the answers to which lie beyond the reach of science. In this new book edited by Professor Mike Hulme, 15 important questions that lie at the heart of climate politics are debated by leading scholars. Understanding how and why serious people arrive at different answers to these questions is a crucial learning experience for any climate student or activist.

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# Drone images show Greenland Ice Sheet becoming more unstable as it fractures

In a new study, researchers at the Scott Polar Research Institute used drones to observe how fractures form on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The new research, published 2nd December 2019 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, explains why supraglacial lakes in Greenland drain rapidly, and how the drainage creates conduits for continued supply of surface meltwater to the base of the ice sheet.

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# Transport Geography dissertation prize for Will Haslam

We are delighted to report that Will Haslam, who graduated in July 2019, has been awarded a prize from the Royal Geographical Society. The RGS's Transport Geography Research Group awarded the prize for Will's undergraduate dissertation, entitled From Waste to West Africa: Investigating NGO transformations and 'scripting' of second-hand bicycles in The Gambia. Well done to him!

# Applications open: two new Climate Change Masters

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

Applications are now open for two new 11 month Masters Programmes in the Department of Geography: Anthropocene Studies and Holocene Climates, with our first intake in October 2020.

These Programmes will provide deep insights into the various processes of global change, both climates of the past (the Holocene MPhil) and the processes of human and planetary change and transformation taking place in the present and future (the Anthropocene MPhil). An inter-disciplinary concepts and methods course is common to both Programmes. The Anthropocene Studies course is led by prominent public intellectual on climate change Prof Mike Hulme and Holocene Climates is led by Prof Ulf Buntgen, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis.

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# ERC Arctic Cultures Workshop, 9-10 January 2020

The ERC Arctic Cultures grant led by Richard Powell is holding its first Project Workshop – 'Knowledge Formations and Colonial Encounters in the Arctic', 9-10 January 2020 at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

The workshop is part of a series of research events bringing team members, leading international experts and interested scholars into dialogue around the themes of the project. The focus for this workshop specifically is to examine the co-production of Arctic knowledge formations through encounters between indigenous inhabitants and non-indigenous actors. Presentations will draw upon empirical research and theorisation to investigate spatial formations of the Arctic and the role of Northern actors and institutions.

All are welcome and attendance is free, but prior registration is required please. The full programme, abstracts and registration details are available on the project website.

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# Living with a predator: why understanding local attitudes is vital for successful snow leopard conservation

Daniel Muenger

Local people in the Nepal Himalayas value snow leopards as much for the potential personal benefits they gain from the animals' conservation as they do for the intrinsic value of this charismatic species, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

A team of researchers, including Jonathan Hanson, PhD student in the Department of Geography, who led the study, found that local attitudes towards the snow leopard were strongly linked to local views on the conservation methods used to protect them.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is considered a 'vulnerable species', with an estimated 4,000 left in the wild, and Protected Areas have been created to safeguard its habitat. However, the animals range over much larger areas, and successful co-existence with humans is key to their survival. The potential for Protected Areas to restrict, as well as benefit, local livelihoods makes it imperative to consider how snow leopard conservation measures are perceived by inhabitants and neighbours of these areas.

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# SPRI Director, Professor Julian Dowdeswell, awarded RSGS WS Bruce Medal

Dr Bryan Lintott

Congratulations to our Director, Professor Julian Dowdeswell, who has been awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society 2019 WS Bruce Medal, for his contribution to glaciology & polar science.

We were pleased to welcome RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson, as he visited the Scott Polar Research Institute to present Professor Dowdeswell with the award.

# ESRC Interdisciplinary PhD studentship - Entrepreneurial infrastructure in the off-grid city, Ghana and South Africa

The University of Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership [DTP] is pleased to offer an interdisciplinary studentship available for admission in October 2020. The studentship will be a one-year masters (MPhil Geographical Research) followed by three-year doctoral programme, and will be co-supervised by Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Department of Geography) and Prof Jaideep Prabhu (Judge Business School).

The studentship will explore entrepreneurial practices and state regulation of off-grid water and energy infrastructure (e.g. water sachets/bottles, storage tanks, boreholes, solar panels, diesel generators) in the cities of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana). Primary fieldwork in these cities will involve ethnographic observation and qualitative semi-structured interviews with off-grid water and energy entrepreneurs, and state officials. While in the field the student will be supported by colleagues at the University of Ghana and University of Witwatersrand.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 7th January 2020 (references must be received by then). Applicants should apply for the MPhil Geographical Research, indicating their interest in this project. Please enter the Studentship title under the research section of the application and indicate that you wish to receive funding under the Reasons to Apply section. In the Proposal section, please explain your interest in this particular project, why you feel you are a suitable applicant, and any ideas that you have for how you would wish to develop the project.

Please direct questions to Dr Charlotte Lemanski.

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# Fitzwilliam College Foundation Lecture 2019

In this year's lecture Professor Bhaskar Vira, Professor of Political Economy, Head of the Department of Geography, Fitzwilliam College Fellow, and Founding Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, offers his perspective on working towards a political economy of environment and development – from the mountain peaks of the Himalayas to the flat Fens of East Anglia.

The Fitzwilliam Foundation Lecture was first given 50 years ago in 1969 to mark the centenary of the College, and has since become the College's major annual public lecture. The lecturers have often been distinguished alumni, Fellows or former Fellows of the College.

The lecture will be held on 14th November 2019, at 6pm.

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# Former PhD student's prize-winning book 'Unjust Conditions'

Tara Cookson (PhD in Geography 2012-2015) has just won the National Women's Studies Association's Sara A. Whaley Book Prize for her book 'Unjust Conditions: Women's Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs' (University of California Press, 2018). The book develops out of her doctoral work on low income rural women's unrecognised time and labour in accessing small cash transfers on behalf of their children.

The prize is awarded for groundbreaking scholarship in women's studies that makes significant feminist contributions to the topic of women and labor. The prize notes: "Through rigorous ethnographic work, Cookson documents women's care work and the high price they pay for receiving aid from the state and international programs. In doing so, Cookson challenges powerful institutions as well as her readers to think beyond quantitative measures to truly create a just and caring society."

Earlier in the year, Tara Cookson's Unjust Conditions won the Assoociation of American Geographers 2018 AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography. That award is given for a book written or co-authored by a geographer that conveys most powerfully the nature and importance of geography to the non-academic world.

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# Master classes for year 12 students

Dr Harriet Allen and Dr Catherine Sumnall will be taking part in the university-led master classes. The master classes are aimed at students in year 12 to give them an idea of what undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is like. Dr Allen will talk about 'Why does Biodiversity Matter? and Dr Sumnall about 'Plague, population and public health'. The lectures will take place on the 26th October sign up to attend the master class.

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# AHRC DTP PhD studentship - Gender and histories of Arctic field science, 1900-1950

Applications are invited for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), University of Cambridge, in partnership with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH).

The fully-funded studentship will be based in the Department of Geography and the Scott Polar Research Institute. The successful applicant will work on a collaborative project co-led by Dr Richard Powell, Department of Geography (and Scott Polar Research Institute) and co-supervisor, Professor Paul Smith, Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

This project provides the opportunity to explore the histories of a range of women in the twentieth-century Arctic, including female scientists, travellers and collectors and their encounters with indigenous people. The project draw upon extensive archival records about the geologist Phyllis Wager and the writer Isobel Wylie Hutchison. The student will also be encouraged to develop a comparative focus to include other key actors involved in gendering the Arctic field sciences.

Further details of the project and its aims can be found on the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP website.

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# Cambridge Legal Geographies Symposium on Friday 20th September

Legal geographies symposium: Friday 20th Sept, 12-2pm,
Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography.

Dr Alex Jeffrey and Dr Francesca Moore are pleased to convene a symposium of new and emerging research in Cambridge Legal Geographies. If you are working on the law or would like to hear about new developments in the field from historical geographies of colonial rule to war crime and feminist geography please do join us for presentations and discussion.

# Biological Extinctions: New Perspectives

Many congratulations to CCRU alumnus, Dr Anna McIvor who has co-edited, with Partha Dasgupta and Peter Raven, ' Biological Extinction: New Perspectives' (CUP, 2019). The book argues that we need to take a wide view of extinction across a range of socio-ecological systems, with chapters from leading thinkers in biology, economics, geology, archaeology, demography, architecture and intermediate technology.

# Vintage film reveals Antarctic glacier melting

Thwaites Glacier - Credit: NASA

Newly-digitised vintage film has doubled how far back scientists can peer into the history of underground ice in Antarctica, and revealed that an ice shelf on Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is being thawed by a warming ocean more quickly than previously thought. This finding contributes to predictions for sea-level rise that would impact coastal communities around the world.

Researchers digitised about 250,000 flight miles of Antarctic radar data originally captured on 35mm optical film between 1971 and 1979 as part of a collaboration between Stanford and the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) at the University of Cambridge. The data has been released to an online public archive through Stanford Libraries, enabling other scientists to compare it with modern radar data in order to understand long-term changes in ice thickness, features within glaciers and baseline conditions over 40 years.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, a co-author of the paper, commented: "These early records of ice thickness provide an important baseline against which we can measure the rate of change of the Antarctic Ice Sheet over the past 40 or so years. The high-resolution digitization of these records crucially makes them available for a series of important investigations on aspects of Antarctic environmental change."

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# Predicting Future Oceans

Congratulations to Mike Bithell, Tom Spencer, Rachel Seary and Chris McOwen (our long-term research collaborator at UNEP-WCMC) for their chapters on 'Drivers of fisheries production in complex social-ecological systems' and 'The future of mangrove fishing communities' in the capstone book, 'Predicting Future Oceans'.

The volume celebrates 8 years of the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program, a collaborative research partnership of 18 institutes, including Cambridge Geography, worldwide. Rachel's mangrove chapter stems from one of three PhDs associated with the Program, following Laurens Geffert's 'Improving species distribution models for commercially important marine species on a global scale' and preceding current student Frederique Fardin's 'Climate Change, Mangrove Forests, and Fisheries, in South-East Asia and the Caribbean'.

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# Reconstructing the past extent of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets

Dr Christine Batchelor and Professor Philip Gibbard of the Scott Polar Research Institute, together with researchers from the University of Cambridge's Department of Zoology, Durham University, University of Sussex, and Charles University in Prague, have published a paper in Nature Communications about the configuration of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets through the Quaternary.

In this study, the authors compile a synthesis of empirical data and numerical modelling results related to Northern Hemisphere ice sheets to produce new hypotheses regarding their extent at 17 time-slices that span the last 3.6 million years. These reconstructions, which are available as a series of maps and shapefiles of ice-sheet extent, illustrate significant variations in ice-marginal positions between glacial cycles.

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# Origins of water beneath Mars' south polar ice cap

Dr Neil Arnold, in collaboration with Dr Matt Balme and Dr Frances Butcher (a former undergraduate in the Department of Geography here in Cambridge) of the Open University, and Dr Susan Conway of the University of Nantes, France, have published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets investigating the location of the recently-detected water layer beneath part of Mars' south polar ice cap.

Mars' present‐day ice deposits are generally assumed to be frozen throughout given its very cold climate, but new evidence from orbital radar data suggests a possible present‐day ~20km‐wide area of liquid water beneath Mars' south polar ice cap. Subglacial lakes are common on Earth, and their locations have been successfully predicted from ice surface topography and ice thickness using theories for subglacial water flow. This paper uses surface topography and ice thickness data for Mars' south polar ice cap to calculate the theoretical locations of possible subglacial lakes beneath the ice cap, and compares these with the location of the observed possible present‐day area of liquid water. The observed patch of possible liquid water does not coincide with the predicted lake locations however, which the paper interprets as implying that the liquid water is most likely to be an isolated patch of liquid, possibly caused by locally raised geothermal heating, rather than the liquid forming a "true", topographically constrained, subglacial lake.

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# PhD student publishes letter in The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper has published a letter today (7th August 2019) submitted from PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh in response to Mark Carney's recent comment on the role of capitalism in tackling climate change. Oliver's letter recapitulates arguments from his recent article in The Conversation 'Five reasons 'green growth' won't save the planet'.

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# Arnas Palaima Business Plan semi-finalist

Arnas Palaima

Congratulations to Arnas Palaima, of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, who has reached the semi-final stage of the 2019 Postdoc Business Plan Competition with his project 'Eco innovator'. Arnas will now be matched with a seasoned mentor from Cambridge Enterprise's network of experts, to help develop key business skills and hone his business plan. Up to six finalists will then go on to compete at the Grand Finale event, taking place on Thursday 31st October 2019, pitching their business plans to a panel of judges who are experts in spin-out investment.

Eco-Innovator is a sustainability-focused social enterprise seeking to empower global students to make the world more sustainable. More specifically, we are creating a web-based accredited program in eco-innovation and sustainability for global students. The program would enable students to solve REAL-LIFE sustainability challenges provided by industry, cities, research and other organizations that are looking for solutions to reduce environmental footprint and make a transit to the circular economy. In addition, students would work on changing their own (as consumers) behavior to reduce their personal environmental impact. The program would be powered by SOLVE software platform to be developed by Eco-Innovator. SOLVE would integrate three technologies: (1) Virtual Innovation Lab Technology that facilitates and automates student innovation process; (2) Performance Assessment Algorithm Technology that translates innovation data to standardized student innovation metrics/score; and (3) AI/Deep Learning-enabled Technology that speeds up Eco-Innovation Process. In addition to seed funds, we are currently seeking for strategic partners within University of Cambridge (in co-creating the program).

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# New journal article by Alice Reid and Hanna Jaadla

A new paper has been published in Population Studies (online early) by CAMPOP members Alice Reid, Hanna Jaadla and Eilidh Garrett. The paper presents a methodological advance in the form of two new variants of the Own Children Method, an indirect method of calculating fertility from cross-sectional census data. These new variants allow for the presence of non-marital fertility and permit the more robust calculation of fertility rates for social sub-groups of the population, and will be important for anyone interested in calculating fertility from census data.

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# Michael Bradford (1944-2019)

It is with great sadness that the Department notes the death of Michael Graham Bradford on 12 July 2019. Mike was an undergraduate in Geography at St. Catharine's College 1964-1967.

Following a year at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, he returned to Cambridge to undertake an SSRC-funded PhD on 'Spatial aspects of urban consumer behaviour' (awarded 1974; where questionnaire surveys in Leicester were aided by the then St Catherine's undergraduate Bob Haining). In September 1971 he took up the post of Lecturer in the School of Geography, University of Manchester where he stayed for the rest of his academic career, becoming Professor, Head of Department (1996-2000) and, in the University, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning (2011-2004).

His research interests were in the fields of the geographies of education, the geographies of children and urban policy evaluation. For Mike, 'the underlying themes that tie the work together are inequalities, social exclusion and social polarisation.'

He cared deeply about students, both undergraduate and graduate, and was a gifted lecturer, receiving awards including a Distinguished Achievement Medal - Teacher of the Year at Manchester (2005); an HEFCE National Teaching Fellowship (2006); and the Taylor and Francis Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Geography and Higher Education from the RGS (2008).

Early in his career, he had great success with his textbook, written with Ashley Kent, on 'Human Geography: Theories and their Application' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977). He was actively involved in school geography curriculum development and was President of the Geographical Association (1999-2000) as well as being an active member and officer of the Manchester GA for many years.

He never lost his affection for, and connection with, Cambridge (each December, he always watched the Varsity Rugby match in the SCR at Manchester with like-minded souls) and Geography at Cambridge and only ill health prevented his attendance at the Department's centenary celebrations in June.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sheila, to whom we send our deepest condolences.

# Outstanding Dissertation Award

Noah Isserman (supervisor Mia Gray) has won a prestigious award for Outstanding Dissertation from ANOVA for his PhD dissertation "Venturing into public good: From venture capital to the creation of state-supported venture philanthropy." We send our congratulations to Noah!

# Prof Phil Gibbard awarded the Digby McClaren Medal


At the international STRATI 2019 Congress in Milano, Italy, Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the prestigious Digby McClaren Medal by the International Union of Geological Sciences' International Commission on Stratigraphy on 4 July 2019.

The Digby McLaren Medal is awarded to honour a significant body of internationally important contributions to stratigraphy sustained over a number of years. The medal is named in honour of the Canadian geologist Digby McLaren who was so influential in developing the key "golden spike" concept of a Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) with reference to the Silurian - Devonian boundary, and a major force behind the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) of UNESCO.

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# European mushrooms are darker in cold climates

A new paper by Professor Ulf Buentgen and team has established that European mushroom assemblages are darker in cold climates, and that the reasons for this are not just to manage heat. Because mushrooms play a crucial role in terrestrial carbon and nutrient cycles, understanding the links between the thermal environment, functional coloration and species' geographical distributions will be critical in predicting ecosystem responses to global warming.

# Cambridge Geography celebrates 100 years

On Saturday 29 June 2019 over 500 alumni and their guests returned to Cambridge for a fantastic (if hot!) afternoon of exhibitions, talks and afternoon tea. It was wonderful to see over 73 years of Cambridge Geographers represented to mark 100 years of the undergraduate tripos.

# Geography Open Day - Thursday 4 July and Friday 5 July

On Thursday 4 July and Friday 5 July the Department will be taking part in the University of Cambridge Undergraduate Open Days.

A full timetable of activities is now online.

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# NERC Resist wins best video at the RGS's Earth Photo exhibition

Many congratulations to Dr Iris Moeller and all the NERC RESIST team for winning best video at the RGS Earth Photo 2019.

# Imagining Islands at the UL

To mark 100 years of Cambridge Geography, the University Library is exhibiting books from the Department's rare books collection. Entitled 'Imagining Islands: Images of Island Exploration in Early Modern Travel Narratives', it explores depictions of exploration in 17th and 18th century travel books. The exhibition is on until 29th July 2019.

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# Energy, Culture and Society in the Global South

Dr Charlotte Lemanski gave the keynote lecture related to her recent research on 'Infrastructural Citizenship' at the CRASSH workshop on 'Energy, Culture and Society in the Global South'. The workshop was coordinated by PhD students from Cambridge and SOAS, and brought together doctoral students and early-career scholars to discuss the connections between energy and economic/social/cultural/political developments.

# I am a denier: a human extinction denier

In a new blog post, Professor Mike Hulme explores the rhetoric of extinction and emergency in climate politics and argues that this does not accurately reflect the situation of climate change.

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# Urban Energy and Housing in Africa and India

An inter-disciplinary workshop on 'Urban Energy and Housing in Africa and India' was hosted at CRASSH last week, to mark the end of Dr Charlotte Lemanski's British Academy Cities and Infrastructure Programme research project on 'Energy innovation for low-cost housing'

The workshop included speakers from a wide range of disciplines (engineering, physics, architecture, geography, politics, urban studies, climate science) to discuss the current and future parameters on inter-disciplinary work related to energy, urban development and housing in the global South. The workshop was co-organised by Dr Lemanski and Dr Haque.

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# Vacancy: Lecturer in Geography

The Department of Geography wishes to appoint a University Lecturer with interests in interdisciplinary teaching and research relating to the geographies of environmental risk. The successful candidate will hold a PhD in Geography or a cognate subject, will show evidence of high quality research publications and have a proven record of winning research grants. They will have strong teaching experience and will play a central role in launching and delivering two new Masters programmes, on Anthropocene Studies and Holocene Climates, from October 2020, including co-ordinating a new graduate course on inter-disciplinary theories and concepts. They will contribute, as appropriate, to the academic administration of the Department and the University.

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# Etarea - the city that never was

Designed in 1967 for a site near Prague, Czechoslovakia, but never built, Etarea was to be an ideal communist city, where automated infrastructures would provide citizens with opportunities for meaningful self-realization. In a new paper, Cambridge Geography researcher Maros Krivy discusses a range of influences including Marxist humanism, cybernetics and systems ecology, and examines how Etarea's architects grappled with tensions between political emancipation and cybernetic control.

# The cultural significance of carbon-storing peatlands to rural communities

A group of UK and Peruvian researchers lead by Cambridge Geographer Christopher Schulz have carried out the first detailed study of how rural communities interact with peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon, a landscape that is one of the world's largest stores of carbon.

Tropical peatlands, found in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America, play an important, and, until recently, underappreciated role for the global climate system, due to their capacity to process and store large amounts of carbon. Across the world, peat covers just three per cent of the land's surface, but stores one third of the Earth's soil carbon.

This work represents the first detailed survey of how local communities view and interact with these important landscapes. The results are reported in the journal Biological Conservation.

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# Five reasons 'green growth' won’t save the planet

Writing in The Conversation, PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh argues that narratives of 'green growth'- helping the environment while continuing to expand the economy- may weaken rather than strengthen efforts to prevent changing climates, vanishing biodiversity and depleting resources.

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# How I decided not-for-profit was right for me: Geography careers

In a new blog, Cambridge Geography graduate Jen Durrant talks about her career journey in the third sector.

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# Children who walk to school less likely to be overweight or obese, study suggests

New work by Cambridge Geography PhD student Lander Bosch suggests that Children who regularly walk or cycle to school are less likely to be overweight or obese than those who travel by car or public transport.

Based on results from more than 2000 primary-age schoolchildren from across London, the researchers found that walking or cycling to school is a strong predictor of obesity levels, a result which was consistent across neighbourhoods, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The results are reported in the journal BMC Public Health.

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# Amount of carbon stored in forests reduced as climate warms

Accelerated tree growth caused by a warming climate does not necessarily translate into enhanced carbon storage, an international study suggests.

The team, led by Professor Ulf Buentgen, found that as temperatures increase, trees grow faster, but they also tend to die younger. When these fast-growing trees die, the carbon they store is returned to the carbon cycle.

The results, reported in the journal Nature Communications, have implications for global carbon cycle dynamics. As the Earth's climate continues to warm, tree growth will continue to accelerate, but the length of time that trees store carbon, the so-called carbon residence time, will diminish.

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# Weak and wobbly or strong and stable?: Salt marshes as buffers against coastal erosion

As the UK prepares for climate change impacts at the coastal zone, research from Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) determines the resistance of coastal salt marshes to extreme storms.

Salt marshes fringe much of the world's low-lying coasts. They act as a first line of defence against storm surge waves, reducing storm water levels and the run up of waves on landward sea defences. As a result, vulnerable shorelines and engineered coastal defences are at lower risk of suffering under the impact of climate change, for example through sea level rise and intense storms. Little is known, however, of the resistance of these natural buffers to the continued battering by waves and tides and even less is known about what kind of storm it takes to erode these protective fringes, and thus leaving the coast and the populations living alongside it considerably more vulnerable.

This short film explains how a team of Geographers and Geologists is planning to shed light on what makes salt marshes resistant to storm waves, using the latest remote sensing and soil scanning technologies alongside one of the world's largest indoor wave flumes.

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# Cambridge alumna wins RGS Royal Medal

Dame Fiona Reynolds, alumna of the Department of Geography and Master of Emmanuel College, has been awarded the 2019 RGS Royal Patron's Medal for "shift[ing] the debate on conservation and the environment into new territory for many people in the UK". Fiona, who previously served as Director General of the National Trust, as well Director of the Women's Unit in the Cabinet Office, Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England) and Secretary to the Council for National Parks, spoke recently at our RGS public panel event on 'The Spirit and Purpose of Geography'.

# Workshop invitation: Urban energy and housing in Africa and Asia: inter-disciplinary dialogues

A one-day workshop on 'Urban energy and housing in Africa and Asia: inter-disciplinary dialogues workshop' will be held on 30th May. This will conclude Dr Charlotte Lemanski's British Academy Cities and Infrastructure project grant, 'Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary dialogue'.

The event will be held on 30 May 2019, 9am-4.30pm, SG2, Alison Richards Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge.

The workshop will have a number of exciting speakers across geography, urban, infrastructure and energy studies. In addition to summarising the core findings of the British Academy project, the workshop will discuss broader issues related to the challenges of energy and housing in India and Africa. The event is intentionally inter-disciplinary. There will be a drinks reception afterwards.

Please book by e-mail to by 10th May, 2019 if you are interested in attending. The event is free but numbers are limited.

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# The white truffle has crossed the alps

Research by Professor Ulf Buentgen collaborating with the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL has discovered for the first time that the Piedmont white truffle is now growing north of the Alps, following the discovery of the plant growing in a park in Geneva by Giano, a trained truffle dog.

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# Reflections on 'sublime encounters' with the media

In a blog post for Geo as part of the RGS, Department lecturer Dr Amy Donovan reflects upon her recent work with the media on volcano tourism and its effects.

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# Rapid melting of the world’s largest ice shelf linked to solar heat in the ocean

A study conducted at the Scott Polar Research Institute links melting of the world's largest ice shelf to solar heating of the ocean surface. The findings may have important implications for the stability of ice shelf.

In a study of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, which covers an area roughly the size of France, the team spent several years building up a record of how the north-west sector of this vast ice shelf interacts with the ocean beneath it. Their results, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, show that the ice is melting much more rapidly than previously thought due to inflowing warm water.

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# Salt marsh could be the best defence against coastal erosion

A new article in the Guardian discusses work by Department lecturer Dr Iris Moeller and the RESIST project, exploring how salt marshes can provide resistance to extreme weather events.

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# Conservationists share ‘core aims’ but clash over ways forward, study finds

New research by Cambridge senior lecturer Dr Chris Sandbrook and colleagues from the Universities of Leeds and Edinburgh has established for the first time the connections and rifts present in the global conservation community.

The work, published in Nature Sustainability, reveals a sizable consensus among conservationists for many core aims: maintaining ecosystems, securing public support, and reducing environmental impact of the world's richest. However, the study also shows the global community is deeply split on whether to place economic value on nature. The necessity of protected areas – and whether people should be moved to create them – is highly disputed, as is the worth of "non-native" species.

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# Geographies of Hope

On Monday 13 May we will be holding a workshop on 'Geographies of Hope' in the Department. There will be talks, panels, discussions and film on a wide range of issues. All are welcome, and lunch will be provided for everyone who books.

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# Volcanic Impact on Climate and Society meeting

The Department of Geography will host the fourth meeting of the VICS (Volcanic Impact on Climate and Society) working group from PAGES Past Global Change from the 13-16 April 2019.

VICS aims to provide a forum for the exchange of information between different communities interested in the impacts of volcanic eruptions, including communities involved in volcanology, paleoclimate reconstruction, climate modeling, ice core interpretation, history of climate/society and archaeology.

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# Cambridge PhD student named in 100 most influential

Former Polar Studies Cambridge PhD student and Gates Scholar Victoria Herrmann has been named one of the top 100 most influential people in climate policy for 2019, according to Apolitical. She now leads the Arctic Institute's research on climate change and community adaptation in Arctic communities.

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# National Geographic features Cambridge research

A feature in National Geographic exploring the fall of the ancient Roman wine centre of Elusa profiles the work of Professor Ulf Buentgen on the Late Antique Little Ice Age and the impact of a cluster of volcanic eruptions in the mid-6th century on life across Europe and Asia.

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# Sea Change: how Cambridge Geography is working to protect East Anglian coasts

Featured in the latest Research Horizons, the work of Tom Spencer, Iris Moeller and the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, explores how coastal communities can work with nature, rather than against it, to protect them from flooding, while collaborating with local authorities in the East of England, the Environment Agency, stakeholders including the National Trust, and the Universities of East Anglia (UEA) and Essex, to develop and test more sustainable approaches to flood defence.

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# Changes in ocean 'conveyor belt' predicted abrupt climate changes

A new study published in Nature Communications is the first to measure the time lags between changing ocean currents and major climate shifts. An international team of scientists with lead author Dr Francesco Muschitiello studied one of the key sections of the ocean circulation system AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) –where North Atlantic water sinks from the surface to the bottom of the ocean. They confirmed that changes in the ocean conveyor belt preceded abrupt and major climatic changes during the transition out of the last ice age, referred to as the last deglaciation. The study is the first to determine the time lags between past changes to the AMOC and major climate changes.

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# Cambridge Geography at EGU 2019

The EGU General Assembly 2019, Europe's largest gathering of geoscientists, is taking place in Vienna on 7–12 April 2019. Once again, the Department of Geography at Cambridge is well represented by over 30 presentations of varying types.

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# New paper: on the drivers of water and land use embodied in international soybean trade

Sentinel Hub

A new paper by Oliver Taherzadeh on the drivers of water and land use embodied in international soybean trade has been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. The paper, co-authored by Dr Dario Caro from Aarhus University, evaluates the countries and sectors responsible for international soybean trade and the water and land use associated with its production.

The paper's findings suggest:

  • One-third of water and land used to grow soybean globally is driven by trade
  • Indirect demand for water and land use embodied in soybean trade is mainly driven by demand in China, the Netherlands and Mexico, for soybean grown in the US, Brazil and Argentina
  • Animal feed is responsible for around three-quarters of water and land use associated with soybean trade

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# Tara Cookson wins AAG prize for the Public Understanding of Geography

Former PhD student and Gates Scholar Tara Cookson has won the 2018 AAG Globe Book Award for the Public Understanding of Geography for her book Unjust Conditions: women's work and the hidden cost of cash transfer programmes.

Judges said of the book: Tara Patricia Cookson's outstanding book Unjust Conditions: Women's Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs is an elegantly written and accessible portrait of how rural women in Peru experience and cope with the often hidden and detrimental socioeconomic demands of a much-heralded development program. Through careful, self-aware ethnographic methods, Cookson (currently a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia) presents a powerful counter-argument to the fashionable yet problematic practice of "data-driven development". Unjust Conditions should be required reading for students, scholars, the general public, and—most importantly—practitioners of development searching for innovative and socially just alternatives to conventional development thinking.

# Glaciers and surface winds in a Himalayan valley

Emily Potter

PhD student, Emily Potter, with supervisors Ian Willis (SPRI), Andrew Orr (BAS) and colleagues have published their latest research in the Journal of Geophysical Research, which has also been featured as an Editors' Highlight in EOS.

The work uses field measurements and a regional climate model to determine the patterns and causes of wind acceleration around the Khumbu Valley, Nepal, and how they change over diurnal cycles, and between the monsoon and dry seasons.

It confirms strong daytime up-valley winds and weak nighttime winds in both seasons, and shows that pressure gradient forces are the dominant cause of wind acceleration, but that turbulence and advection are important too. The forcing terms are highly variable across the valley, and also strongly influenced by the presence of glaciers. When glaciers are removed from the model in the monsoon run, the wind continues much further up the valley, showing how local valley winds might respond to future glacier shrinkage.

This work will help the development of regional climate models in the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya, which are crucial for predicting future precipitation and glacier melt in the region.

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# Sea ice acts as ‘pacemaker’ for abrupt climate change

Substantial variations in past sea ice cover in the Norwegian Sea were instrumental for several abrupt climate changes in large parts of the world, researchers have found. An international study involving researchers from the UK, Norway, Germany Australia, South Korea and the US, including Department Lecturer Dr Francesco Muschitiello has confirmed that changes in sea ice cover in the Norwegian Sea played a key role in driving abrupt climate change events between 32,000 and 40,000 years ago, where global temperatures shifted as much as 15 degrees Celsius.

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# Postdoctoral research associate vacancy

This is an exciting opportunity to work as part of an inter-disciplinary team (geography, architecture, engineering, business studies) at the University of Cambridge. The position is a fixed-term post-doctoral research role, working on a British Academy funded project, "Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-cost housing in the Western Cape, South Africa", led by Dr Charlotte Lemanski.

The project will facilitate meaningful learning engagements and knowledge sharing between diverse stakeholders (public, private, community, NGOs) involved in designing, funding, delivering and using energy efficiency interventions in low-income urban housing settlements situated in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The post is suited to a post-doctoral researcher with experience of undertaking qualitative research in urban global South context (ideally South Africa). Deadline for applications is 10 April.

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# Geography getting ready for Science Festival 2019

The Department of Geography is hosting a number of exciting events as part of this year's Cambridge Science Festival - book now!

Past climate variability and human history,
Friday 15 March, 6pm, Department of Geography

An introduction into tree-ring research
Monday 11 March, Thursday 14 March, Monday 18 March, Thursday 21 March- 6pm, Department of Geography

Millets for the millions: switching to small grains for sustainable farming
Saturday 16 March, 2pm, Department of Plant Sciences

The colourful world of wood anatomy: exhibition
11-15 and 18-20 March, 10am -4pm, Department of Geography library (drop in)

The colourful world of wood anatomy: welcome talk (LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR)
Monday 11 and Monday 18 March, 12.30pm, Department of Geography library

The long-term perspective of climate change
Thursday 14 March, 7pm, Department of Geography

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# Britain from the Air: 1945-2009: now live!

Aerial photographs of Britain from the 1940s to 2009 – dubbed the 'historical Google Earth' by Cambridge academics – have been made freely available to everyone on Cambridge University Library's ground-breaking Digital Library.

The first 1,500 photographs from a vast archive of almost half a million images went live online this morning (Feb 22), showing not only our ancient landscapes, but also how the UK's built environment underwent radical change: from the bomb-scarred post-war period, right through to the first decade of the 21st century. The collection, which has been managed and stored by the Department of Geography, contains hundreds of thousands of images taken across the second half of the twentieth century.

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# Cities and infrastructure on film

The British Academy Cities and Infrastructure Programme has produced a film covering the broad range of projects and findings from the programme. Dr Charlotte Lemanski's project on 'Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue" is featured.

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# The challenge and opportunities of turbulent times

Professor Ron Martin addressed the Regional Studies Association in his role as President exploring the challenges and opportunities brought about by recent economic and political turbulence. An extract is published on the RSA blog.

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# Surface lakes cause Antarctic ice shelves to 'flex'

Alison Banwell

A team of British and American researchers, co-led by Alison Banwell and Ian Willis at the Scott Polar Research Institute, has measured how much the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica flexes in response to the filling and draining of meltwater lakes on its surface. This type of flexing had been hypothesised before and simulated by computer models, but this is the first time the phenomenon has been measured in the field. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

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# Rising seas: to keep humans safe, let nature shape the coast

Writing in The Conversation, Department Lecturer Dr Iris Moeller argues that rising sea levels won't be solved by trying to keep the coast in place, instead, for a defence from coastal flooding, we need to take a step back and let nature decide.

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# Does the north pole still matter?

.Is the North Pole still important, when most of us will never visit it and know almost nothing about it? A new book by Dr Michael Bravo charts the history of the North Pole and finds a place that is both real and imaginary, with fascinating stories to tell.

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# Third Centenary Lecture: Professor Derek Gregory

On Thursday 7 Feb the Department will welcome alumnus and former staff member Professor Derek Gregory of the University of British Columbia to deliver the third in our Centenary Lecture Series.

Professor Gregory will speak on 'Bloody Geography: injured bodies and the space of modern war'. 5pm, Large Lecture Theatre, all welcome!

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# Bridging Binaries: LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum in the News

New LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum have been in the spotlight, along with tours of several other University of Cambridge Museums. The New York Times and The Times have both sent reporters along to find out about the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture, from same-sex behaviour among penguins to the first Pride event to take place in Antarctica.

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# The Forum: The Top of the World

Dr Michael Bravo appeared on BBC World Service The Forum: The Top of the World discussing the North Pole as a place of history and mythology.

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# Unusual Suspects: what contributions can biodiversity conservation organisations make to the Sustainable Development Goals?

Collaborators in Cambridge have launched a new tool designed to help conservation practitioners engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, within this framework, the wider human and societal benefits of their work.

This tool launches on the same day as the Cambridge Conservation Initiative hosts an event featuring Sir David Attenborough at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, exploring the role of nature in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2019 places Biodiversity Loss and Ecosystem Collapse in the most serious categories of its risk framework. Together with extreme weather events, natural disasters, water crises and the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is clear that the risk perceptions of the global community increasingly recognise the key role that nature and the environment play in relation to human wellbeing on this planet.

The UN SDGs provide a 'Blueprint for Building a Better World' between 2015 and 2030, and are increasingly used as the framework that guides governments, businesses and third sector organisations that are working towards planetary and human wellbeing. They are universal, integrative and transformative.

The SDGs are explicit about the importance of the natural world, especially the headline goals on marine and terrestrial life, and on climate change. But, the role of nature in supporting the SDGs is much broader, and can be hidden in the headline commitments. Conservation actions can contribute positively to achieving a much wider range of targets, in keeping with their integrative approach.

Professor Bhaskar Vira, Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) said "As we look to the future, we need to recognise that wise investments in nature are also investments in a safer, healthier and less unequal world. There are close links between planetary and human wellbeing, and our future prosperity depends on understanding and acting urgently to support these relationships."

Collaborators at Cambridge have developed an online tool to help users find the SDG targets which are relevant to their own project, programme or other initiative. It is aimed at biodiversity-conservation initiatives but may also be useful to people working in other fields.

The SDGs provide a framework to understand the impacts that biodiversity and ecosystems make to a wide range of global goals. The tool was developed to allow practitioners to easily find their projects' contribution to sustainability, as well as to health, equality, justice and climate change mitigation and adaptation. While these contributions might be relatively small in themselves, they cumulatively demonstrate the ways in which we depend on nature, and why biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse are increasingly seen as major threats.

The associated event at Davos will be livestreamed on Tuesday 22 January at 11am (GMT).

Follow us on Twitter @cambridge_uccri

Watch the fabulous video explaining what the SDG Tool does.

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# Climate change curation project for school students

The Scott Polar Research Institute and Selwyn College Cambridge are excited to announce a unique opportunity for Year 12 Students to curate an exhibition about climate change as part of a project that will run from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th August 2019.

Over five days a group of year 12 students will join the Institute to explore cutting edge polar research with some of the world's leading experts, and work as part of an experienced museum team to plan an exhibition from start to finish. The finished exhibition will go on public display at The Polar Museum from late 2019 into 2020, the Scott Polar Research Institute's centenary year.

Applications are open until 12 noon on 26 April 2019.

Read more …

# The fly that tried to save the world: new paper by Matthew Gandy

Pocota personata, Abney Park, Stoke Newington, London (2013). Photo:  Russell Miller.

In a new paper, 'The fly that tried to save the world: Saproxylic geographies and other‐than‐human ecologies', Professor Matthew Gandy explores urban bio-diversity using the example of a rare fly found in a North London cemetery. He develops the idea of "forensic ecologies" to show how insects can serve as "indicator species" with wider ethical and political implications for urban environments.

# Distinguished International Visitor Rebecca Lave

On 23th and 24th January, the Department will welcome Professor Rebecca Lave, Indiana University. Professor Lave will deliver a public lecture and seminar as part of her visit- all welcome.

Public Lecture: Can we save nature by selling it? Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 5pm, Large Lecture Theatre.

Seminar: Bridging the gap: integrating critical human and physical geography in practice. Thursday, 24th January 2019, 4.15pm, Small Lecture Theatre

Read more …

# First Year Forum - 15th January

Tuesday 15th January sees our annual First Year Forum, in which first year PhD students present upon their research projects. Talks will take place in the Small Lecture Theatre and Large Lecture Theatre from 9.45am-4pm.

# North Pole by Michael Bravo - new book

In his new work, North Pole, published by Reaktion Press (2019), Senior Lecturer Michael Bravo investigates how visions of the North Pole have been supremely important to the world's cultures and political leaders, from Alexander the Great to neo-Hindu nationalists.

Tracing poles and polarity back to sacred ancient civilizations, he explores how the idea of a North Pole has given rise to utopias, satires, fantasies, paradoxes and nationalist ideologies, from the Renaissance to the Third Reich. What we commonly think of as the Arctic, the Victorian conceit of the region as a vast empty wilderness, and the preserve of white males battling against the elements, is actually only a relatively recent polar vision, and one of many.

The book shows an alternative set of pictures, of a habitable Arctic criss-crossed by densely connected networks of Inuit routes, rich and dense in cultural meanings. In both Western and Eastern cultures, theories of a sacred North Pole abound. Visions of paradise and a lost Eden have mingled freely with the imperial visions of Europe and the United States. Forebodings of failure and catastrophe have been companions to tales of conquest, geopolitical intrigue, and redemption.

In a surprising twist to the received story of the North Pole, Bravo looks to poets and philosophers to ask how visions of a sacred or living pole can help humanity understand its twenty-first-century predicament, and whether it is possible to subvert the pole's deeper imperial history.

# Julian Dowdeswell argues for Shackleton on BBC's 'Icons'


Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography Julian Dowdeswell appeared on the BBC's 'Icons' series last night, making the case for Shackleton as the greatest explorer of the 20th Century. The series seeks to establish the greatest icon of the twentieth century over the course of seven different categories. The results of the explorers category will be announced tonight!

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# Phil Gibbard appointed Honorary Member of the Quaternary Research Association

At the Annual General Meeting in Chester on 4th January 2019, Professor Phil Gibbard was appointed an Honorary Member of Britain's Quaternary Research Association. Phil first joined the Association in 1971 and has since served on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Vice-President and Journal Editor.

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# Warnings of the dangers of Volcano Tourism

New work by Dr Amy Donovan and the Royal Geographical Society warns against the dangers of 'volcano tourism'- when members of the public are drawn to volcanic events, placing themselves in danger and hampering emergency responses.

The work has been featured on BBC News.

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# Climate change threatens haute cuisine

A new paper co-authored by Professor Ulf Buengten reveals that the black truffle, key ingredient in many famous Mediterranean dishes, is under threat from a changing climate. Using climate projections based on 36 years of climate data and truffle yield, it is predicted that the winter harvest of truffles could fall by as much as 78-100% by the year 2100.

The paper has also been featured in the German press.

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# The Life Scientific with Clive Oppenheimer


Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer appeared on The Life Scientific on Radio 4. As well as a forensic fascination with the dramatic impact of ancient and modern volcanism on the landscape, Clive discusses how multiple scientific disciplines are now needed to understand the complex historical, archaeological, climatological and environmental impacts of the earth's volcanic eruptions. He also wades into the bitter academic row about what did it for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago: meteorite or volcanism?

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# Michael Bravo and Kat Austen on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3

Senior Lecturer, Dr Michael Bravo, and Friends of SPRI 2017 Arctic Artist in Residence, Dr Kat Austen, were both panellist on BBC Radio 3's 'Free Thinking' episode about ice.

Catch up with the episode in the BBC iPlayer to hear about centuries-old understandings of the North Pole discussed by Michael Bravo, drawing on his new book - North Pole: Nature and Culture. Kat Austen shares part of her symphony, Matter of the Soul, which features recordings of interviews and audio recorded while Kat was in the Arctic on her Friends of SPRI residency.

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# Ron Martin named as Highly Cited Researcher 2018

Professor Ron Martin has been named as a Highly Cited Researcher for 2018, appearing among the top 1% most cited authors on global research interface Web of Science.

# Institute Associate Professor Kevin Edwards awarded the Coppock Research Medal

SPRI Institute Associate Professor Kevin Edwards was awarded the Coppock Research Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, along with Honorary Fellowship of the Society, in a ceremony held in Perth on 21 November.

The Medal is the Society's "highest research-specific award, awarded for an outstanding contribution to geographical knowledge through research and publication" and was presented by Prof. Charles Withers of Edinburgh University, Geographer Royal for Scotland.

In his citation, Prof. Withers stated that the Medal was conferred for "ground-breaking and joined-up contributions to fields such as palynology, archaeology and geography."

# Brexit and the Arctic


Richard Powell is speaking on 30 November 2018 in Copenhagen at the Danish Institute for International Studies about the UK's new 'Defence Arctic Strategy'.

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# New homes at risk of coastal flooding

In a letter to The Guardian, Professor Tom Spencer calls for more joined-up thinking, and action, to the threat posed to coastal areas by climate change as reported in the UK Climate Projections 2018. In particular, he notes that between 2005 and 2014, over 15,000 buildings were built in coastal areas at significant risk of coastal flooding and/or erosion, with as many as 90,000 being built in the next 5 years if targets are met.

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# Cambridge Geography helps Copernicus flood-proof coasts

A major EU research project, including key contributions from the Department of Geography's Coastal Research Unit, has been selected as one of 99 stories from European public authorities to highlight how we are all benefiting from the European Copernicus Programme, the most ambitious Earth Observation programme to date. Launched on the 26th November 2018 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, The Ever Growing Use of Copernicus across Europe's Regions offers a glimpse into how Copernicus supports a broad range of public policies.

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit's (CCRU) contribution to the FAST ('Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology') project was led by Dr Iris Möller. The CCRUs contribution allowed the project team from a total of five leading European research establishments to use state of the art field measurements of waves over flooded wetland surfaces across Europe. This in turn enabled the team to explore how remote sensing can be used as a tool to allow coastal wetlands to be incorporated into coastal protection schemes as natural wave buffers.

Read more …

# Root and Branch: Bhaskar Vira in Cam magazine

Professor Bhaskar Vira is featured in the latest Cam Magazine explaining how natural has economic, practical and spiritual benefits.

Read more …

# Second Centenary Lecture- 22 November

The Department hosts the second in our Centenary Lecture Series on the Geographical Imagination tomorrow at 5pm in the Large Lecture Theatre. We will be welcoming alumna Professor Harriet Bulkeley of the University of Durham to speak on 'Climate Changed Urban Futures: imaginaries, experiments and justice in the Anthropocene city'. All welcome!

# NERC PhD studentships

Details of new NERC PhD studentships have been published. The Department of Geography/Scott Polar Research Institute is part of the interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, Cambridge Climate, Life and Earth Doctoral Training Programme (C-CLEAR DTP). The DTP has fifteen 3.5 year NERC studentships to award to successful candidates each year, for PhDs commencing 2019 to 2023.

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# Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy

Writing in The Conversation, Rogelio Luque-Lora, Bill Adams and Chris Sandbrook argue that camera traps are a very useful conservation tool but can harm human wellbeing and create conflict. The implications of camera trap technology for people's privacy and well-being need to be more widely and openly discussed, and good practice shared. Conservation projects need to make sure they have proper protocols in place to minimise social impacts and stop useful wildlife research tools from damaging both the short and long-term success of wildlife conservation projects.

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# Urban Ecologies: the Launch

This week will see the launch of Dr Maan Barua's ERC Horizon 2020 Starting Grant Project 'Urban ecologies: governing nonhuman life in global cities'. On the 21 Nov there will be an evening launch with a keynote by Prof Sarah Whatmore, FBA (University of Oxford) on 'Convivial Cities?', followed by lectures by Prof Ash Amin, FBA ('The metropolis and mental health), Prof Matthew Gandy, FBA ('From other-than-human to forensic ecologies') and Dr Philip Howell ('The trouble with liminanimals').

On Thursday 22 November this will be followed by a one-day workshop on Urban Ecologies: Feral, Cultivated, Wild, convened by Dr Maan Barua and Dr Philip Howell, which will focus on nonhuman life in the city, and how it might be understood through inter- and intra-disciplinary perspectives including human geography, behavioural ecology, ethology and urban studies. The workshop is supported by the ERC Horizon 2020 Urban Ecologies project, in conjunction with the Infrastructural Geographies and Vital Geographies Research Groups.

# What's the best way to sample a tree ring?

A new paper by a team involving Alexander Kirdyanov, Ulf Buengten, Paul Krusic and Alma Piermattei explores the best way to take samples in tree ring research. Working with examples from 20 trees in northern Siberia, the team have found that disc samples are often quicker, extend further back in time and contain more low frequency information than cores. This means the samples are better at helping us reconstruct past climates.

# Why conservation success stories in Tanzania need a closer look

Ray Rui Unsplash

A team involving PhD student Peadar Brehony explores the impact of new community-based conservation projects in Tanzania- and their sometimes limited success. Writing in The Conversation, the group are urging researchers, non-governmental organisations, funders, and the media to consider more carefully how their work affects rural communities and how to measure their ecological impact in more complex ways.

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# Methods for protecting England’s coastal communities ‘not fit for purpose’

Professor of Coastal Geography Tom Spencer and Professor Gerd Masselink from the University of Plymouth say evidence suggests there should be far stricter controls on coastal developments in a statement issued by Cambridge University today. Drawing from the Committee on Climate Change's Managing the coast in a changing climate report, they advocate for the use of Coastal Change Management Areas (CCMAs) as part of a coherent national policy to better protect our coastlines now and for future generations.

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# Online atlas explores north-south divide in childbirth and child mortality during Victorian era

A new interactive online atlas, which illustrates when, where and possibly how fertility rates began to fall in England and Wales during the Victorian era has been made freely available from today.

The Populations Past website is part of the Atlas of Victorian Fertility Decline research project run by Dr Alice Reid in collaboration with the University of Essex. It displays various demographic and socio-economic measures calculated from census data gathered between 1851 and 1911, a period which saw immense social and economic change as the population of the UK more than doubled, from just under 18 million to over 36 million, and industrialisation and urbanisation both increased rapidly.

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# Counting whales from space

The research of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey PhD student Hannah Cubaynes, using high resolution satellite images to count whales from space in remote spaces, has been featured on BBC News and the Today Programme (1 Nov 2018). Hannah and the team at Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey used detailed high-resolution satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies' DigitalGlobe, to detect, count and describe four different species of whales. This groundbreaking work will allow us to map whales more effectively in remote parts of the world.

Hannah explains:

"This is the most detailed imagery of whales captured by satellites to date. It's exciting that the improved resolution (now at 30 cm) reveals characteristic features, such as flippers and flukes, which can be seen in the images for the first time. Whales live in all oceans. Many areas are difficult to access by boats or planes, the traditional means of monitoring whales. The ability to track whales without travelling to these remote and inaccessible areas, in a cost-effective way, will be of great benefit to conservation efforts for whales."

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# Cambridge Geographer wins creative writing award

Congratulations to PhD student Misbah Aamir who has been jointly awarded the Girton Rima Alamuddin Prize for Creative Writing- on top of finishing her PhD dissertation! Congratulations Misbah!

# Geography Graduate Open Day: Friday 2 Nov

On Friday 2 November, the Department of Geography will be taking part in the University of Cambridge Graduate Open Day. Come to the Department from 2pm to meet current students and from 3pm to hear talks by staff on the MPhil and PhD courses we offer both here and at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

# Cambridge Geography Centenary Lecture Series begins

On Thursday 25 October the Cambridge Geography Centenary Lecture Series will begin with Professor Linda McDowell of the University of Oxford, speaking on 'Border Crossings: geographies of class, gender, mobility and migration'. All welcome!

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# Ron Martin advises European Commission

Professor of Economic Geography Ron Martin has been selected as a special adviser on the European Commission's project 'Building Resilience across Europe's Regions'.

# Cambridge Geographer gives annual lecture in Finland

Tolo Gymnasium Instragram

PhD student Isabel Airas gave an annual 'Studia Generalia' lecture to over two hundred 16- and 17-year old students at her former school, Tölö Gymnasium, in Helsinki, Finland, on 16 October. She spoke about her research into populist politics and the Sweden Democrats – with particular relevance to the Finns who go to the polls in April 2019. She also talked about her experience of doing her PhD at the Department of Geography in Cambridge.

# RESIST in the German press

Over the summer German newspapers and radio featured coverage of the Hydralab+ EU funded experiment of which RESIST soil cores form an integral part. RESIST explores the interaction between salt marshes and changing tidal conditions and is led by a team including Cambridge's Iris Moeller, Tom Spencer, Ben Evans and Helen Brooks.

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# Austerity cuts ‘twice as deep’ in England than rest of Britain


Latest research by Dr Mia Gray and Dr Anna Barford finds significant inequalities in cuts to council services across the country, with deprived areas in the north of England and London seeing the biggest drops in local authority spending since 2010. The authors of the new paper, published today in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, say the findings demonstrate how austerity has been pushed down to a local level, "intensifying territorial injustice" between areas.

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# The Department of Geography Centenary Programme is released

The Department is proud to announce its Centenary Programme, marking 100 years of the Department of Geography and celebrating the achievements of our many alumni. All welcome!

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# UK announces new Arctic defence strategy

Cambridge geographer Dr. Richard Powell was interviewed by Radio Canada International about the recent announcement of a new British Arctic Defence Strategy.

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# The Great Austerity Debate tour starts next week

The Great Austerity Debate: the forum theatre project devised by Dr Mia Gray and Professor Susan Smith in collaboration with Menagerie Theatre Company is going on tour. The project, in which audience members can intervene within the workings of the play, explores the impact of austerity policy upon different groups within society.

The tour starts at The Old Firehouse, Oxford, on Monday 9 October.

2018 tour dates and venues:

  • 9 October – Old Fire Station, Oxford
  • 10 October – Octagon Unitarian Chapel, Norwich
  • 11 October – East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Great Yarmouth
  • 12 October – Bethesda Methodist Church, Cheltenham
  • 16 October – Chesterfield Library Theatre
  • 17 October – Holy Trinity Church, Shirebrook
  • 18 October – Village Hall, Youlgreave
  • 19 October – Peel Centre, Dronfield
  • 23 October – Christchurch, Great Yarmouth
  • 24 October – The Undercroft, Peterborough
  • 25 October – The Undercroft, Peterborough
  • 27 October – Turner Hall, Newmarket
  • 30 October – The Curve, Slough
  • 2 November – Storey's Field Centre, Cambridge
  • 3 November – Kettering Arts Centre at St Andrew's Church
  • 7 November – Warndon Community Hub, Worcester
  • 8 November – Whitworth Library, Rochdale
  • 9 November – Halton Mill, Lancashire
  • 10 November – The Bureau, Blackburn

Read more …

# New paper: The interactive relationship between coastal erosion and flood risk

James Pollard

A new article by CCRU's James Pollard, Professor Tom Spencer, and Dr Sue Brooks establishes that coastal flooding and erosion interact in complex ways that must be addressed for effective risk management.

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# Film as Method in the Geohumanities

(9th- 10th October) PhD student Mathilda Rosengren, Prof Matthew Gandy, Prof Bill Adams and Prof Clive Oppenheimer are putting on a two day screening and workshop event that will show a diverse range of recent films about nature, landscape, and earth systems followed by a series of discussions and presentations. Documentary filmmaking has become an increasingly significant methodology in anthropology, geography and other disciplines as part of a growing interest but in what has been termed the 'geo-humanities'. Themes to be explored include narrative strategies and structures, the conceptual status of documentary verisimilitude, and the changing role of film in emerging cultures of nature in the Anthropocene. For enquiries and registration please contact Mathilda Rosengren (

# Reefs in space and time: Recognising David Stoddart's contribution to coral reef science

A new collection of papers on coral reef geology, geomorphology, biogeography and ecology, and the history of reef science has been published in the memory of David Ross Stoddart (1937-2014).

David Stoddart was a member (undergraduate, Demonstrator, University Lecturer) of the Department of Geography between 1956 and 1988, before becoming Chair of Department and Professor of Geography, University of California at Berkeley. He was a graduate student of Alfred Steers, completing a Ph.D. on the Belize Barrier Reef in 1964.

The collection was the outcome of the opening session of 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) in Honolulu, Hawai'i in June 2016 and includes contributions from 4 reef scientists - Colin Woodroffe, Tom Spencer, Sarah Hamylton and Annelise Hagan – all products of graduate training in Physical Geography at Cambridge.

# Biodiversity conservation initiatives have unfulfilled potential to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals


This week, the United Nations General Assembly reconvenes in New York for its 73rd session, bringing together the international community to drive progress towards the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An interdisciplinary team of researchers associated with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) are asking what contributions biodiversity conservation organisations can make to the SDGs. The project, "Unusual Suspects", examines CCI organisations' own experiences of biodiversity conservation to consider where potential to deliver the SDGs might lie, and how this might be facilitated.

Read the full article.

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# Cambridge Geographer in Green Bay news

A.J. Hawk, Julius Peppers

Third year student George Boughton's dissertation research on the Green Bay Packers has earned him a feature in the local newspaper Green Bay News. George's dissertation will explore how sports can build community identity and a sense of belonging and has involved conducting interviews with a wide range of groups within the Green Bay area.

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# Compass Sixth Form Essay Competition

Compass, the magazine for Cambridge University Geographical Society (CUGS) is holding an essay competition for Sixth Form students. The essay competition is open to all Year 12 and 13 students and the deadline for entries is September 30th. This is a great opportunity for students to explore an issue in greater depth away from the school syllabus. The winning entry will be published in the next issue in November and the top entries will be featured on the Compass website.

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# Professor Julian Dowdeswell appointed Academic Trustee of Royal Museums Greenwich

Congratulations to Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of SPRI, who has been appointed by the Prime Minister as an Academic Trustee to Royal Museums Greenwich for the next four years.

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# Cambridge Dendrochronology on BBC Breakfast

The work of Professor Ulf Buntgen and the Dendrochronology lab was featured this morning on BBC Breakfast, exploring the lab's analyses of ancient tree trunks found at the bottom of Scottish Lochs.

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# Tree Rings and Radiocarbon

Professor Ulf Büntgen is presenting a talk, Tree Rings and Radiocarbon, at the AMS Beyond 2020 Symposium at ETH in Zurich on Friday 21 September. The AMS Symposium presentations will be livestreamed tomorrow morning, with Professor Büntgen presenting at 11.45 (time local to Zurich).

# Coastal management could prevent rising sea levels causing large scale loss of coastal wetlands

© Matthew Barker (cc-by-sa/2.0)

A new study, by a team of researchers led by members of the Department's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, finds that coastal management could prevent rising sea levels causing large-scale loss of coastal wetlands.

Previous studies have predicted catastrophic coastal wetland loss as sea levels rise. However, this new research shows that the global area of coastal wetland could increase if coasts are managed so that they have alternative spaces to grow: areas where sediment could build up, uninhibited by built infrastructure such as sea walls and cities, and where wetland plants could develop. Coastal wetlands could then expand inland in response to sea level rise.

The research was led by Dr Mark Schuerch, former postdoctoral research fellow at CCRU (now University of Lincoln) with the CCRU Director Professor Tom Spencer and including Dr Ruth Reef (now University of Monash).

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# Charlotte Lemanski speaks at Speculative Infrastructures workshop, Sheffield

Charlotte Lemanski discusses her work at the Speculative Infrastructures workshop, held at the University of Sheffield 6-7 September, sponsored by the Urban Geography journal.

Discussing her recent research on infrastructural citizenship within the framework of 'displacement', she also explores the temporal nature of the displacement of expectations and hopes for South Africans awaiting public infrastructure.

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# New paper: Tree rings reveal globally coherent signature of cosmogenic radiocarbon events in 774 and 993 CE

Based on the largest ever volunteer effort by the international tree-ring community, including 67 scholars from 57 institutes around the world, the global extent and seasonal timing of the rapid increase in atmospheric Carbon-14 concentrations from the two largest cosmogenic events in 774 and 993 CE is presented for the first time ever.

The COSMIC initiative demonstrates the annual dating precision of the world's 44 longest tree-ring chronologies, thereby rejecting any claims of globally missing tree rings following large volcanic eruptions. Moreover, COSMIC reveals evidence for a yet unknown meridional gradient of declining mean atmospheric 14C values within and between both hemispheres.

In describing a universal paradigm for dating precision across a wide range of natural and archaeological proxy archives across continents and hemispheres, the authors provide a valuable asset for many fields of modern climate and environmental research, geosciences and the humanities.

This benchmark study will appeal to non-scientists, not only because it offers definitive and unique evidence of how the dating precision of tree-ring chronologies is now independently verified, but also because it provides important information for assessing the threat of space weather on our society.

The research team included the Department's Professor Ulf Büntgen, Professor Clive Oppenheimer, and Paul J. Krusic.

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# Sir David Attenborough joins a celebration of the Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership

Sir Cam

Sir David Attenborough was at the University last week to join an event celebrating the achievements of the alumni of the Masters in Conservation Leadership. The event brought together, for the first time, over 120 alumni from the first eight cohorts of the Masters in Conservation Leadership, along with many of the conservation researchers and practitioners based in Cambridge who contribute to the delivery of the Masters course. The event was designed to celebrate the Masters, and to strengthen the global network of alumni, who come from over 70 different countries, so that it helps them to achieve enhanced conservation impact.

Sir David gave a speech to close an afternoon of presentations by the alumni cohorts that showcased the diverse, inspiring and important work they have been doing since leaving the course. He said:

"This afternoon has been one of the most heartening afternoons I've had for a long time… because seeing people… who have come to Cambridge from all over the globe, and have got together and laughed together and devised new thoughts and new approaches; that's a marvel. The world will need you and the likes of you more than it ever has done. If humanity [is to come] to its senses… it will only happen by events and organisations that produce communities like this one."

Along with Sir David, The Vice-Chancellor was in attendance. He said:

"As Vice-Chancellor, I have made no secret of my belief that as a world-leading University, Cambridge must engage with the great challenges facing humanity, through applied research, partnership with civil society and the training of future leaders. The MPhil in Conservation Leadership is a perfect example of this vision in action, and a flagship course in more than just conservation."

Dr Chris Sandbrook, Director of the Masters, who fronted the delivery of this ambitious event said:

"Through the Masters we are creating a global network of conservation leaders, better equipped to bring about the changes that are needed to conserve the world's biodiversity. Bringing our alumni together in one place for this event has allowed us to create new connections between them so that in future they can support each other in their vital work."

The event, which ran from the 29th August to 1st September, was designed to create new connections between alumni, and to strengthen ongoing links with the partners that make up the Cambridge Conservation Initiative housed in the David Attenborough Building.

The Masters in Conservation Leadership is a professional degree launched in 2010 to equip the next generation of conservation leaders with the skills and experience they need to bring about positive change for the natural world. The 143 students who have joined the course come from a total of over 70 countries, predominantly in the Global South. Graduates have gone on to hold key roles in charity, government and business.

The Masters is a full-time, 11-month degree aimed at graduates of leadership potential with at least three to five years of relevant experience. The course focuses on issues of leadership and management, and delivers a world-class and interdisciplinary education that is not available elsewhere.

The course is based at the University's Department of Geography. Unique among graduate courses in conservation in the UK and globally, the course is delivered in collaboration with biodiversity conservation organisation partners in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), who provide more than 50% of the lectures as well as hosting group and individual projects. The course also benefits from teaching from multiple university departments that are affiliated to the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute. The Masters in Conservation Leadership has a dedicated teaching room within the David Attenborough Building, offering the students unrivalled access to world-leading conservation practitioners and researchers.

# How drones can save UK forests

Steve Boreham

Dr Steve Boreham, Geographical Services Officer for the Department of Geography, explains how drones are changing data collection from different landscapes in his new article How Drones Can Save the UK's Forests, published by Geographical.

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# Historic building activity in Europe mirrors plague outbreaks and food prices

With the help of almost 50,000 precisely dated pieces of construction timber, researchers, including the Department's Professor Ulf Büntgen, have for the first time reconstructed variations in the intensity of building activity in Europe from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. A comparison of the building history with plague epidemic and food price data revealed that decreases in building activity coincided with larger plague outbreaks and higher food prices. The results have just been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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# Ruth Massey and Charlotte Lemanski at Royal Geographical Society Conference

Drs Ruth Massey and Charlotte Lemanski attended the Royal Georgaphical Society 2018 conference in Cardiff (28-31 August), and presented their current work in the 'Urban Energy Landscapes in the Global South' session.

Ruth spoke about strategies to deliver energy innovation to low-income housing settlements. Using examples from fieldwork in Cape Town, South Africa, the presentation highlighted the ways in which partnerships and networks between key stakeholders (public, private, community) comprise a form of infrastructure in itself, but one that is frequently overlooked. As a consequence of ignoring the importance of building partnerships between those involved in devising, delivering and using energy interventions for low-income housing, the long-term sustainability of interventions is compromised.

These findings comprises part of Charlotte Lemanski's British Academy Cities and Infrastructure Grant on Energy Innovation for low-income housing in India and South Africa.

# New paper: The double crisis: in what sense a regional problem?

A new paper from Dr Mia Gray, published in the journal Regional Studies, calls for regional studies scholars to explore new growth models to solve economic and environmental issues.

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# New paper: Sonic refugia: nature, noise abatement and landscape design in West Berlin

The Department's Dr Sandra Jasper has a new paper published in the Journal of Architecture, Sonic refugia: nature, noise abatement and landscape design in West Berlin. The paper explores how West Berlin landscape designers used planting to prevent noise pollution.

Read more …

# How do salt marshes cope with storm surges?

An international team of researchers, led by Dr Iris Möller of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, are conducting a unique experiment into how salt marshes cope with storm surges using the Large Wave Flume, a joint facility of Leibniz University Hannover and TU Braunschweig. Researchers will expose various salt marsh plants and sediment samples to large waves and storm surges.

Salt marshes occur on shallow coasts influenced by tides. They provide a habitat for adapted plants and animals, protect the coast, and contribute to climate protection as they store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, if storm surges occur more frequently due to climate change, the system might become imbalanced and lose its protective function for the coast.

The project is led by the University of Cambridge (UK), in collaboration with Universität Hamburg (Germany), TU Braunschweig (Germany), University of Antwerp (Belgium), as well as the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

You can find out more about the experiment at the Salt Marshes Under Extreme Waves blog.

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# Lightning Rods, Earthquakes, and Regional Identities: Towards a Multi‐Scale Framework of Assessing Fracking Risk Perception

Jamie Pollard

Congratulations to PhD student Jamie Pollard, who has had his undergraduate dissertation (first written in 2016) published as a paper in the journal Risk Analysis. The paper, Lightning Rods, Earthquakes, and Regional Identities: Towards a Multi‐Scale Framework of Assessing Fracking Risk Perception, looks at causes of, and responses to, controversy around fracking.

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# Non-traditional data and innovative methods for autumn climate change ecology

A new paper from Professor Ulf Büntgen and Dr Paul Krusic presents innovative methodologies and data sets from recent research around big game hunting, tree-ring formation, and mushroom fruiting. These could assist with monitoring how ecosystems are affected by a changing autumnal climate.

The full article is published in Climate Research.

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# Professor Tom Spencer on the need for different types of sea defences in the face of climate change

Professor Tom Spencer, from the Department's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, has had a letter published in the Guardian, calling for a wider and more integrated discussion around different types of sea defences in the face of rising sea levels and stormier conditions.

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# Size matters: if you are a bubble of volcanic gas

Professor Clive Oppenheimer. Kīlauea eruption, 2018

A team of researchers, including Professor Clive Oppenheimer, has found that the chemical composition of gases emitted from volcanoes – which are used to monitor changes in volcanic activity – can change depending on the size of gas bubbles rising to the surface, and relate to the way in which they erupt. The results, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, could be used to improve the forecasting of threats posed by certain volcanoes.

The story has received coverage from a number of organisations, including Chemical and Engineering News, Science Daily, and the Daily Mail.

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# 'Public Policies and the Challenge of Equality in Diversity' in Ecuador

Sarah Radcliffe, Professor of Latin American Geography, recently organised a workshop on 'Public Policies and the Challenge of Equality in Diversity' in Ecuador. The Minister for Economic and Social Inclusion, Dra Berenice Cordero, opened the event, and senior public officials presented current public policies for equality, and discussed the challenges, throughout the day. The workshop was organised as part of a British Academy-Isaac Newton Trust research project entitled 'Learning to Leave No One Behind: tracking intersectional inequalities through Ecuador's Buen Vivir public policy' (2016-2018).

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# Ragnhild Dale wins Public Engagement with Research Award

Congratulations to PhD student Ragnhild Dale (SPRI), who has been awarded a Vice Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Award.

Dale was a researcher and assistant director on a three-day staging of a mock trial version of the ground-breaking lawsuit over Arctic oil, where Norwegian environmental organisations Greenpeace and Nature and Youth are suing the Norwegian Government for allegedly allowing unconstitutional oil exploration in the Barents Sea. The project, "Trial of the Century", invited expert witnesses from academia, industry and NGOs to testify in the production in Kirkenes, bringing the drama of the trial directly to the people who live and work in the north.

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# Dr Maan Barua on BBC Radio 4 Natural Histories

Dr Maan Barua has appeared on BBC Radio 4's Natural Histories programme on peacocks, discussing the history and significance of the birds in India. Starts at 24m12s.

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# Polar Encounters - SPRI's exhibition of polar art opens today in London

SPRI Art Collection - Pitseolak Ashoona 1969 - winter camp scene

Polar Encounters, an exhibition of 200 years of polar art featuring work from the SPRI art collection and by the Friends of SPRI artists in residence, is open at Bonhams in London.

This free exhibition brings together European and Inuit artworks from the last two centuries to explore the Arctic, and eight of our recent artists in residence have their bold new works on show from both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

The exhibition is open Monday-Friday, 10-4 at Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London from 30 July - 17 August.

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# Professor Philip Gibbard on BBC World Service discussing Meghalayan Age

Figure Caption:  Portion of Indian stalagmite that was sectioned and analysed layer by layer, and contains the layers chosen to define the beginning of the Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, 4200 years ago. Credit: IUGS

Professor Philip Gibbard has appeared on the BBC World Service discussing the newly- ratified Meghalayan Age. The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale, began at the time when agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago. Listen to Professor Gibbard's World Service interview (starts at 48:30).

The story has been covered by many other outlets, including Newsweek, The Hindustan Times, The Better India, the Daily Mail and Science News.

# New paper: Big Data Approaches for coastal flood risk assessment and emergency response

CCRU's Jamie Pollard and Professor Tom Spencer have published a new paper in WIRES Climate Change that discusses the potential for Big Data Approaches to address the challenges of flood risk assessment and emergency response.

Big Data Approaches (BDAs) refers to the combined use of historic datasets, incoming data streams, and the array of related technologies designed to shed new light on societal and environmental complexities through novel organisational, storage and analytical capabilities.

Two branches of coastal flood risk management are considered. Firstly, coastal flood risk assessment, focusing on better characterisation of hazard sources, facilitative pathways and vulnerable receptors. Secondly, flood emergency response procedures, focusing on forecasting of flooding events, dissemination of warnings and response monitoring.

While these BDAs offer opportunities for improved decision making in varied aspects of both decision chains, they are also accompanied by specific technical contextual, institutional and behavioural barriers. These barriers must be overcome if the BDAs outlined here are to practically and genuinely inform coastal flood risk management.

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# Charlotte Lemanski plenary speaker at Summer Institute in Urban Studies in Singapore

Dr Charlotte Lemanski contributed a plenary talk on 'urban infrastructures' at the Summer Institute in Urban Studies 2018, held at the National University of Singapore, 15-18 July.

She spoke about her research on infrastructural citizenship, sharing the plenary with Prof Jane M. Jacobs (NUS-Yale) who spoke about her work on infrastructure production in Singapore's public housing programme.

This is the 4th Summer Institute in Urban Studies, providing an opportunity for early-career scholars to investigate leading-edge theoretical and methodological questions in the field of urban studies.

# PhD student Morgan Seag working to improve diversity and inclusion in polar research

(Image on slide from US Navy)

PhD student Morgan Seag is working to improve diversity and inclusion in polar research. She was one of several Cambridge geographers attending POLAR2018 last month, a conference of 2500 researchers, science supporters, and policymakers working on the Arctic, Antarctic and global cryosphere. The conference featured a 300-person luncheon and panel discussion on gender equality, titled "From Entering the Field to Taking the Helm, Women's Perspectives on Polar Research." Morgan sat on the panel of five alongside researchers and institutional leaders from several countries. Panelists explored the accomplishments, challenges, and prospects for women in the field, discussing the experience of women at all career stages and emphasizing the need for greater inclusion of LGBTQ+ researchers, indigenous women, and women of color. The discussion integrated both personal experiences and cutting-edge research to highlight productive paths toward a stronger and more inclusive future for polar research.

Morgan is continuing to work on these issues through her PhD research in the department; as a Council member for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists; and through international research and policy collaborations.

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# Dr Richard Powell summoned as witness before Environmental Audit Committee

In July 2018, Dr Richard Powell appeared as a witness before the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Changing Arctic, to provide expertise in UK Arctic social sciences and humanities and advise on formation of UK Arctic research and policy.

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# Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geological Time Scale

The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, newly-ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale, began at the time when agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago.

Agriculture-based societies developed in several regions after the end of the last glaciation, but experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling around 4200 years ago. This 200-year climatic event affected agricultural societies that formed after the last Ice Age, forcing the collapse of civilizations and migrations and regenerations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley. Evidence of this period, now called the 4.2 kiloyear climatic event, has been found on all seven continents.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is responsible for standardising the Geological Time Scale, approved the definition of the beginning of the youngest unit of the Geological Time Scale based on the timing of this event. Furthermore, it approved proposals for two other ages: the Middle Holocene Northgrippian Age and the Early Holocene Greenlandian Age with beginnings defined at climatic events that happened about 8,300 years and 11,700 years ago, respectively. The three ages comprise the Holocene Epoch, which represents the time since the end of the last Ice Age. The Commission then forwarded these proposals to its parent body, the IUGS, for consideration, and the executive committee of IUGS voted unanimously to ratify them.

This is a key achievement for the International Union of Geological Sciences and particularly for its Commission on Stratigraphy, of which Professor Philip Gibbard of the University of Cambridge is Secretary General and participating member.

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# New paper: When defining boundaries for nexus analysis, let the data speak

A new paper on the water- energy-food nexus by PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh, Professor Keith Richards, and Dr Mike Bithell has been published by the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling.

Read Oliver's blog about the research.

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# Seminar: Tidal flat morphodynamics: Sediment sorting, self-weight consolidation and marsh distribution'

Biogeography & Biogeomorphology Research Group summer seminar

Thursday 19th July 11:00-12:00, Department of Geography Seminar Room, All welcome!

Dr Zeng Zhou, Associate Professor in Coastal Geomorphology
Hohai University, Nanjing, China

Dr Zeng Zhou is a coastal geomorphologist focusing on the (bio-)physical mechanisms underlying the formation and evolution of coastal and estuarine landscapes. He is currently entering the field of coastal biomorphodynamics, with a particular focus on tidal flat systems where tidal channel networks and salt marshes are commonly present. Recently, he is leading a small group of young researchers and graduate students to explore some interesting questions using various approaches e.g. field and laboratory experiments, numerical modelling and UAV imagery. His group aims to gain fundamental insight into the biophysical effects of salt marshes (and biofilms) and their two-way interactions with coastal and estuarine morphology, so as to evaluate and predict the response of tidal flats, channels and marshes to climate change (e.g. sea level rise, increasing frequency of storms) and human activities (e.g. large-scale reclamation, nearshore fishery).

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# How strong a storm destroys protective coastal marshes?

The new NERC-funded RESIST project, led by the Department's Iris Möller, will investigate resistance of coastal salt marshes to extreme storms. Salt marshes contribute to the wave buffering function of shallow water regions on the coast, thus acting as a first line of defence against storm surge waves. Their buffering role protects shorelines from the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise and stormier seas. However, little is known about how resistant these buffers are to continued battering by waves and tidal currents. The project will supply the first ever data on the resistance of marsh structures to waves, showing which soil and plant types cause greater or lesser stability. The team will be able use the data to create a "physical vulnerability index" of coastal wetlands.

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# The Changing Arctic?

Geographer Richard Powell will appear today, 11 July 2018, as a witness before the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Changing Arctic. The inquiry is assessing the UK Government's Arctic policy, and examining whether the UK, as one of the Arctic's nearest neighbours, should be doing more to protect this vulnerable region. Richard will provide expertise in UK Arctic social sciences and humanities and advise on formation of UK Arctic research and policy.

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# Congratulations to Han Cheng on receiving the RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant 2018

Congratulations to PhD student Han Cheng, who has been awarded the 2018 RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant for PhD fieldwork for his project " Producing International Development Knowledges: China Agricultural University", looking at Chinese international development partnerships in Tanzania and India.

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# World Dendro Conference 2018

The 2018 International Tree-ring Conference, World Dendro 2018, was recently held in Thimphu, Bhutan. The Department's Paul Krusic, Ulf Buentgen, and Clive Oppenheimer all attended and spoke.

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# Papa Momodou Jack's research will focus on access to healthcare in Ethiopia.

Papa Momodou Jack, a Gates Cambridge Scholar who will start his PhD with the Department this October, discusses his research on access to healthcare in Ethiopia, which will focus on Community-Based Health Insurance.

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# Phil Gibbard retirement symposium

A one-day symposium is being held on Monday 10 September to celebrate the retirement of Professor Phil Gibbard. This symposium will be hosted by the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Speakers include Maria Fernanda Sánchez Goñi, Kim Cohen and Thomas Litt.

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# Lessons learnt from 100 years of coastal flooding in the UK with Professor Ivan Haigh- Monday 25th June 2018

Biogeography and Biogeomorphology Research Group- Easter Term Seminar

Join Professor Haigh (Associate Professor in Coastal Oceanography, University of Southampton) for a seminar on "Lessons learnt from 100 years of coastal flooding in the UK".

Mon 25 June, 12 noon-1pm

Room 101, Hardy Building, Downing Site

Please see attached poster for further information.


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# New book: A French Reading Revolution?

Book cover (RBS IBG)

A new book from Dr Alan Baker, A French Reading Revolution? The Development, Distribution and Cultural Significance of Bibliothèques populaires, 1860–1900, explores the history, geography and cultural significance of library associations in France. Portrayal of the general situation in France as a whole is paralleled by detailed work on the unpublished archives of nine départements widely located throughout the country.

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# Long-term recruitment dynamics of Arctic dwarf shrub communities in coastal east Greenland

Cambridge's Tree-Ring Group, led by Prof. Ulf Büntgen from the Department of Geography, as well as colleagues from Germany (Freiburg) and Switzerland (Birmensdorf), published a pioneering study on long-term recruitment dynamics of Arctic dwarf shrub communities in the journal Dendrochronologia.
After conducting fieldwork in coastal east Greenland, the team now presents, for the first time, the combined anatomical and morphological evidence of eight of the most widespread Arctic dwarf shrub species. The authors therefore compiled and analysed 1432 stem disc samples from two regions in coastal east Greenland ~70-73 °N and ~21-23 °W. Their results are of great interest to a wide readership since understanding and reconstructing the high temperature-dependency of Arctic vegetation dynamics appears beneficial for a wide range of timely aspects in functional ecology and biogeography, as well as ecosystem modelling, well beyond the geographical limits of tree growth.
Encouraged by their new findings, Cambridge's Tree-Ring Group will continue to expand their fieldwork beyond forests.

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# Tidings of joy

Photo: Pei Rong Cheo

Pei Rong Cheo, who is studying for an MPhil in Conservation Leadership with the Department, tells us about her citizen science programme, which trains volunteers to monitor marine life.

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# Professor Bhaskar Vira presented with Busk Medal

Royal Geographical Society

Professor Bhaskar Vira recieved the Royal Geographical Society's Busk Medal on Monday (04 June 2018), at a ceremony at Lowther Lodge. Professor Vira was presented with the award for interdisciplinary research on economy, environment and development.

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# World Dendro Conference 2018 (2nd-22nd June)

The 10th World Dendro Conference, which is this year organised by the University of Cambridge Geography Department, begins next week in Bhutan. The Department's Paul Krusic, Ulf Buentgen, and Clive Oppenheimer will all be speaking.

Tickets are sold out, but watch this space for videos and news from the conference.

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# New: Infrastructural Geographies Blog

We are pleased to announce that the Infrastructural Geographies Research Group have launched a new blog, Via.

The blog will keep you updated of the goings-on in the research group, and highlight and debate the wide-range of approaches to the concept of
"infrastructure" the group covers.

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# Framing the Challenge of Climate Change in Nature and Science Editorials

A team of researchers led by the Department's Professor Mike Hulme have released a new paper, "Framing the Challenge of Climate Change in Nature and Science Editorials".

The study analyses 50 years (1966-2016) of editorials dealing with climate change in the prestige science journals Science and Nature. It reveals the changing ways over time these journals have framed the challenges of climate change. Science initially framed climate change more narrowly as a science and technology challenge, whilst Nature also looked at the broader institutional and political dimensions.Both journals recognise its growing urgency.

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# CRASSH Faculty Research Group funds for GENUS

Dr Lemanski has successfully received funds to run a CRASSH Faculty Research Group for the 2018-19 academic year, for the newly-launched Global Energy Nexus in Urban Settlements research group (GENUS). The funds will enable GENUS to meet regularly, to invite outside speakers, consolidate existing links, and extend their interests to new scholars and research projects.

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# Controls can help prevent hunting having an evolutionary impact

Reto Barblan, Bergün

An international team of researchers, including the Department's Professor Ulf Büntgen, studied the hunting of Alpine ibex, finding that due to tight regulations the hunting wasn't causing an evolutionary effect. Whilst ibex with longer than average horns are more likely to be shot than animals of the same age with shorter horns, tight hunting regulations meant that hunters tend to shoot as few animals as possible, and so too few are taken to cause an evolutionary effect.

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# Dr Lemanski awarded British Academy 'Writing Workshops' grant

Dr Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded a British Academy Writing Workshop Award, to run a workshop on 'Governing for Urban Inclusion' in collaboration with Dr Richard Ballard from the Gauteng City Regional Observatory in South Africa.

The workshop will take place towards the end of 2018 in Johannesburg, and will enable early-career scholars situated in South Africa to receive academic support in developing an article for submission to an international peer-review journal, as well as advice related to securing grants, and developing policy-briefs related to research.

# 2018 Open Days

The 2018 Department of Geography Open Days will take place on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th July.

Come along and find out what it is like to study with us!

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# Former PhD publishes University of California Press book

University of California Press

Tara P Cookson, who was a PhD student in Geography 2011-2015, has published her doctoral research with University of California Press. Unjust Conditions follows the lives and labors of poor mothers in rural Peru, richly documenting the ordeals they face to participate in mainstream poverty alleviation programs. With a focus on ethnographic research, Tara Cookson looks at women's care work in landscapes of grossly inadequate state investment, drawing out the tensions between social inclusion and conditionality.

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# Drs Ian Willis and Alison Banwell awarded Fellowships at the University of Colorado Boulder

Becky Goodsell

Ian Willis and Alison Banwell have been awarded, respectively, a 1-year sabbatical fellowship and a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship to undertake collaborative work with Waleed Abdalati and Michael Willis (no relation!) at the Co-operative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. They will advance their current work investigating the surface hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the surface hydrology and stability of Antarctic ice shelves.

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# New book: A Companion to Environmental Studies

A new student reference book has just been published by Routledge, 'A companion to environmental studies', edited by Mike Hulme, together with Noel Castree and Jim Proctor. The book presents a comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview of around 150 key issues, debates, concepts, approaches and questions that together define environmental studies today. The volume covers approaches from environmental and social science, all the way through to humanistic and post-natural perspectives on the biophysical world.

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# New interdisciplinary research group on energy and cities launched

A new inter-disciplinary research group 'Global Energy Nexus in Urban Settlements' that brings together colleagues from Engineering, Architecture, Geography and the Judge Business School has launched. This is based in the Infrastructural Geographies Research Group, with Dr Charlotte Lemanski as the geography lead.

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# Geographies of Knowledge annual lecture: Esther Turnhout, 10th May

Professor Esther Turnhout, Professor in forest and nature conservation policy, Wageningen University, will be speaking on "Space of Biodiversity Expertise" for the Geographies of Knowledge group's annual lecture.

In this talk, Esther explores a number of sites where biodiversity expertise is produced. These will include examples in the Netherlands and draw on her experiences as an expert and lead author for the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Particular focus will be on two interrelated logics that are prominent in biodiversity expertise: that of policy relevance and that of assessment. Esther's argument is that these two logics together prioritise model projections over other forms of expertise. The lecture concludes by discussing the scope for doing things differently and breaking through dominant logics.

4.30pm-5.30pm, Thursday 10th May 2018
Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

# Professor Bhaskar Vira awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Busk Medal

Nick Saffell

Congratulations to Professor Bhaskar Vira, who has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Busk Medal in recognition of his interdisciplinary research on economy, environment and development. The medal will be presented on 4 June as part of the Society's Annual General Meeting in London.

Bhaskar Vira is Professor of Political Economy at the Department of Geography, and Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, and interdisciplinary research centre looking at biodiversity.

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# Dr Somaiyeh Falahat releases new book "Cities and Metaphors".

Dr Somaiyeh Falahat has released a new book Cities and Metaphors. Introducing a new concept of urban space,the book encourages a theoretical realignment of how the city is experienced, thought and discussed.

Dr Falahat is currently a Feodor-Lynen research fellow at Department of Geography and a research associate at Trinity Hall college, University of Cambridge. Her recent research explores milieus of urban modernity in the early 20th century Tehran.

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# Professor Mike Hulme on "The Climate Fetish"

Professor Mike Hulme discusses "The Climate Fetish" on the Australian Science Friction radio show on national station ABC.

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# Book launch for Mathilda Rosengren


Rethinking Urban Nature PhD candidate, Mathilda Rosengren has a new book out published by transcript. Urban Appropriation Strategies – Exploring Space-making Practices in Contemporary European Cityscapes edited by Flavia Alice Mameli, Franziska Polleter, Mathilda Rosengren, Josefine Sarkez-Knudsen, builds on their work from the University of Kassel workshop.

In the past years, the transiency of European city-making and dwelling has become increasingly hard to disregard. This urban flux calls for a methodological rethinking for those professionals, social and natural scientists, artists, and activists, with an interest in the processes of remaking and reclaiming urban space. With a practical and empirical emphasis, this anthology brings forth a variety of perspectives on urban appropriation strategies, their relation to public space-making, and their implications for future city development – exploring how ideas and practices of appropriation inform and relate to cultural narratives, politico-historical occasions as well as socio-ecological expressions.

With contributions by: Malte Bergmann & Laura Kemmer, Greta Colombo & Lorenza Manfredi, Jan Edler, Natalie Fari, Matthew Gandy, Anette Geiger & Stefanie Hennecke, Rabea Haß, Toby Austin Locke, Ralf Pasel-Krautheim, Tilman Reinhardt & Beatrice Walthall, and Anja Schwanhäußer.

With the kind support from: Rethinking Urban Nature (European Research Council), the Patrum Lumen Sustine Foundation and the Åke Wibergs Stiftelse.

The book launch will take place on 22. May 2018 – 20.30 at Pro qm Berlin

Further details

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# Research Assistant/Associate in Remote Sensing of Forests

Applications are invited for a Research Assistant/ Research Associate to work under the direction of Dr Gareth Rees, for a British Council funded research project mapping the distribution and spatial characteristics of forests in northern Russia, using remote sensing techniques.

The closing date for applications is 25th May 2018.

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# Major research project planned into collapse of the Thwaites Glacier

Dr Poul Christoffersen will co-lead one of eight projects in a new joint UK-US research programme, that is one of the most detailed and extensive examinations of a massive Antarctic glacier ever undertaken. Dr Christoffersen's project, Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution (TIME), will investigate how the margins of the Thwaites Glacier drainage basin will evolve and influence ice flow over the coming decades.

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# Professor Julian Dowdeswell elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales

Congratulations to Professor Julian Dowdeswell on being elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Fellows to the Society are elected in recognition of academic excellence.

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# The surprising geography of smallpox in England before vaccination: a conundrum resolved

Sources visible in Appendix 1, Table S1, of the article, available at

A new paper by CAMPOP members, Romola Davenport, Max Satchell and Leigh Shaw-Taylor, demonstrates a strong north-south divide in the impact of smallpox in Britain before vaccination. Mining c. 7 million burial records for evidence of smallpox deaths, the study established that smallpox was an endemic childhood disease in northern Britain, but remained a relatively rare epidemic disease affecting adults as well as children in southern England. This was an unexpected finding, because compared to most of Britain southern England was relatively densely settled and economically developed with good transport connections, factors expected to promote disease circulation.

The study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, provided evidence that very local public health initiatives in southern England, especially in the form of isolation of sufferers in pest houses, and later mass immunisation, were the main factors in establishing the north-south pattern. This study demonstrates the surprising efficacy of uncoordinated and small-scale interventions to control the most lethal disease of eighteenth century Europe.

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# Cambridge top for Geography & Environmental Science in the Complete University Guide 2019

We are pleased to announce that the University of Cambridge has again come top for Geography and Environmental Science in the Complete University Guide 2019. The University has ranked top for Geography since 2009.

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# Launch of Charlotte Lemanski's 'Energy innovation in low-cost housing' project, at IIHS: Bangalore

Dr Lemanski's British Academy grant on 'Energy innovation in government-supported housing in India and South Africa' launched with a two-day workshop (24-25 April) hosted by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements in Bangalore.

The workshop was attended by energy entrepreneurs, government officials, housing developers and community representatives from Bangalore. In addition, IIHS Director, Aromar Ravi, gave a talk to open the second day.

Several Cambridge academics also attended to support the launch - Dr Ruth Massey (geography, postdoctoral fellow working on the project); Dr Ruchi Choudhary (engineering, co-investigator on the project); Dr Anika Haque (architecture, post-doctoral fellow); and Mr Andre Neto-Bradley (PhD student in engineering).

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# Sluggish North Atlantic ocean circulation caused heat waves over Europe some 12,000 years ago

R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Science/USGCRP

A new study published this week investigates how the strong cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean impacted the European climate around 12,000 years ago.

The findings support the new idea that a cooling down of the North Atlantic and the associated weakening of surface water circulation could be an important driver of European heat waves and droughts even today. The results could help scientists predict how climate change will exacerbate European heat waves and droughts in the future as the North Atlantic cools in response to the influx of meltwater from the Greenland Ice Sheet due to global warming.

The research was conducted by a team of researchers from nine institutions including Dr Francesco Muschitiello from the Department of Geography, and have been published in Nature Communications.

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# New interactive website,, now live!, a new online interactive Atlas of Victorian and Edwardian Population, is now live!

Explore regional and local variations in a range of demographic and household indicators and how these changed between 1851 and 1911, zoom in to focus on particular areas, compare two maps side-by-side, and download the underlying data much of which has been calculated from individual level census data. More resources will be added over the coming months.

Created by a team led by Dr Alice Reid of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (Campop) at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, with help from colleagues at the Universities of Essex and Leicester and funding from the ESRC and the Isaac Newton Trust. The site coding was implemented by Geography's own Webmaster.

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# The major barriers to evidence-informed conservation policy and possible solutions

Reproduced under a CC-BY licence, Rose et al., 2018,

A new paper produced by various partners across the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, including the Department of Geography, has identified the top barriers to evidence-informed conservation policy and possible solutions.

Based on a global survey of 758 people in policy, research, or practice positions across 68 countries in six languages, we found that barriers related to the low priority of conservation on the policy agenda were ranked most highly. Highly ranked solutions related to the need to mainstream conservation, for example the need to convince the public about the importance of conservation, so that policy-makers would adopt pro-environmental long-term policies.

The optimistic message is that there seems to be agreement between different groups about what the problems and solutions are - so time to put solutions into practice!

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# Subglacial lakes discovered under Devon Island ice cap

Professor Julian Dowdeswell

A new study of the Devon Island ice cap, led by a team from the University of Alberta, has discovered two subglacial bodies of water. These are the first subglacial lakes to be observed in the Canadian Arctic, and are estimated to cover areas of five and eight square kilometres respectively.

The findings, co-authored by Director of The Scott Polar Research Institute Professor Julian Dowdeswell, have been published in Science Advances

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# Oliver Taherzadeh receives CSAR award in recognition of research impact

Oliver Taherzadeh, a second year PhD student in the Department of Geography, has received an award from The Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) in recognition of the real world impact of his research. Oliver was one of ten PhD students from the University to receive the award from a total of 165 applicants.

Oliver's research, funded by the Vice-Chancellor's Award (Cambridge Trust), attempts to understand how resource stocks, flows, and decisions connect different actors within the global economy. The insights from this work will provide an evidence base for policy measures to improve management of water, land, and climate risks in major production and consumption systems. Oliver is supervised by Dr Mike Bithell and Professor Keith Richards within the Department of Geography.

The winners were presented with their awards by Prof. Andrew Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge. The ceremony took place in early April at The Old Combination Room in The Old Schools. The awards winners also had the opportunity to meet with the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Troope.

CSAR is a charity and exists to encourage an appreciation of the application of research through lectures, visits, the CSAR PhD student awards and outreach to schools. It is independent of the university but maintains close links and since its inception in 1964, CSAR has helped to further the dissemination and impact of research within the University in policy, industry, and across civil society.

Using the CSAR award grant, Oliver plans to develop an online impact appraisal and decision support tool to enable individuals, sectors, and governments to assess (and minimise) the environmental impacts arising from their consumption.

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# Scientific expedition to the Larsen C Ice Shelf

A planned scientific expedition to the Antarctic to visit and study the Larsen C Ice Shelf - and explore the area where Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship was last seen - will be led by Professor Julian Dowdeswell next year.

Professor Dowdeswell, Director of the Institute and Professor of Physical Geography, will lead the international Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 next spring. It will bring together leading researchers from the Institute as well as the Nekton Foundation, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, the University of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Professor Dowdeswell explained that the expedition will survey the underside of the iceshelf using underwater submersibles, to ascertain whether conditions leading to the calving of an enormous iceberg from Larsen C in 2017 means that the shelf may collapse: "Iceshelves butress the interior of the Antarctic icesheet, they effectively act to hold back the ice that flows from the interior of the Antarctic to the edge. They are in some senses vulnerable because not only can they lose mass by the production of icebergs at their edge but also because they're floating, beneath they have ocean water flowing in and that ocean water can lead to meltrates at the base of a number of metres per year and this is what's been happening to some areas of Antarctica."

Further coverage also features on BBC News, Telegraph and Independent websites.

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# Natura Urbana at Achtung Berlin Film Festival

Natura Urbana – The Brachen of Berlin will be screened at the Achtung Berlin film festival on Thursday 12th April and Saturday 14th April. The film was developed by the Department's Professor Matthew Gandy and Dr Sandra Jasper.

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# Department of Geography at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)


Several staff, postdocs, PhD students and research associates within the Department of Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute will be showcasing their research at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) 8-13 April 2018, the largest geosciences meeting in Europe.

Details of the presentations and our research groups are available.

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# New article: The Limits of the Livable City: From Homo Sapiens to Homo Cappuccino

A new article, The Limits of the Livable City: From Homo Sapiens to Homo Cappuccino from the Department's Dr Maroš Krivý, authored with architect Leonard Ma, is now available in the Avery Review.

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# Inuit Visions of the Polar World

Dr Michael Bravo will be running an interactive talk, Inuit Visions of the Polar World, at the Heong Gallery, Downing College.

The talk will take place at 6pm, on Thursday 10 May 2018. Please register if you would like to attend.

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# Sandra Jasper awarded Graham Foundation Grant

Congratulations to Dr Sandra Jasper, who has been awarded a grant from The Graham Foundation for her book project "Experimental Fields: A Cultural History of West Berlin".

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# Rethinking Urban Nature team at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2018

The Rethinking Urban Nature project team will be at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting 10-14 April 2018, New Orleans, USA.

Read the full details of their sessions.

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# Pani, Pahar: Waters of the Himalayas photography exhibition goes on display in Delhi

Toby Smith

The Pani Pahar: Waters of the Himalayas photography exhibition, based on Department of Geography research in India and Nepal, is now on display in the Jor Bagh Metro Station and India Habitat Centre, both in Delhi.

This photography exhibition is based on research on land-use and development in the lower Himalayas. It shows how environmental and social changes are impacting the ways in which small towns throughout the region source and distribute water.

The research has tried to understand the connections between changes in land-use and management that impact on the water-bearing capacity of landscape in these mountainous regions, and the availability of water. The interdependence of people and ecological processes across these incredible landscapes creates a complex and fascinating story in which sustainable development must be realised.

Four different themes emerged from the study; change and transformation around water sources; the growing visibility and rapid pace of urbanisation; the ebbs, flows and characteristics of seasonality that affect both social and ecological systems; and, the ways in which physical, social and political infrastructures are being built, transformed and consolidated at this time of rapid change.

The project was produced by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with The Centre for Ecology Development and Research in India (CEDAR) and Southasia Institute for Advanced Studies in Nepal (SIAS). It combines academic research led by Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs with contemporary imagery by photojournalist Toby Smith.

Funding for this project was received from the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, and from the University of Cambridge ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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# Viennese whirl at the CCRU

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit is once again making a strong showing at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) 8-13 April 2018, the largest geosciences meeting in Europe (the 2017 meeting featured 14,000 participants and >17,000 presentations).

Inbetween the coffees and the sachertorte, the Unit's staff, postdocs, PhD students and research associates will be delivering five presentations across biogeomorphology; ecosystem-based approaches to coastal Disaster Risk reduction; natural hazards in estuaries and coasts; and measuring, monitoring and modelling sedimentary and hydro-morphological processes.

Full details of the presentations can be found on the Unit's website.

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# Volcanic eruption influenced Iceland's conversion to Christianity

Clive Oppenheimer

New research from medieval historians and scientists, including the Department of Geography's Professor Clive Oppenheimer, finds that memories of a rare Icelandic lava flood influenced Iceland's conversion to Christianity.

A team of scientists and medieval historians, led by the University of Cambridge, has used information contained within ice cores and tree rings to accurately date a massive volcanic eruption, which took place soon after the island was first settled.

Having dated the eruption, the researchers found that Iceland's most celebrated medieval poem, which describes the end of the pagan gods and the coming of a new, singular god, describes the eruption and uses memories of it to stimulate the Christianisation of Iceland. The results are reported in the journal Climatic Change.

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# New papers: Resilience increasing strategies for coasts

Elizabeth Christie

Research by Elizabeth Christie, Tom Spencer, Anna McIvor and Iris Mӧller has been published in a Special Issue of 'Coastal Engineering' on Resilience Increasing Strategies for Coasts from the EU FP7 RISC-Kit project.

This Special Issue features 21 papers on methods and case studies around Europe, including 3 papers from the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit:

Regional Coastal flood risk assessment for a tidally dominant, natural coastal setting: North Norfolk, southern North Sea. This paper describes the application and development of a coastal risk assessment framework for the North Norfolk Coast. The framework links spatial varying hazards from coastal storm events and vulnerability at the coast to allow 'hotspots' of risk to be identified.

Historical Analysis of storm events: Case studies in France, England, Portugal and Italy. This paper studies the occurrence and damage intensity of coastal storms from The Middle Ages to the 1960s using historic archives. This enables us to better understand the risks, and thus contribute to potentially reduce vulnerability to extreme storm events by showing lessons learned.

A Bayesian Network approach for coastal risk analysis and decision making. This paper develops a Bayesian Network approach to support decision making in coastal risk management and describes the application to a small town in North Norfolk. The Bayesian Network tool can be used to both predict potential damage from a given storm event, and to evaluate the effects of potential disaster risk reduction measures

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# ERC Arctic Cultures Post-docs

Sir Cam

Dr. Richard Powell is recruiting FOUR three-year Postdoctoral Research Associates (PDRAs) to work on the ERC Consolidator Grant project, ARCTIC CULT (Arctic Cultures: Sites of Collection in the Formation of the European and American Northlands) to start in October 2018. Further details are available online. The closing date is 30th April 2018.

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# Inuit Trails

Perry Hastings/Downing College

Dr Michael Bravo's Pan Inuit Trails project, which maps part of the extensive trail network used for Inuit travel across the North American continent, is featured in the Guardian article 'Counter-mapping: cartography that lets the powerless speak'.

You can find out more about the project at

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# New paper: Cities in deep time: Bio-diversity, metabolic rift, and the urban question

Tempelhof, Berlin (2015) Matthew Gandy

Matthew Gandy's new paper Cities in deep time: Bio-diversity, metabolic rift, and the urban question has been published open access in City.

The paper asks how should we interpret the relationship between urbanization and the loss of bio-diversity? The discourse of bio-diversity serves as a critical lens through which the accelerating momentum of 'metabolic rift' can be explored in relation to contemporary mass extinction. But what is the precise role of cities within what has been referred to as the 'sixth extinction' facing the history of the earth? Are cities to be subsumed within a broader environmentalist critique of modernity or can they serve as the focal point for alternative cultural, political, and scientific interventions? This article suggests that the distinction between cities and broader processes of urbanization remains significant for a more critically engaged reading of the politics of the biosphere. Indeed, an overemphasis on 'methodological globalism' risks obscuring the differences that matter in the articulation of alternative modernities. In particular, we consider how the relationship between cities and 'deep time' can be conceptualized as a focal point for the interpretation of global environmental change.

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# Chain reaction of fast-draining lakes poses new risk for Greenland ice sheet

Timo Lieber

A growing network of lakes on the Greenland ice sheet has been found to drain in a chain reaction that speeds up the flow of the ice sheet, threatening its stability.

Researchers from the SPRI and others across the UK, Norway, US and Sweden have used a combination of 3D computer modelling and real-world observations to show the previously unknown, yet profound dynamic consequences tied to a growing number of lakes forming on the Greenland ice sheet.

Read the full paper in Nature Communications.

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# Postcolonial perspectives on urban epidemiology

Join us on Thursday 26th April 2018, 11:00 – 18:00, Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography.

Recent outbreaks of dengue fever, zika, ebola, and other diseases remind us that the urban landscapes of late modernity and processes of urbanization provide fresh opportunities for pathogenic agents and disease vectors. At the same time, long-standing colonial imaginaries of tropical environments, racialized bodies, and pathways of contagion continue to delineate technological, spatial, and regulatory norms as well as quotidian encounters. This workshop seeks to build an interdisciplinary conversation about urban infectious and epidemic disease through a postcolonial lens, probing how the material, spatial, and political landscapes of colonial and postcolonial modernity inform ongoing vulnerabilities, multi-species relationships, and public health frameworks.

Participants include Andrea Bagnato, Uli Beisel, Nandini Bhattacharya, Laurie Denyer Willis, Matthew Gandy, Steve Hinchliffe, Michelle Pentecost, Nida Rehman, Freddie Stephenson, and Meike Wolf.


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# Congratulations to Stefanie Mavrakou on her dissertation prize

Congratulations to Stefanie Mavrakou (Queens' 2014-17), who is runner-up in the 2017-2018 undergraduate dissertation competition run by the Race, Culture and Equality Working Group of the RGS-IBG. Her winning dissertation is titled "The Blemish of Molenbeek: Youth, Place and Everyday Realities of Stigma".

# New paper: Controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland

Andrew Williamson

A team of researchers from the Scott Polar Research Institute have published a new paper investigating the causes of rapid lake-drainage events on the Greenland Ice Sheet. For this, the research team assembled a variety of different remotely sensed datasets to derive a series of controls that might explain why some lakes drain rapidly and others do not. However, among the controls investigated, they were unable to find any statistically significant drivers of the lake-drainage process.

The team includes PhD student Andrew Williamson, Dr Ian Willis, Dr Neil Arnold and Dr Alison Banwell.

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# Piers Vitebsky elected Honorary Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Sakha Republic

Piers Vitebsky, Assistant Director of Research (Retired) at the Scott Polar Research Institute, has been elected an Honorary Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia.

# Silent Witnesses

Ulf Buntgen

A new article, "Silent Witnesses", explores the work of the Department's tree ring laboratory, which is led by Ulf Büntgen, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis. The team are able to use tree rings to develop detailed chronologies of past climate conditions. These chronologies are able not only to offer insight in to ecosystem changes, but also in to environmental conditions at the time of different events in human history such as disease outbreaks and mass migrations. The laboratory has been working with researchers from other disciplines, including history and archaeology, to share their findings about past climate and shed new light on historical events.

Professor Büntgen also discusses how important it is dendrochronologists (tree-ring specialists) to come together to find opportunities to collaborate in his new article "The value of national dendro meetings". It highlights a national meeting held in the Department of Geography in December 2017 for 28 tree-ring specialists.

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# SPRI MPhil Scholarships

Sir Cam

The deadline for the Debenham Scholarship and the Scott Polar Scholarship is 31 March 2018. Each scholarship is worth £7,614 (2018-19 rate) and will be awarded to the best applicant for the M.Phil. in Polar Studies who is not in receipt of another University award. By applying for the M.Phil. in Polar Studies, you will automatically be entered into the competition for these awards, as long as your application is received by the deadline.

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# Flood Risk and Future Cities

Congratulations to CCRU's Jamie Pollard, winner of one of 8 Future Cities Prize Fellowships 2018. Jamie aims to use satellite imagery to study evolving coastal flood risk in rapidly growing megacities. The Fellowships, awarded through a generous gift from Capital and Counties Properties Plc., are designed to support PhD students from across the University in the development of research relating to future cities.

# Professor Bhaskar Vira at Collaborative Partnership on Forests conference

Professor Bhaskar Vira is a speaker at this week's international Collaborative Partnership On Forests conference, "Working Across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area- from Aspiration to Action", discussing valuing forest ecosystem services.

The international conference aims to look at preventing deforestation in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Strategic Plans for Forests 2017-2030, to look at how relevant targets in these can be met.

Professor Bhaskar Vira is Professor of Political Economy in the Department, and is also the Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute.

# AHRC Doctoral studentship: Instruments of scientific governance? Historical geographies of Halley Bay, 1956-present

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded studentship at the University of Cambridge, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Royal Society. The PhD studentship is one of six awards being made by the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with the Science Museums and Archives Consortium. The project is full-time, funded for three years and begins in October 2018. It will be supervised by Dr Richard Powell (Scott Polar Research Institute and Department of Geography, University of Cambridge), Dr Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG) and Keith Moore (Royal Society), with technical training support from Charlotte Connelly (Polar Museum, Cambridge).

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# Dr Alex Jeffrey awarded Pilkington Prize

Congratulations to Dr Alex Jeffrey, who is one the recipients of the prestigious 2017-18 Pilkington Teaching Prize, awarded for his innovative, inspiring and enthusiastic teaching.

Dr Alex Jeffery is a Reader in Human Geography and Fellow of Emmanuel College, and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Geography.

The Pilkington Teaching Prizes were inaugurated by Sir Alistair Pilkington in 1994 to acknowledge excellence in teaching. Dr Jeffrey will receive the prize from the Vice-Chancellor at a special ceremony in June.

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# New video: Illuminating the hidden kingdom of the truffle

A new video from the University of Cambridge, "Illuminating the hidden kingdom of the truffle", shows how, by using the Cambridge University Botanic Garden as a "living laboratory", Professor Ulf Büntgen and his team are discovering more about the ecology of truffles.

Professor Büntgen, who is Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis in the Department of Geography, also recently appeared on the Cambridgeshire edition of BBC Countryfile discussing this research project, which is available on BBC iPlayer until 13 March 2018.

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# Professor Ulf Büntgen's truffle research on Sunday's BBC Countryfile

Professor Ulf Büntgen will be appearing on BBC Countryfile this Sunday, discussing his research around the life-cycles of truffles.

The project, which uses the Cambridge University Botanic Garden as a research site, aims to explore truffle growth, and the impact different environments, and changing environmental conditions, have on truffles.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden's "Truffles in CUBG", provides further details of the project.

The episode of Countryfile will be broadcast on Sunday 11th February at 6.30pm on BBC 1, and will be available for 30 days afterwards on BBC iPlayer.

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# Cambridge screening of Natura Urbana

Join us for the first Cambridge screening of the documentary film 'Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin' by Professor Matthew Gandy, which will take place at the Arts Picturehouse, 38-39 St Andrew's Street, at 17.45 on Monday 5th March.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Bill Adams, Moran Professor of Conservation and Development.

Book your free tickets.

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# Professor Julian Dowdeswell awarded 2018 Lyell Medal

The Geological Society

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography, has been awarded the 2018 Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London for significant contributions to the science through a substantial body of work. The Lyell Medal has been awarded since 1876 and is the Society's highest award for 'soft rock' geology. It was established with a gift from the distinguished 19th Century scientist Charles Lyell who wrote the 'Principles of Geology'.

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# New paper: Paradiplomacy and political geography: The geopolitics of substate regional diplomacy

Sir Cam

Well done to PhD student Tom Jackson, who has recently published a new paper, "Paradiplomacy and political geography: The geopolitics of substate regional diplomacy".

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# New paper: Drones, Diplomacy and More-than Human Geopolitics

Credit: Sir Cam

Congratulations to first year PhD student Ed Bryan, whose book review essay "Drones, Diplomacy, and More-Than-Human Geopolitics" was published on the 31st January. The essay explores Ian Shaw's Predator Empire and Jason Dittmer's Diplomatic Material in the context of the growing interest in more-than-human and object-orientated approaches in the field of geopolitics.

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# CANCELLED: Studying Arctic Fields

The Launch for Richard Powell's new book, Studying Arctic Fields: Culturers, Practices, and Environmental Sciences will be held at SPRI at 4.30 p.m., Monday 26 February 2018. This event is kindly sponsored by the Independent Social Research Foundation and McGill-Queen's University Press. Please RSVP Jenny Dunstall to attend.

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# Public lecture: Greenland ice cores tell tales on past sea level changes

In this public lecture, Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen will present the first results from the EGRIP project's recent ice core drilling in Greenland, looking at findings about past sea-level changes.

All the deep ice cores drilled to the base of the Greenland ice sheet contain ice from the previous warm climate period, 130-115 thousand years before present, demonstrating the resilience of the Greenland ice sheet to a warming of 5°C. Material from the base of the ice cores reveals the presence of boreal forests before the ice covered Greenland, implying that temperatures at that time had been more than 10°C warmer than the present. To compare the paleo-behaviour of the Greenland ice sheet to the present, in relation to sea level rise, the international EGRIP-project is drilling an ice core in the centre of the active North East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS).

Professor Dahl-Jensen, who is visiting the Department as part of our Distinguished International Visitors Programme this February, is a world-leading expert in past climate research and Head of the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute (University of Copenhagen).

The Lecture will be held Wednesday 21st February, 5pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography.

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# Geography at the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival

The Geography Department has a range of activities and events lined up for the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival. Come along and find out about coastlines, volcanoes and the polar regions, see demonstrations with our state-of-the-art equipment, and meet our researchers.

The Festival runs from 12th-25th March 2018.

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# New paper on the impact of glaciation on East Anglian Fenland

Modified form in "Pleistocene glaciation of Fenland, England, and its implications for evolution of the region" (2018, Royal Society Open Science- Creators: Simon Price & Philip Stickler

A new paper from Professor Phil Gibbard, "Pleistocene glaciation of Fenland, England, and its implications for evolution of the region", demonstrates for the first time that the form and scale of modern Fenland, East Anglia, is due to glaciation during the late Middle Pleistocene period, around 160,000 years ago.

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# 'Architecture, geo-politics and scientific knowledge' workshop

Future City (Incubation Process), 1962 Isozaki

This workshop, Architecture, geo-politics and scientific knowledge, to be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018 at King's College, Cambridge, investigates variegated relationships between architecture, broadly conceived, and the sciences of behavior and life, such as psychology, biology and ecology. Underlining the historical, geographical and geo-political aspects to these relationships, the workshop is interested in the genealogy, translation and operationalization of such fundamental concepts as need, organization, or environment, among others. How can we relate such epistemological histories and geographies of architecture to the widely divergent forms of politics enacted by architects, urban designers and spatial practitioners?

Speakers include:

  • Peg Rawes (The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)
  • Léa-Catherine Szacka (Manchester School of Architecture, University of Manchester)
  • Yimin Zhao (Department of Geography and Environment, LSE)
  • Sandra Jasper (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
  • Maros Krivy (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)

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# Pani, Pahar: Waters of the Himalayas

Toby Smith

A photo essay on the Pani, Pahar research project, "Sacred, life affirming and fast disappearing: waters of the Himalayas" is now available from the Guardian.

The project explores the escalating water crisis in the Himalayas. It is a collaborative project from Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs (Geography Department), photojournalist Toby Smith, the University Library, and the Centre for South Asian Studies.

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# Geography undergraduates at Caius publish academic paper

Third year Geography students at Cauis have gained an early taste of academic publication, co-authoring a paper in a prestigious journal alongside an international team of scientists co-led by their former Director of Studies, Dr David Rose (now at UEA), with Juliette Young (CEH) and Nibedita Mukherjee (Exeter).

The three undergraduates, Esha (Geography), Stephen (Geography) and Jay (Management, formerly Geography), provided a key contribution to the paper. The research, "A methodological guide to using and reporting on interviews in conservation science", is published this week in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Caius and the Department of Geography are very proud of the students, Dr Rose added. "It's very unusual for undergraduates to gain publication in a high impact factor academic journal. The students are looking forward to citing themselves in their dissertations when talking about how to conduct interviews (and to all their peers citing them too!)."

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# Public Lecture: Racial Banishment: old and new forms of urban transformation in the United States

Professor Ananya Roy will detail key elements of racial banishment and indicate how urban transformation is articulated with necropolitics, including mass incarceration. Thinking from Los Angeles, she will argue that what is at stake is not only a more robust analysis of urban transformations but also attention to the various forms of urban politics that are challenging racial capitalism.

Professor Ananya Roy is visiting the Department as part of our Distinguished International Visitors Programme this January. Professor Roy is Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy and Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography at UCLA Luskin.

The lecture will be held on Thursday 18th January 2018, 5pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre, Main Geography Building, Downing Site.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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# Book release: North Sea Surge, 2nd Edition: social accounts of the 1953 floods remain relevant over 60 years later

In 1953, England suffered its deadliest natural disaster in over 350 years. The cause - a North Sea Surge that swept its way down the east coast battering communities from Northumberland to Norfolk and beyond to the Thames Estuary. Over 300 people were killed in England alone, both during the storm and in the chaotic aftermath that followed.

As one of the few sociological accounts of the impacts on flood victims, North Sea Surge has often been cited by research scientists, in government reports and the press. Now in a second edition, James Pollard updates the unforgettable story of the East Coast Floods, in North Sea Surge: The story of the East Coast Floods of 1953, 2nd Edition.

Through this update, Pollard reiterates the key themes for flood risk management and resilience to future flooding that have been the mainstay of reviews, reports and research since: the responsiveness of local and national government; the efficacy of flood warnings and national forecasting services; the tensions between private and public accountability; and the deep reserves of national good-heartedness that feature large in times of crisis. In doing so, questions pertinent to the flood risk managers of today are posed:

  • Have we genuinely learnt lessons?
  • Are we really better prepared or does serendipity still dictate the extent of harm from coastal flooding?
  • Are we thinking about personal impacts when we design national strategies for 'flood risk management' and 'flood resilience', or have we simply invented a new lexicon to avoid the challenges of making things better for communities prone to coastal flooding, including those far from the city?

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# Cambridge University selects coastal Geography case study to showcase Public Engagement with Research

Iris Möller

"The potential effects of climate change and of human modifications of the landscape on flood risk are critically important if human society is to continue to thrive in flood-prone areas" says Dr Möller of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit and the Biogeography and Biogeomorphology Research Group at the Department of Geography.

"To encourage greater awareness of this important issue, we successfully applied to the University's Public Engagement with Research Awards scheme in 2016 to construct our augmented reality dynamic landscape sand box". The sand box has multiple uses. It is as useful as a tool to engage research stakeholders and policy makers in discussion around complex flood protection and climate adaptation issues as it is for engaging the general public during events such as the University's Science Festival, where it will next make an appearance on the 17th of March 2018.

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# Dissertation diaspora

See where some of our students went on fieldwork in the summer for their dissertations, in this year's 'Dissertation diaspora'.

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# Postgraduate Engagement Fellowship - apply now

Postgraduate students have until 15th January 2018 to apply to be an Engagement Fellow at the Polar Museum at SPRI. This is a paid opportunity thanks to the generous support of the British Society for the History of Science. Applicants do not need specialist polar or climate knowledge - we are looking for somebody who is enthusiastic about communicating historical ideas about our changing climate. Full training and support will be given.

Further details are available on the British Society for the History of Science website.

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# Natura Urbana wins at the Yosemite Film Festival

Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin picked up the Best Documentary Feature prize at the Yosemite Film Festival 2017. The ERC funded documentary film by Professor Matthew Gandy and Dr Sandra Jasper tells the post-war history of Berlin through its plants. Many congratulations to the Rethinking Urban Nature team.

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# Annual Report for 2016-17

The Department's Annual Report for 2016-17, containing an overview of departmental activities across research, teaching, and technical and information services, is now available online.

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# Invited expert review for the IPCC


Professor Tom Spencer has been invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to act as an Expert Reviewer of pre-release, internal draft material on 'extremes, abrupt changes and managing risks' as part of the IPCC's Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC).

# The ethics of pet keeping

Dr Philip Howell spoke recently about the ethics of pet keeping on the BBC Radio 3 programme Free Thinking, drawing on his work on the cultural and historical geography of dogs in Victorian Britain. Dr Howell appears in a panel discussion along with the animal behaviourist John Bradshaw, the bioethicist Jessica Pierce, and the novelist Laura Purcell.

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# New paper on the multiple health implications of women's early marriage

A new study by three Geography Department members (Akanksha Marphatia, Alice Reid and Gabriel Amable) of four South Asian countries reveals complex associations between early marriage and women's education, health and nutrition that go beyond the impacts of early childbearing. These health implications -- which include higher risk of domestic violence and poor mental health -- may also affect the next generation of children. Furthermore, increased education has had some, but not enough, success in delaying girls' marriage. The study, published in open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health, provides evidence showing why early marriage should be considered a major public health issue. See the press release for more information.

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# The Geological Anthropocene born in Burlington House

Geological Society, London

Discussions concerning the recognition and potential definition of a new division of geological time during which humans have become overarchingly influencing natural systems have led to the proposal to define a new time interval, the Anthropocene (see earlier reports on these pages).

The controversy generated in the geological world has been offset by the remarkable interest the concept has initiated in non-geological, and especially in non-scientific fields. The discussions, initiated during meetings of the Geological Society's Stratigraphy Commission, of which Professor Phil Gibbard, Dr Colin Summerhayes, and the other authors are members, has led to worldwide debate. These discussions have also spawned new lines of research, and encouraged inter-disciplinary discussions by members of the department, involving reseachers and students alike. A new report presents the state of these fast evolving discussions developments that have animated the normally tranquil world of stratigraphy.

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# Global Alliance, Global Wetlands

CCRU awarded funding for a collaborative project with University of California Berkeley and the National University of Singapore

Professor Tom Spencer and Dr Iris Möller have secured one of five Global Alliance funding awards for a project titled 'Opportunities for ecological adaptation to flood hazards in major global cities: London, Singapore and San Francisco'.

The Global Alliance was formed in 2016 as a tripartite agreement between the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Cambridge and the National University of Singapore. It aims to develop innovative research across the three institutions and via three themes: Precision Medicine, Cities and Smart Systems. It is expected that successful applicants will apply for external funding to scale projects 18 months after this seed funding has been received.

Falling under the 'Cities' theme, the CCRU project will investigate the potential for ecological adaptation and ecosystem-based flood defence management in three contrasting urban socio-ecological systems: London and the Thames Estuary, San Francisco and San Francisco Bay, and the island margins of the City State of Singapore.

It is well established that ecosystems such as tidal marshes, mangroves, dunes and oyster reefs have the natural capacity to reduce storm surges and waves, provide flood water storage and offer many additional benefits. However, coastal space usage is increasingly contested by other economic and social pressures, meaning that the design, implementation and effectiveness of ecosystem-based flood defence solutions depends on multiple and interacting social, environmental, economic and political factors.

The project will explore the drivers of coastal restoration and adaptation in each city and the policy contexts within which these are situated, investigating possible methods to identify locations suitable for adaptation interventions and criteria to measure and compare intervention 'success' and outcomes.

For further information contact: Olivia Shears (

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# Under the volcano is a dangerous but rewarding place to live

Firdia Lisnawati / AP

University Lecturer, Dr Amy Donovan, has today written an article for The Telegraph, 'Under the volcano is a dangerous but rewarding place to live'.

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# Coasts: the Global Alliance

Opportunities for ecological adaptation to flood hazards in major global cities: London, Singapore and San Francisco

In recent years, ecosystem-based flood defence has been gaining currency as a more sustain­able and cost-effective risk management approach than conventional engineering of 'hard' defences, evidenced by the building of sea walls, dykes and embankments. This new collaboration between Cambridge (Tom Spencer, Iris Möller and Olivia Shears from CCRU) , UC Berkeley and the National University of Singapore (including CCRU alumnus Dan Friess), under the 'Global Alliance' programme, will investigate the potential for ecological adaptation to flood and sea level rise hazards in three contrasting urban socio-ecological systems – London and the Thames Estuary, San Francisco and San Francisco Bay, and the island city state of Singapore – building regional networks of natural coastal protection knowledge and assessing varied management practices, institutional contexts, market uptake and capacity development.

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# Call for papers: Architecture, geo-politics, and scientific knowledge

Future City (Incubation Process), Isoaki, 1962

This workshop, to be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018, investigates variegated relationships between architecture, broadly conceived, and the sciences of behavior and life, such as psychology, biology and ecology. Underlining the historical, geographical and geo-political aspects to these relationships, the workshop is interested in the genealogy, translation and operationalization of such fundamental concepts as need, organization, or environment, among others. How can we relate such epistemological histories and geographies of architecture to the widely divergent forms of politics enacted by architects, urban designers and spatial practitioners?

We would be pleased to hear from anyone who might like to contribute a paper (of 15 min. length) or take part in the discussion. We are especially keen to have representation across the spatial disciplines and beyond.

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# CCRU down under

Ruth Reef

Researchers from the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit have contributed to a successful Australian Research Council Discovery Project award led by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

This prestigious award (A$ 324k) will enable knowledge transfer and exchange between the two island nations to reduce vulnerability to sea level rise. The low elevation coastal zone contains 13% of the Australian population and is subject to intensive agriculture and urbanisation. Accelerating sea level rise is thus a major societal concern and its impacts on shorelines must be accurately determined. This Australian-UK collaboration aims to improve Australia's capacity to predict changing shoreline position with sea level rise, better understand the role of vegetation in foreshore stabilisation and identify under what conditions the shoreline might suddenly shift landwards.

Picture caption: Beach on Hinchinbrook Island, Northern Queensland, as seen from a drone, backed by an intertidal mangrove swamp (fore) and granite cliffs (back). Mangrove swamps can contribute to land elevation gain by trapping external sediments and creating organic matter, while cliffs provide little opportunity for shoreline retreat.

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# Rising Tides bring innovation prize

Eli Keene

Victoria Herrmann, a PhD student at the Scott Polar Research Institute and a Gates Cambridge Scholar, has won a prestigious US social entrepreneurship prize for a research project on US towns and cities at risk of partial submersion due to climate change.

Victoria's was one of 10 projects to scoop the JM Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize.

Her winning Rising Tides project will create a new online matchmaking platform that connects pro bono experts with climate-affected communities. Whether taking on archaeological work in Alaskan villages or oral histories in Mississippi's historic black communities, the project will seek to safeguard heritage by connecting national expertise to some of the 13 million Americans who stand to be displaced due to rising waters in the coming years. It will initially focus on bringing technical assistance directly to small and medium-sized towns that are geographically remote and socioeconomically vulnerable. By connecting communities with volunteer professionals looking to donate skills - from a one-hour consultation to a fully fledged cultural resources management plan - the project seeks to build social cohesion, preserve historic sites and empower local traditions to withstand climate threats.

It is thought that by the end of this century, at least 414 towns and cities across America will be partially underwater from sea-level rise and accelerating extreme storms. The Rising Tides project will draw on Victoria's experience of working with community champions from Alaska to American Samoa through her America's Eroding Edges project, a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund has provided catalytic funding for projects in their early stages of development in the form of grants. The Prize leverages this legacy of catalytic grant-making in the field of social innovation.

In addition to cash support of $150,000, paid out over three years, plus a $25,000 bank of funds for project expense, the Prize includes capacity-building counsel from experts in organisational development, board cultivation, media coaching and leadership training. The three areas considered for the US prize are the environment, heritage conservation and social justice.

The Fund says: "The J.M.K. Innovation Prize is awarded to projects or ideas that represent a game-changing answer to a clearly identified need; are innovative within the Fund's three funding areas; demonstrate the potential to develop an actionable pilot or prototype with Prize funding; and hold out the promise to benefit multiple individuals, communities, or sectors through a clearly articulated theory of change."

Earlier this year Victoria [2014], who won the 2017 Bill Gates Sr Award and is currently completing her PhD in Polar Studies, was named on this year's Forbes 30under30 list for Law & Policy.

This news article first appeared on the Gates Cambridge website.

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# UK premiere for Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin

Natura Urbana – the Brachen of Berlin (72 mins) written and directed by Matthew Gandy and Sandra Jasper will have its UK premiere at the London International Documentary Festival on Saturday 25 November 2018. The LIDF is London's oldest and largest documentary festival. The screening will be at 11:00, at The Archivist, N1 5ET. Individual tickets for this screening must be purchased in advance online.

In Natura Urbana the changing vegetation of Berlin serves as a parallel history to war-time destruction, geo-political division, and the newest phase of urban transformation. Natura Urbana takes us on a unique journey through Berlin ranging from the botanical microcosm of cracked paving stones to elaborate attempts to map the entire city in terms of its distinctive ecological zones.

View the trailer online.

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# Living without the Dead: Loss and Redemption in a Jungle Cosmos

Living without the Dead: Loss and Redemption in a Jungle Cosmos is a new book by Piers Vitebsky.

Just one generation ago, the Sora tribe in India lived in a world populated by the spirits of their dead, who spoke to them through shamans in trance. Every day, they negotiated their wellbeing in heated arguments or in quiet reflections on their feelings of love, anger, and guilt. Today, young Sora are rejecting the worldview of their ancestors and switching their allegiance to warring sects of fundamentalist Christianity or Hinduism. Communion with ancestors is banned, sacred sites demolished, and female shamans replaced by male priests, as debate with the dead gives way to prayer to gods. For some, this shift means liberation from jungle spirits through literacy, employment, and democratic politics; others despair of being forgotten after death.

How can a society abandon one understanding of reality so suddenly and see the world in a totally different way? Over forty years, anthropologist Piers Vitebsky has shared the lives of shamans, pastors, ancestors, gods, policemen, missionaries, and alphabet worshippers, seeking explanations from social theory, psychoanalysis, and theology. Living without the Dead lays bare today's crisis of indigenous religions as historical reform brings new fulfillments—but also new torments and uncertainties. From the award-winning author of The Reindeer People, this is a heartbreaking story of the extinction of an irreplaceable world, even while new religious forms come into being.

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# New paper on inland advance of supraglacial lakes in Greenland under climatic warming

A new article by recently graduated undergraduate student Laura Gledhill (Downing College) and Scott Polar Research Institute PhD student Andrew Williamson explores the inland advance of supraglacial lakes in a north-western sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet under recent climatic warming. The paper, published recently in the Annals of Glaciology, is based on Laura's undergraduate dissertation, which Andrew supervised. Many congratulations to them both!

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# Smuts Memorial Lecture Series 2017: AbdouMaliq Simone

Former Distinguished International Visitor in the Department, AbdouMaliq Simone, will be giving the first set in the Smuts Memorial Lecture Series, entitled The Uninhabitable: Afterlives of the Urban South. The three lectures will be held in the Large Lecture Theatre in Geography at 5.15 pm on 7th, 9th and 13th November.

Drawing on examples from a number of cities, the lectures focus on how we should explain the lives and living conditions of the poor in the Global South. In a highly imaginative move, Professor Simon argues that, in the spaces of the 'uninhabitable', the poor learn to develop forms of agency, community and and dignity that need recognition, and come with important lessons for how precarity worldwide may need to be managed in the future.

The lectures cover material and ideas that are central to papers in the Department on the urban, post-colonial, and Global South. It is worth attending all three lectures, as the second two delve in to specific examples from around the world.

You can book a ticket for each of the three lectures online.

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# Cambridge geographer wins historical geography undergraduate dissertation prize

Many congratulations to Anna Lawrence (Sidney Sussex) for the award of the RGS-IBG Historical Geography Research Group undergraduate dissertation prize. Anna's dissertation was entitled Morals and Mignonette. Or, the Use of Flowers in the Moral Regulation of Women, Children, and the Working Classes in Late-Victorian London. The research group's assessors reported that "This is a thoughtful and theoretically ambitious study of an original topic: the role of flowers in late-Victorian moral regulation. It is beautifully written and convincingly argued with some excellent formulations. It covers a wide range of primary and secondary literature and displays an excellent understanding of the period and question." Anna was also invited to present at the recent Practising Historical Geography undergraduate/postgraduate conference in Manchester.

Anna is currently an MPhil student in the Department, funded by the AHRC. Well done to her!

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# Périgord black truffle cultivated in the UK for the first time

The Mediterranean black truffle, one of the world's most expensive ingredients, has been successfully cultivated in the UK, as climate change threatens its native habitat.

The black truffle is one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, worth as much as £1,700 per kilogram. Black truffles are prized for their intense flavour and aroma, but they are difficult and time-consuming to grow and harvest, and are normally confined to regions with a Mediterranean climate.

The results of the programme, which involved Professor Ulf Büntgen of the Department, and reported in the journal Climate Research, suggest that truffle cultivation may be possible in many parts of the UK.

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# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD opportunities

Ali Banwell

The list of PhD topics we would like to pursue with interested students has just been launched. The link gives further details. CCRU also has a list of topics. The funding deadline is 4th January 2018, for an October 2018 start. Do get in touch with a prospective supervisor who will help with your application as soon as possible.

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# Workshop: Political Geology: Active Stratigraphies and the Making of Life

November 17th 2017

What and where is the geos in geopolitics? This workshop will consider the evolution of ideas around the geos, its politics, scientific histories, and practices. The goal is to bring scholars from a diversity of fields and disciplines together to rethink the relationship between politics and geology and the agency of the geos in shaping and transforming politics. Presentations will focus on the politics of geophysical scientific practices; counter-histories of geological science in the West; power, erosion and soil; culture and volatile geologies; the politics of deep-futures in the present; subsurface depth, hidden-volumes, mediation; amodern geological imaginaries.

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# Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day: 3 November

The Department will welcome prospective students for its MPhil and PhD students as part of the University of Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 3 November. Come along to our exhibition stand in the University Centre from 12-4pm or come to the Department 2-3pm to meet current students and tour the facilities and from 3-4pm to hear a talk by Dr Emma Mawdsley on MPhil and PhD study. For those interested in Polar Studies, the Scott Polar Research Institute will be open from 2-4pm.

# Department of Geography Postgraduate open day 3rd November

Students and staff will be available to talk about life as a Graduate in the Department of Geography and ongoing Human and Physical Geography study and research. Venue: The Library - Department of Geography, Downing Place, CB2 3EN, 2-4pm

The Scott Polar Research Institute will be open for visits. MPhil and PhD students will be available to talk about life in the department and SPRI Course Director will be available to chat to potential students. Venue: Main Reception, Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, CB2 1ER 2-4pm

There will also be a Geography Admissions Talk at 3pm, 3 November, Seminar Room, Department of Geography, CB2 3EN. Speakers will be Dr Emma Mawdsley "Moving on to an MPhil and PhD" and Professor Christine Lane – "Talking and answering questions on Physical Geography Research at Cambridge."

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# New paper in Nature - Seafloor ploughmarks left by icebergs record rapid West Antarctic ice retreat

Matthew Wise, Martin Jakobsson

Thousands of ploughmarks on the Antarctic seafloor, caused by icebergs which broke free from glaciers more than ten thousand years ago, show how part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated rapidly at the end of the last ice age as its margins balanced precariously on sloping ground and became unstable. Today, as the global climate continues to warm, rapid and sustained retreat may be close to happening again, and could trigger runaway ice retreat into the interior of the continent, which in turn would cause sea levels to rise even faster than currently projected.

Matt Wise and Julian Dowdeswell from SPRI, together with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Stockholm University investigated imagery of the seafloor of Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. They found that, as seas warmed at the end of the last ice age, Pine Island Glacier retreated to a point where its grounding line – the points where it enters the ocean and starts to float – was perched precariously at the end of a seaward-shallowing submarine slope. It has long been thought that glaciers in this configuration are unstable.

Break up of a floating 'ice shelf' in front of the glacier left tall ice 'cliffs' at its edge. The height of these cliffs made them unstable, triggering the release of thousands of icebergs into Pine Island Bay, and causing the glacier to retreat rapidly until its grounding line reached a restabilising point in shallower water.

Today, as warming waters caused by climate change flow underneath the floating ice shelves in Pine Island Bay, the Antarctic Ice Sheet is once again at risk of losing mass from rapidly retreating glaciers. Significantly, if ice retreat is triggered, there are no relatively shallow points in the ice sheet bed along the course of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers to prevent possible runaway ice retreat into the interior of West Antarctica. The results are published in the journal Nature.

"Today, the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are grounded in a very precarious position, and major retreat may already be happening, caused primarily by warm waters melting from below the ice shelves that jut out from each glacier into the sea," said Matt Wise of Cambridge's Scott Polar Research Institute, and the study's first author. "If we remove these buttressing ice shelves, unstable ice thicknesses would cause the grounded West Antarctic Ice Sheet to retreat rapidly again in the future. Since there are no potential restabilising points further upstream to stop any retreat from extending deep into the West Antarctic hinterland, this could cause sea-levels to rise faster than previously projected."

Pine Island Glacier and the neighbouring Thwaites Glacier are responsible for nearly a third of total ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and this contribution has increased greatly over the past 25 years. In addition to basal melt, the two glaciers also lose ice by breaking off, or calving, icebergs into Pine Island Bay.

Today, the icebergs that break off from Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are mostly large table-like blocks, which cause characteristic 'comb-like' ploughmarks as these large multi-keeled icebergs grind along the sea floor. By contrast, during the last ice age, hundreds of comparatively smaller icebergs broke free of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and drifted into Pine Island Bay. These smaller icebergs had a v-shaped structure like the keel of a ship, and left long and deep single scars in the sea floor.

High-resolution imaging techniques, used to investigate the shape and distribution of ploughmarks on the sea floor in Pine Island Bay, allowed the researchers to determine the relative size and drift direction of icebergs in the past. Their analysis showed that these smaller icebergs were released due to a process called marine ice-cliff instability (MICI). More than 12,000 years ago, Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers were grounded on top of a large wedge of sediment, and were buttressed by a floating ice shelf, making them relatively stable even though they rested below sea level.

Eventually, the floating ice shelf in front of the glaciers 'broke up', which caused them to retreat onto land sloping downward from the grounding lines to the interior of the ice sheet. This exposed tall ice 'cliffs' at their margin with an unstable height, and resulted in rapid retreat of the glaciers from marine ice cliff instability between 12,000 and 11,000 years ago. This occurred under climate conditions that were relatively similar to those of today.

Today, the two glaciers are getting ever closer to the point where they may become unstable, resulting once again in rapid ice retreat.

The research has been funded in part by the UK Natural Environment and Research Council (NERC).

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# New exhibit explores recent Greenland fieldwork

Samuel Cook

The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Institute is currently hosting a temporary exhibition 'Uummannaq: 100 years of exploration in Greenland' featuring fieldwork undertaken by Geography researchers over the summer. Led by Dr Poul Christoffersen the exhibition includes research undertaken by PhD students Samuel Cook and Tom Chudley.

Samuel used a terrestrial radar interferometer to produce a unique record of iceberg calving from which he can calibrate a numerical model. While Tom used an Unmanned Aircraft System ('drone') to produce imagery of the calving ice front and the glacier in ultra high spatial resolution.

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# The future of elections in Mostar at the Council of Europe

Council of Europe

On Thursday 19th October Dr. Alex Jeffrey, Reader in Human Geography, gave a speech at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, at the 33rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in a debate about the future of elections in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr. Jeffrey focused on the potential for international agencies to break the political deadlock in Mostar, a town that has not held local elections since 2008. Reflecting on the various ways in international agencies can exert influence, the speech focused on the reform needed to Bosnian election law while emphasising the increased support required local civil society activists. The talk ended by reflecting on the changing geopolitical position of Bosnia and the wider Western Balkans as the significance of European agencies is confronted by rising Russian influence.

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# Who embodies the state? Indigenous women perform the state differently in Yucatan, Mexico

Laura Loyola-Hernandez

Former PhD student at the Department of Geography, Laura Loyola-Hernandez has shown how rural Indigenous women in the Yucatan, Mexico, come into office as mayors to embody the state in more inclusive ways. Although Indigenous women were historically seen as 'out of place' in public office, the female mayors today use a variety of practices to make municipal offices and activities more inclusive of the rural, Indigenous and female citizens in their districts. The paper, in Political Geography (2017), shows that although exclusionary practices and attitudes influence wider urban and regional politics, "Indigenous female mayors have to some extent unsettled hierarchical gender, racial and ethnic power relations" (Loyola-Hernandez 2017: 56).

Loyola-Hernandez, L. 2017 The porous state: Female mayors performing the state in Yucatecan Maya municipalities. Political Geography 62: 48-57.

Loyola-Hernandez's work is part of research into how intersectional hierarchies shape the geographies of citizenship, citizenship and politics throughout Latin America, led by Sarah A. Radcliffe.

# CUGS to reunite alumni

Cambridge University Geographical Society is holding its first alumni dinner of the 21st century on Saturday 18 November 2017 at Christ's College. A champagne reception will be followed by a three-course banquet.

Spaces are limited- so please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

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# Departmental Seminars start today!

This year's series of Departmental Seminars start today (19th October 2017) with Professor Christine Lane and Professor Ulf Buentgen exploring 'Climate and History'. Christine Lane will present on 'Timing is everything. Using tephra to explore past climate and environmental change' and Ulf Buentgen on 'A tree-ring perspective on climate and history'. The seminar will take place in the Small Lecture Theatre at 3.30pm.

Later in the term we will be hosting talks from Joe Smith (Open University), Richard Streeter (St Andrews) and Richard Sennett (LSE).

# PANI, PAHAR Waters of the Himalayas

Photo by Toby Smith

This collaborative research project explores the changing landscapes and escalating water crises of the Indian Himalayas. On Tuesday the 17 October a photography exhibition will open to the public as part of the University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas and India Unboxed program. The exhibition combines academic research led by Professor Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs at the Department of Geography (with collaborators in India and Nepal) with contemporary imagery by photojournalist Toby Smith and curated archival prints from the University Library and Centre for South Asian Studies.

On Friday the 27 October there will also be an opportunity to join Toby Smith, Prof Bhaskar Vira and Dr Eszter Kovacs to discuss stories, processes and research behind this fascinating project: 6pm, St John's Divinity School.

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# Cambridge Geography at the Festival of Ideas

Cambridge Geographers are involved in a number of events as part of this year's Festival of Ideas on the theme of 'Truth'.

Dr David Nally is taking part in: 'GM Food: what's the problem?' on Tuesday 17 October

Professor Mike Hulme will be exploring: 'Climate Change: the Truth' on Thursday 19 October

While the Polar Museum is holding a Living in the Arctic Family Day (21 October) and a screening of the 1982 horror 'The Thing' (24 October).

# Anja Schmidt wins EGU Award

Congratulations to Department lecturer Dr Anja Schmidt who has been awarded an Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists by the European Geosciences Union.

# Criminalization of abortion in Ecuador

Colectivo de Geografia Critica del Ecuador

Sofia Zaragocin, a former PhD student at the Department of Geography and now Visiting Assistant Professor and Researcher, at the Department of Sociology and Gender, at FLACSO-Ecuador, has produced a map of the criminalisation of abortion in Ecuador. Comparing data from the period 2013-14 and 2015-June 2017, she and a team of geographers have documented a significant rise in the number of women facing criminal charges for abortion which remains illegal in the country.

Research work in Ecuador continues in the Department with Professor Sarah A. Radcliffe's ongoing research into the socio-spatial consequences of major policy reforms undertaken in the past decade, resulting from the re-writing of the constitution in 2008.

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# What is the future of the UK countryside post Brexit?

The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, led by Director Prof Bhaskar Vira, has convened a new online discussion platform on the future of the UK countryside post Brexit. The site includes contributes from a number of key thinkers in the area, and is introduced by Cambridge Geographer Hannah Wynton.

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# Learning from postneoliberalisms

Professor of Latin American Geography Sarah A. Radcliffe and co-authors have published a new paper in Progress in Human Geography entitled 'Learning from postneoliberalisms'.

The paper draws on experiments in South America and South Africa to incorporate social movement agendas for change into state policy and action. Sarah Radcliffe's section describes how in Ecuador the resulting neo-developmentalist government relies on diverse spatial data to allocate resources and organise territory, with uneven outcomes.

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# Win for Trial of the Century

'Trial of the Century', the theatre production which included PhD student Ragnhild Dale as assistant director and researcher, and which was closely linked to her doctoral research, has won the Norwegian Critics Association Theatre Award 2017. The jury praised it as 'one of the most important reference works in recent political Norwegian performing arts'.

The production, which took place in February, staged the upcoming court case over the 23rd licensing round for petroleum in the Norwegian Barents Sea. Ragnhild worked with director Morten Traavik of and Pikene på Broen as co-producers.

# Insights of a field assistant

Part II student Charlotte Milbank blogs about her recent experiences as a field assistant in Burkina Faso. Charlotte has been assisting with Zoology PhD student Charlotte Payne's research into edible Shea caterpillars, and undertaking her own dissertation research on wild food consumption and strategies in Burkina Faso.

# Cambridge Geographer wins Food Geographies Undergraduate Dissertation Prize

Photo credit: Hannah Gillie

Hannah Gillie, recent Cambridge Geography graduate (Fitzwilliam), has been awarded first place in the RGS-IBG Food Geographies Dissertation Prize. Hannah's dissertation 'Neighbourhood to Agrihood: Exploring the extent to which urban agriculture can support inclusive redevelopment in Detroit' impressed the panel in terms of its scope, ambitions and achievements, as well as the breadth of engagements she achieved with research partners.

Many congratulations!

# Cambridge Geography tops Times Good University Guide

We are delighted to announce that the University of Cambridge Department of Geography has come top of the Geography and Environmental Science category in the Times Good University Guide 2018.

# Glass shards reveal a fiery history in Ethiopia

A new article in Earth Magazine reports on research by Research Associate Catherine Martin-Jones together with an international team, led by Aberystwyth and Cambridge Universities.

The study, originally published in Quaternary Geochronology, demonstrates that volcanoes in Ethiopia's inhospitable Afar Triangle have been far more active than previously recognised. Ethiopia is home to 65 volcanoes, however their volcanic history is largely unknown, and 49 have no recorded eruptions. Martin-Jones uses volcanic ash layers preserved in lake sediments from northern Ethiopia to catalogue the chronology of past eruptions in this remote region over the past 10,000 years. This is an important step in understanding past volcanism and mitigating risk, and is part ongoing research on East African volcanism within the Climate and Environmental Dynamics group.

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# Inaugural meeting of ENCHPOPGOS network

The inaugural meeting of the ENCHPOPGOS network will take place on 25th to 27th September at Robinson College, Cambridge. ENCHPOPGOS, the European Network for the Comparative History of Population Geography and Occupational Structure, brings together scholars from all over Europe who are or plan to work on similar projects and are committed to working in a commensurable and common framework over the period 1500-1914 to create datasets not merely of national occupational structures but scalable datasets at the local and regional levels.

The network is co-ordinated by Dr Leigh Shaw-Taylor, Director of CAMPOP, and Dr Alexis Litvine.

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# Climate change and Syrian War revisited

A new study, just published in the journal Political Geography, shows that there is no sound evidence that global climate change was a factor in causing the Syrian civil war.

Claims that a major drought caused by anthropogenic climate change was a key factor in starting the Syrian civil war have gained considerable traction since 2015 and have become an accepted narrative in the press, most recently repeated by former US vice president Al Gore in relation to Brexit. This study, led by Professor Jan Selby at the University of Sussex, and co-authored by new Cambridge Geography professor Mike Hulme, takes a fresh look at the existing evidence for these claims as well as conducting new research into Syrian rainfall data and the experiences of Syrian refugees.

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# Geography, materialism, and the neo-vitalist turn

Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy and Research Associate Sandra Jasper have published a new paper in Dialogues in Human Geography entitled 'Geography, materialism, and the neo-vitalist turn'.

The paper addresses a growing body of geographical literature that adopts a neo-vitalist approach to the understanding of nature and the human subject and the wider political and ethical tensions that such an approach can bring about.

# 'Keep it local' approach to protecting the rainforest can be more effective than government schemes

Conservation initiatives led by local and indigenous groups can be just as effective as schemes led by government, according to new research by a team led by Cambridge Geography Research Associate Judith Schleicher. In some cases in the Amazon rainforest, grassroots initiatives can be even more effective at protecting this vital ecosystem. This is particularly important due to widespread political resistance to hand over control over forests and other natural resources to local communities.

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# Into the Inferno nominated for an Emmy

Congratulations to Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer whose documentary Into the Inferno (directed by Werner Herzog) has been nominated for 'Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary' in the 2017 News and Documentary Emmy Awards. The awards will be presented on 5 October 2017.

# New grant: Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa

University Senior Lecturer Dr Charlotte Lemanski has received a grant from the British Academy Global Challenges Research Fund: Cities and Infrastructure for a project entitled "Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional dialogue". Many congratulations!

The project aims to explores how low-income communities, private energy entrepreneurs, and government (at various scales) work in contestation and collaboration to devise and deliver affordable domestic energy that meets the long-term needs and aspirations of low-income households in two rapidly urbanising cities, Bengaluru (India) and Cape Town (South Africa). The primary focus is on the role of the three key stakeholders, investigating how government and industry plan and implement energy innovation in government subsidised housing, and the role of low-income households' needs and aspirations in this process.

We are also currently recruiting a research associate to work with Charlotte on the project.

# 5 Things I Wish I’d Known As A First Year Geography Student…

Compass, the magazine and online blog run by our student society CUGS (Cambridge University Geographical Society), gives 5 tips for new students starting in October. Our favourite: 5) have fun!

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# Women in Antarctica: the trouble with heroism

PhD student Morgan Seag writes for Chemistry World on the history of women in Antarctica, and the 'trouble with heroism' as a myth surrounding antarctic study which excluded women until the 1960s and 70s.

Article may be behind paywall.

# New connections in climate histories

In a new article for Pages Magazine, Professor of Environmental Systems and Processes Ulf Buentgen reports back from a groundbreaking meeting of climate history scholars that took place in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, from the 10-14 April 2017. The meeting brought together 45 specialists from 7 countries in archaeology, biogeochemistry, climatology, ecology, history, and epidemiology. The meeting launched a new cross-disciplinary mapping project which will combine information from archaeological findings, disease outbreaks, genetic structures, glacier dynamics, ice cores, lake sediments, pollen profiles, trade routes, tree rings, and written sources to address the question: "How did climate change affect the rise and demise of Eurasia's nomadic steppe empires?"

# Performance of the year nomination for Trial of the Century

Photo credit: Ole-Gunnar Rasmussen

The Norwegian Critics Association has announced that Trial of the Century has been nominated for its 2017 annual Critics Prize. The production, which took place in February, staged the upcoming court case over the 23rd licensing round for petroleum in the Norwegian Barents Sea. PhD student Ragnhild Dale served as assistant director and researcher for the production, which was closely linked to her doctoral research. Ragnhild worked with director Morten Traavik of and Pikene på Broen as co-producers.

Congratulations to all on this prestigious nomination!

# Decolonising Geographical Knowledges: RGS-IBG Conference 2017

Professor of Latin American Geography Sarah Radcliffe is Chair of this year's RGS-IBG Conference, on the theme of Decolonising Geographical Knowledges, running from Tuesday 29 August- Friday 1 September. The conference will welcome around 1,600-plus participants who will contribute to around 380 themed sessions. The programme also includes sessions for post-graduate students and early career researchers.

Professor Radcliffe provides reflections on the theme in her welcome to delegates.

# Mud, mud and more mud: salt marsh sampling in Essex

PhD Student Helen Brooks writes about her work with salt marshes and tidal flats in Geoblogy - the blog of the British Geological Survey. Helen is looking at their sediment properties and stability and how they may protect us from coastal flooding as sea levels rise.

Read more …

# Living in state housing in Africa: expectations, contradictions and consequences

Dr Charlotte Lemanski has co-edited a special edition of Transformation which explores state housing in Africa as a space of living. Increasing numbers of African citizens are living in state-supported housing, particularly in urban areas, but the everyday realities of living in (as opposed to legislating or delivering) state housing have been understudied. The six articles in this special edition cover a range of locations, from Luanda, to Nairobi, Maputo, Johannesburg, and Durban, and use a mixture of methods to explore different 'lived experiences'. This focus on the everyday lived experience illuminates the inherent tensions between the expectations of state housing policy – for example to create order and bring modernisation, to confer recognition and foster inclusion, to offer opportunity and provide stability – and the actual ways in which citizens use, live and perceive state housing, often in multiple, diverse and contradictory ways.

# Cambridge Geography talks snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan

PhD student Jonny Hanson is attending the International Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Summit, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 23rd - 25th August 2017.

The Summit brings together representatives from governments of the twelve snow leopard range countries, as well as of other interested nations, with international institutions, donor agencies, conservation organizations, and scientific institutions.

Given that snow leopard habitat provides water for a third of the human race, the focus is not only on conserving the species, and its habitat, for its priceless intrinsic value but also as a keystone species in Central Asia mountain ecosystems.

Jonny is participating on the basis of his soon-to-be-completed PhD in Geography entitled, 'Snow leopards and sustainability: livelihoods, governance and coexistence in the Nepal Himalayas'.

His innovative fieldwork with more than 700 local households and over 400 international tourists in the Everest and Annapurna regions of Nepal was carried out in collaboration with partners and colleagues from four continents.

Jonny's work is contributing to our understanding of this endangered species, and how we can help it to live alongside the remarkable communities who share its mountain home, through, for example, ecotourism and community development.

You can read more about Jonny's work on his blog.

# Ordnance Survey boss on the importance of Geography

Cambridge Alumnus and Chief Executive of the Ordnance Survey Nigel Clifford writes in this Saturday's Times on his career and the importance of Geography as a discipline. (Please note link contains paywall).

He says: 'It (Geography) taught me that the world is a system and that you have to think in systems terms when you are dealing with a problem or with an opportunity. When you are working in a world of ecosystems, it gives you that integrated view, a world where everything is connected. Geography is more relevant than it has ever been'

# Honorable Mention for Natura Urbana

The new documentary 'Natura Urbana The Brachen of Berlin' by Professor Matthew Gandy, created as part of his Rethinking Urban Nature project, has been awarded one of three 'honourable mentions' at the Karlsruhe Science Film Days. The win comes shortly after the film's victory in the 'Best German BioDiversity Film' category of NaturaVision Film Festival last month. Congratulations to Matthew and all the team!

Watch the film trailer.

# How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world

Wiki commons

Writing in The Conversation, Professor Bill Adams and Visiting Researcher Shane McCorristine explore the benefits that the search for mythical creatures such as the Yeti, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster might have for conservation. Cryptozoology, as it is known, has a long shared history with conservation and exploration. Furthermore, the article argues, cryptozoologists help to map the world's still undiscovered species and bring a sense of wonder to our ecological imagination that should not be discounted.

# Struggling with home ownership and wellbeing


A new paper by Honorary Professor Susan Smith and team explores how individuals' wellbeing is affected by transitioning in and out of home ownership. Although it has long been assumed that home ownership is a basic foundation of wellbeing, this study of individuals in the UK and Australia found that those struggling on the edges of home ownership might in fact experience an increase in their wellbeing once they had left home ownership and moved into renting. This was particularly the case in the UK, where the social rented sector may provide support for those in this situation.

Professor Smith says of the project: "If the test of a well-functioning housing system is the wellbeing of its occupants, the findings of this paper present a challenge for regimes anchored on owner-occupation. The edges of ownership are too broad, and the path to outright ownership too precarious, for home ownership to retain its reputation as a crucible of wellbeing. Institutional differences may inspire sustainable solutions within jurisdictions, but cross-national convergences dominate the findings, and they question the therapeutic qualities once ascribed to ownership-centred housing systems in the English-speaking world."

# SPRI Library catalogue search now online

We are proud to announce that the Library catalogue of the Scott Polar Research Institute is now available to be searched online. This has been the culmination of many years of data improvements and technical conversion work. The collection will also be added to the main University Library catalogue in 2018.

Read more …

# Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France

A new book by retired University Lecturer Dr Alan Baker explores how leisure groups in 19th century France served as expressions of the Revolutionary French concept of fraternité​. Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France, 1848-1914 uses a mass of unpublished and hitherto unused sources in provincial and national archives, to analyse the history, geography and cultural significance of amateur musical societies and sports clubs in eleven départements of France between 1848 and 1914. It demonstrates that, although these voluntary associations drew upon and extended the traditional concept of cooperation and community, and the Revolutionary concept of fraternity, they also incorporated the fundamental characteristics of competition and conflict. Although intended to produce social harmony, in practice they reflected the ideological hostilities and cultural tensions that permeated French society in the nineteenth century.

# Mycotourism: bringing social, political and ecological stability to Northern Spain?

A new paper published in Ecosphere by Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen and team explores a new model of 'mycotourism' emerging in central North-eastern Spain through mushroom industries. The paper describes how this novel branch of eco-tourism can help stabilize social and political structures and compensate for losses related to widespread unemployment and summer drought, as well as generate unexpectedly fruitful research opportunities.

Büntgen, U., J. Latorre, S. Egli, and F. Martínez-Peña. 2017. Socio-economic, scientific, and political benefits of mycotourism. Ecosphere 8(7):e01870. 10.1002/ecs2.1870

# Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment – this must change

Writing for The Conversation Department Reader Bhaskar Vira and Postdoctoral Research Associate Judith Schleicher explore the need to write the environment into our understandings of wealth and wellbeing. They argue that without nature, humans could be neither healthy nor happy, and yet the natural world can be completely ransacked without causing even a tiny blip on our usual measures of economic progress or poverty. Recognising that this needs to change is a crucial step towards building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable society.

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# New paper: urban atmospheres

Photo credit: “Lichtgrenze” Berlin by Matthew Gandy

Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy's AAG annual lecture entitled "Urban atmospheres" is now published in the journal Cultural Geographies. The paper explores the questions: What is an urban atmosphere? How can we differentiate an 'atmosphere' from other facets of urban consciousness and experience? It uses wider cultural, political, and philosophical connotations of atmospheres as a focal point for critical reflections on space and subjectivity.

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# Interdisciplinary tree-ring research in the Republic of Tuva

Together with a team of Russian archaeologists and ecologists from Karsnoyarsk, Ulf Büntgen (Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis) has been conducting fieldwork in the remote Republic of Tuva at the border between southern Siberia and northern Mongolia. During their two-week expedition, the interdisciplinary team was mainly searching for living trees and subfossil wood which can be used to improve and prolong existing climate reconstructions. The Republic of Tuva was chosen as it represents an important part of the homeland of nomadic step empires, such as the Scythians, Huns, Turks and Mongols. The role climate might have played in the rise and fall of these ancient, inner Eurasia cultures, however, remains unknown. Tuva's extremely continental climate allows scientists to develop temperature and drought sensitive tree-ring chronologies from the upper and lower treeline ecotones, respectively.

Based on a variety of different techniques, the newly collected material will be analysed both, in Krasnoyarsk as well as in Cambridge. The outcome is expected to help better understanding the causes and consequences of natural temperature variability during the last 2-3 millennia. The group is also hoping to contribute to the development of novel tree-ring records, which will enable the absolute dating of archaeological remains from some of the most famous Scythian "kurgan" burials, including Arzhan I and II.

# Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge

A new study by former Cambridge researcher David Christian Rose with Senior Research Associate Robert Doubleday and the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy explores the impact of 'policy windows' on the impact of scientific research. The team have put together a series of four stages for scientists to best engage with the occurrence of policy windows to encourage evidence-led policy.

Paper reference:

David C. Rose, Nibedita Mukherjee, Benno I. Simmons, Eleanor R. Tew, Rebecca J. Robertson, Alice B.M. Vadrot, Robert Doubleday, William J. Sutherland, Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge, Environmental Science & Policy

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# PhD student studies flowers of London Olympic Park

PhD student Marcus Nyman, part of the team working on Professor Matthew Gandy's ERC-funded project 'Rethinking Urban Nature' writes of his recent fieldtrip to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and the vast array of plantlife that he found there.

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# Alumnus warns of threat posed to sea levels by Greenland ice melting


Geography alumnus Dr Andrew Tedstone (Fitzwilliam, 2007) now Postdoctoral Researcher in Greenland Ice Sheet Research at University of Bristol is part of a team exploring the dangers by increased algae growth on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The growth of this algae, which darkens the ice and so increases its absorption of solar radiation, may speed up the melting of the Ice Sheet to a rate that is higher than current estimates, raising sea levels faster than expected.

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# Volatile Earth: Killer Volcanoes

Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer and Postdoctoral Research Associate Celine Vidal appear in the first episode of new More 4 series 'Volatile Earth'. Episode 1: 'Killer Volcanoes', broadcast tonight at 9pm, explores how a giant volcanic eruption on a small Indonesian island on the Pacific Ring of Fire wreaked global havoc in the mid-13th century, causing summer to turn to winter and leaving millions starving.

# Geography launches new alumni webpages

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new alumni webpages. These pages combine news, memories, photographs of Geography throughout the years and information on alumni benefits.

Do you have memories of your time at Cambridge Geography or updates on your activities since graduating that you'd like to share? Are there things that you'd like us to include in our alumni engagement programme? Let us know!

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# Webinar: Resources to implement nature based flood defence

On Thursday 20 July, Department Lecturer Iris Moeller will be appearing as part of a webinar on The MI-SAFE package: Resources to implement nature based flood defence. She will be discussing her work on the FAST (Foreshore Assessment Using Space Technology) project and the new MI-SAFE technology which combines existing and new earth observation data for coasts worldwide to estimate the contribution of vegetated foreshores towards coastal flood and erosion risk reduction.

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# Interview: Cities and Resilient Urban Economies

Head of Department Professor Ash Amin talks 'Cities' at a British Academy workshop on 'Resilient Urban Economies' with Dr Tatiana Thieme, Department alumna and ex-staff member. The interview explores unregulated city growth, the economic power of cities and the future of urban living.

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# Natura Urbana wins at NaturVision Film Festival

The documentary film 'Natura Urbana', directed by Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy won the 'German Biodiversity Film Award' at the NaturVision Film Festival in Ludwigsburg this weekend. The award is for the film which 'highlights the issue of biodiversity most impressively and intelligibly'. The film forms part of Professor Gandy's ERC-funded project Rethinking Urban Nature.

Congratulations to Professor Gandy and all the ERC-RUN team!

# Antarctic ice-shelf break-up

Ian Willis

A paper published this week in the Annals of Glaciology, by an international team including Alison Banwell and Ian Willis, identifies the causes of crack formation and propagation on the McMurdo Ice shelf, Antarctica, where they have recently been undertaking fieldwork. Eventually this rift will result in the calving of an iceberg from the ice shelf, through a similar process to that which enabled the large iceberg to break-off the Larsen C Ice Shelf, a few days ago. As the climate warms it is possible that such ice shelf calving events will become larger and more frequent.

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# Bookings are open for the Cambridge Teachers' and Advisers' Conference 2017

Bookings are open for the Cambridge Teachers' and Advisers' Conference 2017. Thursday 21 September.

Bringing together experienced admissions staff from across the collegiate University, the day will include sessions on the following topics:

  • An introduction to the admissions process and application and admissions statistics
  • Admissions Assessments and Interviews
  • Engaging with Cambridge – where to access support and information
  • Personal statements and teacher references
  • Supporting students with super-curricular learning

Representatives from the Department of Geography will also be there to answer your geography-specific questions.

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# Doomsday narratives about climate change don't work. But here's what does

Victoria Herrmann

Writing in The Guardian, Geography and Scott Polar PhD student Victoria Herrmann explores connections between stories of hopelessness and inaction in the face of climate change, and suggests the powerful role that narratives of hope could play instead.

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# New student Geography podcast

Student-run Cambridge University Geographical Society (CUGS) has started a new podcast: CUGSCast. The podcast promises to feature interviews with ' leading academics and students to get their advice on all things university.' Its first episode is now up, interviewing former lecturer Dr Alice Evans on how to read critically and plan a dissertation.

# Five go to Greenland...

Sam Cook

Five researchers from the Scott Polar Research Institute (3 PhD students, 1 Post Doc and Department Reader Poul Christoffersen) are currently undertaking a month of fieldwork at Store Glacier on the West Coast of Greenland. Read more about their activities.

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# Soumousso: The Impression of a Yorkshire Lass

Read a new blog by Year 2 Geography PhD student Sally about her time assisting PhD Zoology student Charlotte Payne in Burkina Faso.

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# 'This Cambridge Life': Rachel Mumford

Nick Saffell

In a profile for 'This Cambridge Life', third year undergraduate Rachel Mumford talks about her love for Geography, and her work encouraging state school students to apply to Cambridge. Rachel says of her time studying Geography: 'Geography is much broader than people think. If you say you're doing geography, people usually think about maps and glaciation. In fact, geography overlaps with many other subject areas. One day you're sitting in a lecture about the break-up of former Yugoslavia and the next you're listening to an expert talking about melting ice sheets.'

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# Nature sends us no bill, so we ignore it in our decisions

Nick Saffell

Department Reader Bhaskar Vira spoke last week to Business Standard, India's leading business daily newspaper about the need to incorporate ecological wisdom into our everyday decision-making.

Last week four Tibetan monks held prayers alongside the Naini lake, where mounds of dead fish were piled up because the water in the lake is drying up. But isn't the matter beyond prayer? All over India, hills are facing an acute shortage of water. What is the solution?

I'm always a little wary of suggesting simple solutions to what are usually complex problems. But, we need to start with a change in our attitudes to what nature provides us. We have tended to take these 'gifts' for granted … clean air, water, forests, and the species that inhabit these spaces, all of which contribute to improving our lives. Nature does not send us a bill for these services, so we ignore them in decision-making, until we hit a moment of crisis, such as the current shortage of water. We need to incorporate ecological wisdom into our everyday decision-making. We need to understand how water flows, how our decisions impact on these flows, and to learn to treat nature with the respect it deserves. We need to reinvest in nature rather than contributing to its destruction.

India is not a dry country but almost all of the rain falls during the monsoon. How can we safely store and transport water so that it's available 12 months a year, and distributed evenly throughout the country? How can we prevent encroachment in hill towns and sensitise local populations about it?

The problem in India is both to do with the timing of the rains, and where the rain falls — there is both temporal and spatial unevenness. So, in any given year, we will get most of the rainfall in the three-four months of the monsoon; and, in any given year, we will also see a pattern of scarcity (too little rain in some places) and plenty (too much rain in others).

We can't change this pattern — but we can develop ways to cope with it. One key issue is storage of water, both above ground (in ponds, lakes, tanks, and rivers) and below ground (in terms of aquifer and groundwater recharge). For example, in Nainital, allowing Sukhatal to serve as a buffer for the main lake, storing water in the monsoon, and then slowly releasing it in subsequent months are very sensible ways to manage the problem of too much monsoon rain. Up and down the country, we have traditional tanks and storage systems that are being built and encroached upon, with developers unaware and unconcerned about the implications for the associated disruption to hydrological systems.

The encroachment issue is related. Many of these water storage systems are temporary or seasonal, critical for a few months, but then apparently falling into disuse for the rest of the year. This temporary availability of space encourages encroachment and the occupation of land. These pressures can, and must, be resisted. We need to carefully demarcate these 'critical water zones', and ensure that they are protected. With modern technology, and a vigilant civil society, monitoring compliance should not be too difficult. It is important for local populations to realise that they can address these problems, and to pressure the authorities to ensure compliance with land use and zoning regulations.

Read the rest of the Business Standard's Q&A with Dr Bhaskar Vira (published 2 July 2017).

# The capital of drinking: did 19th-century Liverpool deserve its reputation?

In his new book, Sidney Sussex Lecturer David Beckingham looks at the rigorous licencing regime that Liverpool's authorities put in place to tighten their grip on problem drinking in the pubs that proliferated across the city. Similar attitudes frame today's perceptions of public and private alcohol consumption.

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# Tree rings pinpoint eruption of Icelandic volcano to half a century before human settlement

An international group of researchers led by Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen, and including Senior Research Associate Paul Krusic, Professor of Geography Christine Lane and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer has dated a large volcanic eruption in Iceland to within a few months. The eruption, which is the oldest volcanic eruption to be precisely dated at high northern latitudes, occurred shortly before the first permanent human settlements were established, when parts of the now mostly treeless island were still covered with forest.

The team used a combination of scientific and historical evidence to pinpoint the eruption date of the Katla volcano between late 822 CE and early 823 CE, decades before the earliest settlers arrived. Their results are reported in the journal Geology.

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# Experience Cambridge at the Department of Geography

Yesterday marked the first day of Experience Cambridge, an outreach programme where prospective applicants to the University of Cambridge can experience undergraduate teaching, study and life. Participants were hosted across departments at the University with postgraduate students and lecturers providing a varied programme of seminars, workshops, and fieldwork activities in their specialist subject.

Within the Department of Geography, four PhD students hosted a group of A-level students from state-funded schools in London and the surrounding area. The day centered around the global food system. The chocolate industry was used to demonstrate the highly globalised nature of food supply chains and the challenges this posed to different actors - food producers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

The morning session began with an overview of the challenges facing the food system presented by Oliver Taherzadeh. Tanvi Bhatkal discussed the importance of examining these challenges from different perspectives (social, economic, and environmental), at different spatial scales, and from the vantage point of different stakeholders - food producers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. In the first activity, students were tasked with mapping the global supply chain of chocolate using news articles, research papers, and data on the production, consumption, and trade of key ingredients (cocoa, palm oil, and sugar) in a chocolate bar.

Students were surprised to learn how the humble chocolate bar connected different countries. One student rightly noted how the global supply network of chocolate reflected the divide in wealth between the Global South, where raw ingredients are commonly produced, and the Global North, where they accumulate most value in processing, manufacturer, and consumption stages.

Students then discussed the social, economic, environmental, and regulatory challenges across the supply chain of a chocolate bar. Scenarios were used to explore the uneven terms of trade between different supply chain actors and to identify policies which might promote more equitable and sustainable strategies of risk-sharing.

In the afternoon session students visited the botanic gardens. PhD students Helen Brooks and Amy McGuire led a tour of the gardens where they discussed the agronomic and physiological determinants underpinning crop productivity and biodiversity.

The morning and afternoon sessions illustrated the complementary nature of human and physical geography in tackling pressing challenges surrounding the global food system, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, resource exhaustion, and sustainable livelihoods.

"I was impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the students across the broad range of activities we completed - they demonstrate the qualities of budding Geographers" said Oliver Taherzadeh, Coordinator

The students will return to Cambridge at the end of July for the second day of the programme, where they will receive a College tour and learn in more detail about the undergraduate programme in Geography.

Before the second day of Experience Cambridge, they will be required to complete a fact-file research assignment on a food product of their choice detailing the various challenges linked to its consumption, production, and trade. The assignment is intended to teach the students key skills in undergraduate study and research: to identify and reference sources of research and information; to communicate complex information in a straightforward way; and, to work independently against a time constraint.

Experience Cambridge is the first of our Summer programmes for prospective students, as we look forward to welcoming students to our Open Days on Thursday 6 July and Friday 7 July and to running our Sutton Trust Summer School for Year 12 students in August.

# Geography Science Laboratories receives NUS Green Impact Platinum award

We are pleased to announce that the Geography Science Laboratories have received an NUS Green Impact Platinum award - the highest available award. Geography was one of only two labs in the University to achieve this level. The award reflects dedication to positive environmental action. The awards programme helps reduce energy, water and general waste across the labs.

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# How can Cambridge research enable the world to sustain a population of nine billion?

Department Senior Lecturer David Nally is speaking this Saturday at the Sainsbury Laboratory on the subject of 'How can Cambridge research enable the world to sustain a population of nine billion?' as part of a Vice Chancellor's Circle event. The Vice-Chancellor's Circle was created in 2007 as part of the Cambridge 800th Anniversary Campaign. It provides the University and the Colleges with an opportunity to recognise and thank those donors who have provided significant support for key projects and programmes that underpin excellence at Cambridge.

# Geography staff at the Prince's Trust

Department Senior Lecturers Harriet Allen and Philip Howell and Reader Bhaskar Vira are presenting at the Prince's Trust Teaching Institute Residential on Geography at Homerton College this week. This event is for Geography teachers from across the UK to enrich their curricula and learn about new technologies and developments in the field.

# Off-stage ecosystem service burdens

Placed-based sustainability efforts often fail to recognise the risk of turning up the environmental pressure elsewhere

In a study recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Moran Professor of Development and Conservation Bill Adams, together with a team of colleagues from Spain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, has looked at how ecosystem assessments often overlook what they describe as "distant, diffuse and delayed" impacts.

These impacts, termed "off-stage ecosystem service burdens" by Lead author Unai Pascual from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and his colleagues may be critical for global sustainability.

To succeed, these burdens must be better recognised and incorporated in ecosystem assessments such as those led by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Some policies do recognise environmental leakage of particular impacts, for example where protection of a coral reef from fishing leads to more fishing in neighbouring sites. However 'off stage burdens' also include impacts that differ from the 'on stage impacts'. For example where people displaced from fishing revert to activities that cause other types of environmental impacts such as diffuse pollutant or emissions of climate. Off-stage burdens ultimately impact people's quality of life but these are often in distant populations or even future generations. As such they are difficult to measure and are generally outside the scope of most environmental policies and ecosystem service assessments.

Jeopardising the Sustainable Development Goals

Lead author Unai Pascual from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) argues that neglecting these off-stage burdens may jeopardise achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

"For global sustainability to be achieved, assessments and policies need to account for impacts on ecosystems and people across sites and scales. The lack of attention to off-stage burdens is partly because of the methodological difficulties and costs involved in systematically addressing them and the absence of effective institutions. But also because they have not been recognized as important components in ecosystem assessment frameworks," he says.

In the study, Pascual and his colleagues suggest various ways for science and decision-makers to deal with these "burdens" in ecosystem assessments. Fundamentally, there is a need to merge work on environmental impacts and risk analysis with ecosystem service assessments across time and space. This then must be converted into relevant policy action. In addition, we can measure and visualise burdens by using existing concepts such as 'virtual water' which, for example, captures how consuming imported goods in one place impacts water supplies in regions where these goods are produced.

Story highlights

  1. Ecosystem assessments often overlook what they describe as "distant, diffuse and delayed" impacts.
  2. These impacts are categorised as "off-stage ecosystem service burdens" and may be critical for global sustainability.
  3. These burdens must be better recognised and incorporated in ecosystem assessments such as those led by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

# Cambridge researchers map climate variation over 900 years

A team of researchers including Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen, Senior Research Associate Paul Krusic and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer have reconstructed, for the first time, a record of May-June and August-September temperature variability for the period 1186-2014 across most of the Iberian Peninsula and northwestern Africa. This has been completed using 414 measurement series from living and derelict pine trees in the Spanish central Pyrenees. This new reconstruction reveals overall warmer conditions around 1200 and 1400, and again after around 1850. The coldest reconstructed summer in 1258 (−4.4°C compared to 1961–90) followed the largest known volcanic eruption of the period. The twentieth century is characterized by pronounced summer cooling in the 1970s, subsequently rising temperatures until 2003, and a slowdown of warming afterward.

These findings will have substantial implications on our understandings of regional climate variability and the impact of volcanic eruptions on temperature changes.

Büntgen U, Krusic P, Verstege A, Sangüesa Barreda G, Wagner S, Camarero JJ, Zorita E, Ljungqvist FC, Konter O, Oppenheimer C, Tegel W, Gärtner H, Cherubini P, Reinig F, Esper J (2017) New tree-ring evidence from the Pyrenees reveals western Mediterranean climate variability since medieval times. Journal of Climate 30: 5295-5318

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# Geography open days: bookings now open

Bookings are open for the Department of Geography Open Day as part of the University of Cambridge Open Day on the 6th and 7th July 2017. Come and join us in the Department for a taster lecture, course talk and displays on Department life with staff and students- or come and see our subject stand at the Law Faculty all day. Book now.

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# Promotions at the Department of Geography

Many congratulations to the following staff members on their recent promotions:

Congratulations to all!

# Geography Science Labs achieve Platinum NUS Green Impact award

Many congratulations to the Geography Science Labs, which have achieved a Platinum NUS Green Impact Award. This is the highest award in the scheme and a great achievement- well done to all involved!

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# New advances in tephrochronology

A special edition of Quaternary Geochronology, guest edited by a team led by Professor of Geography Christine Lane, explores recent advances in the field of tephrochronology. Layers of far-travelled volcanic ash (tephra) from explosive volcanic eruptions provide can provide important dating contexts in sedimentary and volcanic samples. Tephra layers may be dispersed over tens to thousands of kilometres from source, reaching far beyond individual volcanic regions. Tephrochronology is consequently a truly global dating tool. This special issue of the International Focus Group on Tephrochronology and Volcanism (INTAV) showcases some of the many recent advances in tephrochronology, from methodological developments to diverse applications across volcanological, archaeological, and palaeoclimatological research.

The edition also includes a paper authored by a team lead by new Cambridge post doc Dr Catherine Martin-Jones and including Christine Lane and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer which provides a new database of tephra samples in the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia.

Quaternary Geochronology, Volume 40, Pages 1-146 (May 2017):

Advancing tephrochronology as a global dating tool: applications in volcanology, archaeology, and palaeoclimatic research. Edited by Christine Lane, Simon Blockley, David J. Lowe, Victoria Smith and Takehiko Suzuki

# Extension of research collaboration between Cambridge and Yakutsk, Russia

A collaborative project between Cambridge Enterprise and the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU), Yakutsk, Russia, has received a further three years of funding until Dec 2019. The project is lead by retired Head of Anthropology and Russian Northern Studies Dr Piers Vitebsky, now Professor at the University of Tromsø in Norway and Honorary Prof at the North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk, and has run since January 2013. The programme was set up as a consultancy project, to help Russian scholars write articles in a suitable style – and in English – to be considered for publication in internationally-recognised journals, as well as to run joint fieldwork projects between Cambridge and NEFU.

The results have been an outstanding success, and include the following:

– Of the 30 articles submitted to journals, 20 have been published, 10 more are under review.

– Two successful applications for British Council grants have allowed NEFU researchers to spend a total of 12 months in Cambridge, participating in seminars and learning to draft articles in English.

– The Rector of NEFU has twice visited Cambridge and held talks with the Cambridge VC about expanding relations between the two universities. During her last visit in February 2016 she invested Dr Vitebsky with the title of Honorary Professor of NEFU.

– The project has been featured positively in the publicity of Cambridge, NEFU and the British Council.

– The results of the project have been featured in several international conferences and workshops in Europe and North America.

# America's eroding edges: stories from the field

Victoria Herrmann

PhD student Victoria Herrmann is documenting her fieldwork exploring the effects of climate change on communities across America in a series of blog posts and articles. Victoria is currently travelling across the US and its territories, interviewing communities directly affected by shoreline erosion and climate change, and recording the impact on their ways of life.

Read more …

# Research accurately dates medieval Western Siberian village for the first time

New research published in Dendochronologica by a team involving Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen has precisely dated, for the first time, a medieval settlement in Russia's Northen Siberia.

The Buchta Nakhodka settlement is the only archaeological site in the northern part of Western Siberia that has been fully excavated. The team applied dendrochronological (tree ring analysis) techniques to absolutely date 13 of the most important archaeological timbers from the settlement, placing construction into the second quarter of the 13th century.

By combining literary analysis, archaeological, dendrochronological, ethnographical and (archaeo)zoological evidence, the team have suggested relationships between the ancient inhabitants of Buchta Nakhodka and other ancient nations in Western Siberia and across into Iceland. In providing unique insights into the medieval settlement history of the northern part of Western Siberia, The team hope to encourage further interdisciplinary research projects to be launched at Eurasia's high-northern latitudes.

Maya O. Sidorova, Ulf Büntgen, Gulzar T. Omurova, Oleg V. Kardash, Vladimir S. Myglan, First dendro-archaeological evidence of a completely excavated medieval settlement in the extreme north of Western Siberia, Dendrochronologia, Volume 44, June 2017, Pages 146-152, ISSN 1125-7865, 

# The real story behind Britain’s geological exit

In Physics Today, Professor of Quaternary Paleoenvironments Phil Gibbard explores new evidence from the floor of the Dover Strait which helps paint a picture of how the island of the UK has repeatedly separated from and rejoined the European continent.

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# Natura Urbana nominated for German Biodiversity Film Award

Congratulations to Professor Matthew Gandy, who's film 'Natura Urbana' has been nominated for the German Biodiversity Film Award at NaturVision Film Festival.

'Natura Urbana' forms part of Professor Gandy's ERC-funded project Rethinking Urban Nature.

# Prince Albert II of Monaco becomes Patron of SPRI

We are pleased to announce that HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has agreed to become Patron of the Scott Polar Research Institute. Prince Albert, who has visited both poles and whose great- great-grandfather, Albert I, was a prominent Arctic explorer, has strong ongoing interests in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Prince Albert said of his new role, "I am delighted to become Patron of the Scott Polar Research Institute and to support their important research and heritage activities relating to the Arctic and Antarctic, especially in the context of the continuing environmental changes affecting these sensitive parts of the global climate system".

Prince Albert has visited the SPRI on several previous occasions and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has also supported the research work of the Institute.

# Are universities ready for a new kind of science?

Is the knowledge and scholarship that universities produce relevant to the problems the world faces? In a new essay co-authored with an international group of researchers, Dr Bhaskar Vira, Reader at the Department of Geography argues that in order for science to best serve society and the planet, universities and researchers need to adjust their focus and take responsibility for institutional innovation in five key areas.

Read more …

# How battles over booze shaped modern Liverpool

College Lecturer Dr David Beckingham is interviewed by Liverpool University Press on his new book: 'The Licensed City: Regulating drink in Liverpool 1830-1920'.

In nineteenth-century Britain few cities could rival Liverpool for recorded drunkenness. Civic pride at Liverpool's imperial influence was undercut by anxieties about social problems that could all be connected to alcohol, from sectarian unrest and prostitution in the city's streets to child neglect and excess mortality in its slums. These dangers, heightened in Liverpool by the apparent connections between the drink trade and the city's civic elite, marked urban living and made alcohol a pressing political issue. As a temperance movement emerged to tackle the dangers of drink, campaigners challenged policy makers to re-imagine the acceptable reach of government. While national leaders often failed to agree on what was practically and philosophically palatable, social reformers in Liverpool focused on the system that licensed the sale of drink in the city's pubs and beerhouses. By reforming licensing, they would later boast, Liverpool had tackled its reputation as the drunkenness capital of England. The Licensed City reveals just how battles over booze have made the modern city. As such, it confronts whether licensing is equipped to regulate today's problem drinking.

Read more …

# 1964 Group returns to Cambridge

On Saturday 3 June we were delighted to welcome back to the Department 31 members of the alumni year group who matriculated in 1964, marking 50 years since they graduated. The group toured an exhibition of Departmental memorabilia and listened to talks by our Head of Department and current undergraduate and graduate students before enjoying an excellent lunch in Downing.

An excellent day- many thanks to all who were involved!

# Ecology talk with Ulf Buentgen

Tomorrow, Tuesday 6 June, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen will give a talk to the ecology group entitled "Cross-disciplinary tree-ring research from the cell to the globe and from the present to the Holocene".

Prof Buentgen will review recent advancements within the emerging field of tree-ring research, including wood anatomy and will describe how novel data, methods and perspectives have been used to define, shift and overcome disciplinary boundaries. Ranging from the cell to the globe and from the present to the early Holocene, the various topics will underline the relevance of annually resolved and absolutely dated tree-ring chronologies for providing a unique temporal dimension and dating accuracy to many studies across natural sciences and the humanities.

The meeting will be in the David Attenborough Building room number 2.49 at 12 pm on Tuesday (06 Jun 2017)

# Cambridge Geographer speaks on nuclear risk

PhD student Makoto Takahashi presented on nuclear power and risk at two recent high-profile events: speaking on 'Framing nuclear power' at the Franco-British nuclear energy seminar at the Maison Francaise in Oxford and on 'Politics, populism and nuclear risk: learning from Japan's anti-nuclear movement' at the 3rd NERIS Workshop, in Lisbon. The NERIS platform brings together specialists from around the world to develop best practice in managing nuclear emergencies.

# Two department researchers awarded Leverhulme Fellowships

Congratulations to two Department Researchers who have received Leverhulme 3-year Early Career Fellowships. Dr Olga Petri will undertake a fellowship on 'Beastly St Petersburg: Humans and Other Animals in Imperial Russia' and Dr Eszter Kovacs will undertake one on 'Contesting the Marginality of Rural Areas: The Future of Land in Eastern Europe'.

Congratulations to both!

# Stormy Geomorphology: new EGU blog

James Tempest

A new post on the European Geosciences Union blog by a team including James Tempest, Dr Iris Moeller and Prof Tom Spencer explores the role that geomorphology can play in improving our understanding of flood risk through extreme storm and flood events. In addition, they show how geomorphological science is now regularly used to deliver nature-based management approaches, such as the creation of coastal wetlands. Such approaches are delivering more sustainable forms of flood and storm defence that are effective in reducing damage and destruction brought about by extreme events.

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# Cambridge welcomes fungal ecology scholars

The Department and Professor Ulf Buentgen are currently hosting a 2-day international workshop for scholars interested in European fungal fruiting phenology and productivity, especially in relation to mapping climate change.

The workshop features scholars from across Europe and from the US who have come together for two days of productive discussions and updates on ongoing projects and planning for future initiatives.

Welcome all!

# Biodiversity Offsetting: who is affected and how?

A new paper by PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh explores the adoption of Biodiversity Offsetting in England, an instrument designed to enable biodiversity losses in one place to be compensated through conservation improvements elsewhere. The paper's findings suggest that there is a need for a broader understanding of issues surrounding access to nature, ownership status of sites of common heritage and distributive justice when thinking about biodiversity loss and its compensation.

O. Taherzadeh, P. Howley, 'No net loss of what, for whom? stakeholder perspectives to biodiversity offsetting in England', Environment, Development and Sustainability, (2017). doi:10.1007/s10668-017-9967-z

# NCK trip to Cambridge Botanic Garden

On Wednesday 24 May, Research theme Natures, Cultures, Knowledges organised a trip to Cambridge Botanic Garden. They were given a tour by the Head of Education, Head of Horticulture and Curator with a particular focus on the redevelopment of the Systematic Beds. These beds were set up in 1846 to illustrate the ways in which plants are taxonomically grouped into families, reflecting particular ideas of evolution. As environmental science and groupings have since changed, the beds are going through a major 'sort out', and it is a fascinating moment to explore the decisions that are being made to reflect different ideas of taxonomy and beauty on the ground.

The group also heard a paper by Dr Berris Charnley of St Anne's College, Oxford, on ''A Corner in Wheat (1909): Large Technological Systems and the History of Genetics, 1900-1930' on the 1909 film A Corner in Wheat by DW Griffith.

Congratulations to NCK organisers on an excellent afternoon!

# Society is ready for a new kind of science - is academia?

Nick Saffell

Department Reader Dr Bhaskar Vira is part of a team of co-authors, from a wide range of academic institutions and outside academia, behind a new article on Bioscience which contains important challenges to modern research. The article makes crucial arguments for the ways in which academic institutions need to drastically innovate in order to produce science that is of service to society and the planet.

An interview with fellow co-author Dr Bonnie Keeler on the project is also available.

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# Resilient cities: new film

Head of Department Professor Ash Amin appears in a new British Academy film exploring questions of urbanisation and resilience: What are resilient cities? Why do plural urban economies matter? How can policy help address the challenges of urbanisation?

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# Kamchatkan volcanic ash travels half the world

Raymond S Bradley

Geochemical fingerprinting links microscopic ash found on the bottom of a Svalbard lake to volcanic event happening 7000 years ago and 5000 km away.

Eruptions are cataclysmic events that may impact people living far from their volcanic sources. Just think back to the summer of 2010, when ash from an obscure Icelandic volcano blanketed European airspace, disrupting flights for weeks.

A collaboration between researchers at the University of Bergen and Professor Christine Lane here at the University of Cambridge has now demonstrated that volcanic ash can travel even further, linking microscopic ash from an Arctic Lake to an eruption 7000 years ago, that occurred on Russia`s Kamchatka peninsula. A film of the project is also available.

Beyond the usual suspects

This find, recently published in the scientific journal Quaternary Science Reviews, expands the known dispersal range of volcanic ash by thousands of kilometers.

"Being both volcanically active and lying nearby, I expected our ash to originate from Iceland: this study really highlights the need to look beyond the usual suspects in this line of research," Willem van der Bilt, lead-author and researcher at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research points out. The results also raises questions about the factors influencing the dispersal of volcanic ash.

"The eruption that produced our ash was larger than most, but smaller than others who did not spread out their ash across the Hemisphere. Day-to-day shifts in weather factors like the speed and direction of winds surely helped this ash come such a long way," van der Bilt says.

Electron beam bombardment

To find the ash, van der Bilt worked with Christine Lane, Professor of Geography here at the University of Cambridge, to carry out a range of delicate lab procedures.

"In the end, we found and analyzed 6 particles with less than half the width of a human hair: quite literally, more than meets the eye," van der Bilt adds.

First, ash was separated from lake sediments -- like skimming off foam from milk. Next, ash was identified under a microscope and extracted during a tricky manoeuvre with a 10 cm long needle. Finally, in a procedure that seems to come straight from a science-fiction movie, individual ash particles were bombarded by an electron beam to determine their chemistry.

"Like human DNA, the composition of volcanic ash is unique. Geochemical analysis help us fingerprint this signature and match it with an eruption," says van der Bilt.

Time flies

But the implications of the paper go beyond challenging assumptions about the distance that volcanic ash clouds can travel. Most volcanic ash settles on the ground within weeks after an eruption, forming layers of identical age in geological records like the analyzed lake sediments.

"Thinking about the dispersal and deposition of such ash markers in this way, time quite literally flies. The ash we found travelled across three continents and allows synchronization of all the records taken from its vast fallout areas that contain it. If such records hold information on past climate change, our ash marker enables us to investigate cause-effect and lead-lag relationships in Earth`s climate system -- information that is highly valuable to help understand processes driving climate changes like those seen today," van der Bilt concludes.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Bergen. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Willem G.M. van der Bilt, Christine S. Lane, Jostein Bakke. Ultra-distal Kamchatkan ash on Arctic Svalbard: Towards hemispheric cryptotephra correlation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 2017; 164: 230 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.04.007

# Geography is awarded Silver Green Impact Award

The Department of Geography has been awarded a Silver NUS Green Impact Award.

The Geography Green Impact Team worked hard to complete a bespoke workbook of green actions, which was reviewed by external auditors. Categories that the Department was judged on included procurement, events, social media, recycling, communication and environmental awareness.

Congratulations to the team!

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# New film: What works in reducing income inequality?

Alice Evans 2017

A new film by Department Lecturer Dr Alice Evans explores the question: What works in reducing income inequality? While political analysis of development often focuses on incentives, this film illustrates why ideas matter, and how they can change over time.

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# European Union and Disunion: film

By © Superbass / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0,

Head of Department and 1931 Professor of Geography Professor Ash Amin appears in a new film by the British Academy on the subject of 'European Union and Disunion'. The film captures a conference held at the British Academy and chaired by Prof Amin in November 2016 which explored some of the drawn-out narratives and sentiments that at different times have aided or compromised the imagining and workings of Europe. The proceedings of the conference are published in the forthcoming volume: A. Amin and P. Lewis, European Union and Disunion: Reflections on European Identity (British Academy, 2017).

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# New paper: Negative luminescence

Professor Matthew Gandy's new paper Negative luminescence (OA) has been published in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. The increasingly pervasive phenomenon of light pollution spans several different fields of concern, including the loss of the night sky, energy wastage, and the effects of artificial light on circadian rhythms and nocturnal ecology. Although the scale of the problem has grown significantly in recent decades, the underlying dynamics remain only partially understood beyond the identification of specific technological pathways such as the rise of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or the capitalist transformation of the nocturnal realm. It is suggested that current approaches to the study of light, including the identification of "urban atmospheres," the elaboration of existing approaches to urban ecology, or the extension of "smart city" type discourses, do not capture the full complexity of the politics of light under late modernity.

Keywords: light pollution, nocturnal ecology, urban atmospheres, urban infrastructure.

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# Geography alumnus gets into a diplomatic incident... with a boar

Wiki commons

Geography alumnus and Ambassador to Austria Leigh Turner (Downing, 1979) made headlines yesterday when he wrote about a recent narrow run-in that he'd had with a wild boar on the outskirts of Vienna.

You can read more about Leigh Turner's ambassadorial escapades on his blog.

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# Scientia: Using nature to protect us from... nature

The work of Department Lecturer Dr Iris Moeller and Cambridge Coastal Research Unit on the role of salt marshes in protecting coastlines from storm surges appears in a new profile in Scientia.

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# ERC RUN at the AAG 2017

Marcus Nyman 2017

PhD student Marcus Nyman, who is working on the Rethinking Urban Nature project, has recently returned from AAG- the American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting in Boston. In a new blog post, he reflects on the experience of attending the conference, and on the urban wastelands he found while exploring the city.

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# Votes for Water: Nepal Elections

Toby Smith 2017

Department Research Associate Eszter Kovàcs and photographer Toby Smith are in Nepal, documenting the first local government elections held in 20 years. They've produced this photo essay that explores the elections, and the increasing role played by water in Nepalese politics.

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# This Cambridge Life: Bhaskar Vira

Department Reader Dr Bhaskar Vira is profiled in 'This Cambridge Life' where he talks about boarding school in the Himalayas, conservation and never having studied Geography...

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# New Cambridge research tracks changes to supraglacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet


A new paper by a team at the Scott Polar Research Institute presents a novel method for tracking changes to individual supraglacial lakes in West Greenland using MODIS satellite imagery. The method developed is a Fully Automated Supraglacial lake Tracking ("FAST") algorithm that tracks changes to individual lake areas and volumes over successive images. This builds on previous research by calculating supraglacial lake volumes as well as areas, and can be applied to large areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The FAST algorithm is being used in ongoing research into Greenland Ice Sheet hydrology. The team comprises PhD student Andrew Williamson, University Senior Lecturer Dr Neil Arnold, Leverhulme/Newton Trust Research Fellow Dr Alison Banwell, and University Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Willis.

Andrew G. Williamson, Neil S. Arnold, Alison F. Banwell, Ian C. Willis, A Fully Automated Supraglacial lake area and volume Tracking ("FAST") algorithm: Development and application using MODIS imagery of West Greenland, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 196, July 2017, Pages 113-133.

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# Using tree rings to date a 650 year old volcanic eruption


A new paper in the Bulletin of Volcanology by a team including Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer has used a Northern Hemisphere tree-ring network extending back over the past 650+ years to establish changing temperatures of the 1450s. These changing temperatures are likely to be connected to the South Pacific Kuwae eruption, whose date has been under debate. The team's modelling now suggests that this eruption occurred in 1452, leading to a 15 year period of colder temperatures.

Esper J, Büntgen U, Hartl-Meier CTM, Oppenheimer C, Schneider L (2017) Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies during the 1450s period of ambiguous volcanic forcing. Bulletin of Volcanology 79: 41 doi: 10.1007/s00445-017-1125-9

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# David Nally discusses Malthus and food security


In an article that also appeared in Cam Magazine, Department Senior Lecturer Dr David Nally discusses Thomas Malthus, climate change and the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative.

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# Professor Andrew Cliff awarded the Victoria Medal

Emeritus Professor Andrew Cliff has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Victoria Medal for research excellence in spatial epidemiology. Professor Cliff's work explores the applications of spatial diffusion models to the spread of epidemic diseases, to predict and control their spatial spread. The 2017 recipients will be presented with their medals and awards at a ceremony held at the Society on Monday 5 June.

It is the second year in a row that a Department staff member has been awarded the Victoria Medal, following the award to Professor Ron Martin in 2016. It is the 11th time that a Cambridge researcher has received this award. Many congratulations to Professor Cliff and to all the RGS medal winners.

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# The Department of Geography is now on Instagram

The Department of Geography now has its own Instagram page. Follow us there, or on Twitter or Facebook for all the latest Geography news!

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# Cambridge Geography at Latin American Studies Association 2017

Cambridge geographers have been attending the Latin American Studies Association in Lima this week. Leverhulme Research Fellow Dr Sam Halvorsen co-organised a panel that brought together geographers based in and working with several countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, UK, USA. The panel included Professor of Latin American Geography Prof Sarah Radcliffe alongside Juan Wahren (University of Buenos Aires/CONICET); Juan Miguel Kanai (University of Sheffield), Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge), Astrid Ulloa (National University of Colombia), Bernardo Mançano Fernandes (Sao Paulo State University). You can listen to a recording of the panel (please note that, aside from the introduction, the recording is in Spanish).

Prof Radcliffe also appeared at an 'author meets critics' session on her 2015 work: Dilemmas of Difference Indigenous Women and the Limits of Postcolonial Development Policy.

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# Polar PhD student explores the Russian Arctic

Iain Rudkin

Polar PhD student Rebecca Vignols has been live blogging her fieldwork trip to the Russian Arctic, accompanied by her supervisor University Senior Lecture Dr Gareth Rees, and Iain Rudkin and Yulia Zaika. Rebecca is currently completing her PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute on "Understanding future changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover".

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# Bhaskar Vira Delivers keynote to the United Nations

Toby Smith and Open Book Publishers

About one in nine people globally still suffer from hunger with the majority of the hungry living in Africa and Asia. The world's forests have great potential to improve their nutrition and ensure their livelihoods. In fact, forests and forestry are essential to achieve food security as the limits of boosting agricultural production are becoming increasingly clear. These are some of the key messages in a keynote speech being delivered on Wednesday 3 May at the United Nations by Department Reader, Dr Bhaskar Vira at the 12th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, which focuses on the Contribution of Forests to the 2017 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development theme: "Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World".

Dr Vira was Chair of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forest and Food Security coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO). He is member of the project team for the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition which is part of the Committee on World Food Security, and will release its report on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition in June 2017. Dr Vira's work in this area has appeared in an open access, free to read book published by Cambridge-based Open Book Publishers.

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# Building resilience in socio-ecological simulations

Wiki commons

Assistant Director of Research in Computing Dr Mike Bithell is presenting at a Lorentz Centre Workshop 'Cross-scale Resilience In Socio-Ecological Simulations' in Leiden today. Dr Bithell will be presenting a poster on "Global models of social-environmental-technical systems" as part of the workshop, which explores the development of simulations to help understand the impact of mankind on local ecologies.

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# New book: Handbook on the Geographies of Money and Finance

Professor of Economic Geography Ron Martin has co-edited a new volume: Handbook on the Geographies of Money and Finance. The aim of this timely work, which appears in the wake of the worst global financial crisis since the late 1920s, is to bring together high quality research-based contributions from leading international scholars involved in constructing a geographical perspective on money. Topics covered include the crisis, the spatial circuits of finance, regulation, mainstream financial markets (banking, equity, etc), through to the various 'alternative' and 'disruptive' forms of money that have arisen in recent years. It will be of interest to geographers, political scientists, sociologists, economists, planners and all those interested in how money shapes and reshapes socio-economic space and conditions local and regional development.

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# Cambridge Geography makes it 10 years at the top

The Department is pleased to announce that the University of Cambridge has come top for Geography & Environmental Studies in the Complete University Guide 2018 for the 10th year in a row.

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# How does climate change affect the behaviour of certain species?


A new paper led by Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen uses hunting data on four of the most common ungulate species in the European Alps (ibex, chamois, red deer, and roe deer) to explore how warmer temperatures affected their movements and spatial distribution, as well as how they may adapt to such changes in climate over time.

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# The Future of Cities: Film

Watch Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy chair a discussion on the future of cities for the British Academy in conversation with Dr Ayona Datta (KCL) and Prof Simon Marvin (Sheffield). The film explores key questions about urban change: Is our understanding of urban infrastructure changing? Do we need to move beyond discussions about 'smart cities' and digital innovation? What pathways exist for the city of the future?

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# Cambridge Coastal Research: live press conference

Flooding in La-Faute-sur-Mer, 2010

On Tuesday 25 April, 8am-9am, the research of a team including Professor of Coastal Dynamics Tom Spencer will feature in a live press conference from the European GeoSciences Union General Assembly. The press conference will present findings from the team's Paper 'Impact of storms on coastlines: preparing for the future without forgetting the past? Examples from European coastlines using a Storm Impact Database' appearing in the 'Natural hazard event analyses for risk reduction and adaptation' session of the conference. The press conference will be live streamed. Prof Spencer is one of a large group of researchers from both the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit and Climate and Environment Dynamics team presenting at the assembly.

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# Charlotte Lemanski wins Geographical Association Award

Department Lecturer Dr Charlotte Lemanski has won a Geographical Association Journal Article award for her article 'Poverty: multiple perspectives and strategies' published in Geography, Spring 2016. Geography is a journal published by the Geographical Association for the use of teachers and A Level Students in particular. The awards recognise articles in each of the Association's three journals (Geography, Teaching Geography and Primary Geography) which have made the greatest contribution to the development of good practice and is voted for by Association members on their website.


# SPRI Review 2016

SPRI Review 2016 is now available online. SPRI Review is the Annual Report issued by the Scott Polar Research Institute, giving information on the Institute's activities over the past year.

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# Climate and Environment Dynamics researchers at EGU 2017

Wiki commons

Five researchers from the Climate and Environmental Dynamics group will be presenting their research at the 2017 General Assembly of the European Geophysical Union at the end of April. The annual congress brings together geoscientists from all over the world and covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The team will be joining a group from Cambridge Coastal Research Unit. Read on to see what we are all presenting:

Ulf Büntgen is giving a solicited talk on: "Dendroecological opportunities to shift and cross disciplinary boundaries", and is co-author on three other presentations:

Andrew Friend is co-author on two presentations:

Michael Herzog is co-convening the session "Natural Hazards and climate change impacts in coastal areas" and will be presenting a poster entitled "On the evolution of El Niño events in observations and CMIP5 climate models" as well as co-authoring two other presentations:

Christine Lane is convening the session "Advances in integrating ice core, marine and terrestrial records and their timescales (a joint INTIMATE and IntCal session)" and will be giving an oral presentation on "Explosive eruption records from Eastern Africa: filling in the gaps with tephra records from stratified lake sequences".

Christine also contributes as co-author on the following presentations:

James O'Neill will be presenting an oral presentation, with Michael Herzog as co-author, on "Studying extreme coastal precipitation events with the new LES model ATHAM-Fluidity" in the session "Natural Hazards and climate change impacts in coastal areas".

Clive Oppenheimer won't be at EGU in person, but his film Into the Inferno will be shown at 12:00 in the GeoCinema on both Tuesday and Thursday during the Assembly.

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# Water on Antarctic Ice Shelves

Ian Willis

Alison Banwell and Ian Willis, who have recently returned from Antarctica studying the effects of meltwater on the flexure and stability of ice shelves, have been commenting about two adjacent studies that have just been published in Nature. They've been commenting in Nature, The Independent, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Climate Central.

# What is the future of nature conservation?

The conservation movement is experiencing heated internal debates about what, why and how to conserve. Particular divisions exist over the role of corporations and capitalism, and over whether conservation should be motivated by biocentric or anthropocentric goals. Unfortunately, these debates have been dominated by powerful individuals, most of whom are men from the world's richest countries. Recent research by affiliated lecturer Chris Sandbrook and colleagues based on a small sample of conservationists has revealed a wider range of perspectives than those articulated by the dominant individuals. Now, they are taking their study to the next level through the Future of Conservation Survey that will gather data from a large sample of conservationists to reveal new insights into how they perceive the issues raised in the recent debates, and also which form of conservation each respondent most closely aligns to. Anyone who considers themselves a conservationist is welcome to take part!

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# Using big data to observe fungal species on a massive scale

Laccaria Amethystina

A new paper by a team involving Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen has assembled a cross-European meta-database of fungal species. This database, which processed 7.3 million unique fungal species fruit body records, spanning nine countries, into 6 million records of more than 10,000 species, drew from a wide range of sources: from citizen science projects to digitized museum records. Such meta-databases can offer unique insights into climate change effects on fungal phenology and fruiting patterns in recent decades.

Carrie Andrew, Einar Heegaard, Paul M. Kirk, Claus Bässler, Jacob Heilmann-Clausen, Irmgard Krisai-Greilhuber, Thomas W. Kuyper, Beatrice Senn-Irlet, Ulf Büntgen, Jeffrey Diez, Simon Egli, Alan C. Gange, Rune Halvorsen, Klaus Høiland, Jenni Nordén, Fredrik Rustøen, Lynne Boddy, Håvard Kauserud, 'Big data integration: Pan-European fungal species observations' assembly for addressing contemporary questions in ecology and global change biology', Fungal Biology Reviews, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2017, Pages 88-98, ISSN 1749-4613

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# Participatory Geographies: Away weekend

Department Leverhulme Research Fellow Dr Sam Halvorsen is organising, together with the Royal Geographic Society Participatory Geographies Research Group and the Participation Lab at Reading University, an away weekend from the 30 June- 2 July on Participatory Geographies.

The Participation Lab will run a one day workshop on the theme of Participation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Digital technologies and innovation on Friday 30 June. PYGYRG will then host the weekend events at the Reading International Solidarity Centre.

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# The Late Antique Little Ice Age in Nature GeoScience

A team led by Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen and including Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer has appeared in the correspondence of the latest edition of Nature Geoscience. In it, the team discuss their paper, published in 2016, 'Cooling and societal change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age from 536 to around 660 AD' which uses tree-ring chronologies from the Russian Altai and European Alps to reconstruct summer temperatures over the past two millennia, identifying in particular the period from 536 to about 600 AD as the 'Late Antique Little Ice Age'.

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# Increasing UK productivity through city support- ESRC briefing

Wiki commons

Researchers from the ESRC-funded City Evolutions project, led by Professor of Economic Geography Ron Martin, have examined productivity growth paths of some 85 British cities for 82 activity sectors for the period 1971-2014, and explored how these paths are affected by changes in the cities' economic structures. From this they have published the ESRC briefing paper Increasing UK productivity through city support which contains important policy implications for improving productivity within the UK's cities.

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# The original Brexit: ice-age waterfalls

Professor of Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Phil Gibbard has appeared in The New York Times, Science, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel discussing a new paper in Nature Communications by Dr Sanjeev Gupta and Dr Jenny Collier of Imperial College London, among others. The work provides new insight on the opening up of the Dover Straits 430,000 years ago, in which a high ridge of limestone linking Britain to Europe was breached by seven enormous waterfalls created by expanding glaciers which effectively dammed the North Sea. Prof Gibbard, who has written extensively on the topic and originally identified the opening in 1988 said that these new findings were:"exciting and deeply plausible."

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# Urban change and rural continuity in gender ideologies and practices

Author's photograph

A new working paper by Department lecturer Dr Alice Evans explores why across the world, people in urban rather than rural areas are more likely to support gender equality. In the paper, Evans argues that people living in interconnected, densely populated areas are more likely to see women performing socially valued, masculine roles. Such exposure incrementally erodes gender ideologies, increasing flexibility in gender divisions of labour.

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# Into and out of the Younger Dryas at Haemelsee, Northern Germany

Initiated out of the first INTIMATE Example research and training school Germany in 2013, funded by EU COST Action ES0907, research at Lake Haemelsee is a truly collaborative initiative, involving Department Professor of Geography Prof Christine Lane. Early career and experienced researchers from across the INTegrating Ice core MArine and TErrestrial environments (INTIMATE) scientific network collected cores from Lake Haemelsee in 2013 and have since worked together within more than twelve laboratories to carry out a multi-proxy investigation of the record.

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# Vacancy: University Lecturer in Physical Geography

The Department of Geography wishes to appoint a suitably qualified scholar to a University Lectureship in Physical Geography from 1 October 2017, or as soon as possible thereafter. We seek to recruit a dynamic and collegial individual who will have strong research interests and expertise in the linkages between climatological, ecological and Earth surface processes. We encourage applications from researchers developing and combining the analysis of natural proxy archives, field or experimental methods, data mining and/or numerical model simulations to further our understanding of the dynamics and evolution of Earth systems, including within coupled human-environmental systems.

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# Two Rains: Cambridge research into the Indus Civilisation

The Indus Valley is an area of contrast, with winter rains and summer monsoon precipitation overlapping in an otherwise arid environment. The ancient Indus population appear to have adapted to the diversity of the environment. Their success at this is evidenced by the rise of the Indus Civilisation (c. 4600-3900 BP), which was home of the first cities in South Asia. The TwoRains project has been designed to give new insight into the Indus Civilisation by investigating questions of sustainability and resilience.

At the department of Geography, we are tackling the question of rainfall variability in the Indus River catchment. The area sits at the edge of the Indian summer monsoon domain, and today receives a high but heterogeneous amount of precipitation from July to September, leading sometimes to widespread floods. However, in contrast to the rest of India, it also receives rainfall in winter, due to the interaction with western disturbances.

The results of this study will allow the analysis of the water supply variability and the evolution of floods and droughts occurrence, which will be of considerable interest for the archaeologists who try to understand the rise and demise of the Indus Civilisation. Furthermore, better theoretical understanding of winter and summer rainfall variability in the area will help to evaluate their possible evolution in a changing climate.

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# Undergraduate Open Days 2017

The Department of Geography will be opening its doors to prospective undergraduates as part of this year's Open Days, on Thursday 6th July & Friday 7th July 2017.

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# Improving the links between marine science and policy

Wiki commons

As part of the EU Biodiversity Observation Network, the Department of Geography has collaborated with the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) to better understand how to link conservation science and policy in Europe. A paper led by Lauren Weatherdon from UNEP-WCMC has been published on how to link marine science and policy more effectively. Department researcher David Christian Rose contributed to this paper on the subject of user-centred design of tools and frameworks for policy. The paper identifies seven characteristics of a selection of biodiversity and conservation knowledge products that contribute to their ability to support policy in the marine sector. These include: a clear policy mandate; established networks of collaborators; iterative co-design of a user-friendly interface; standardised, comprehensive and documented methods with quality assurance; consistent capacity and succession planning; accessible data and value-added products that are fit-for-purpose; and metrics of use collated and reported. The outcomes are designed to support better production and communication of marine science for use in policy.

The collaboration was part of the EU Bon Project.

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# Geography in Cam Magazine

The 2017 Lent Term edition of Cam Magazine features Department Reader Dr Bhaskar Vira on India's future (p. 17) and Senior Lecturer Dr David Nally on Malthus (pp. 30-31). The magazine is sent in print to all alumni of the University of Cambridge, or is available to view online.

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# Climate Change in the Eurasian Late Antiquity (4th-8th Century)

Wiki commons

Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Prof Ulf Buentgen and Professor of Volcanology Prof Clive Oppenheimer are part of a team running 'Climate Change in Eurasian Late Antiquity: A Dialogue between Science, History, and Archaeology' a workshop taking place at the IAS in Princeton today.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together historians and other humanities scholars, archaeologists, and climatologists to investigate the possible effects of climatic variability on social and political change in Eurasia between the 4th and 8th centuryes. The group aim to bring together knowledge about population movements, political events, and economic transformations that may have been in part ascribable to climatic change.

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# Interventions on Europe's political futures

Wiki commons

Department Reader Dr Alex Jeffrey explores the potential role of human rights institutions as a mechanism for challenging the potential injustices of resurgent state violence in Europe in a new series of 'interventions' on Europe's political future(s) published in Political Geography.

The interventions are written by scholars from across the UK and beyond, and describe themselves as follows:

Europe is facing challenging times. The so-called 'migration crisis' has seen the hardening and militarisation of Europe's borders. Nationalist politicians are framing European states as being under siege from Islamist terrorists and economic migrants, which has led to a rise in xenophobia and casual racism on the streets of European cities. Meanwhile the Euro-zone has seen a series of employment crises and economic bailouts. Alongside such political and economic turmoil, the European Union is facing unprecedented pressures, not least from the 'Brexit' result of the UK's referendum on EU membership in June 2016. In reflecting on these manifold challenges to the idea and space of Europe these interventions focus on three themes that have long animated political geography scholarship: borders, power and crises. Cross-cutting the interventions are two calls to action: to rethink our analytical approaches to Europe, and to reframe our role as critical scholars.

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# How does livelihood affect people's perception of deforestation?

Wiki commons

A new paper by Dr Ronald Twongyirwe (Mbarara University of Science) with Cambridge researchers Dr Mike Bithell, Prof Keith Richards and Dr Gareth Rees explores the connections between people's class and social group and their perceptions of deforestation, looking specifically at forested and non-forested landscapes in Western Uganda. They found that poor households are more likely to live near forested regions, and that the rural poor are more reliant on forest products than peri-urban populations. Moreover, they found that people in different social classes and age groups can have very different views on what the change in forest cover might be despite what the remote sensing data show. This might have policy implications if decision makers tend to come from the groups that are not likely to have perceived forest cover change, or base their judgement on views from certain social classes. This implies that it is important to have the remote sensing data available as a counter balance to local perception (and vice versa).

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# Occupy and the dilemmas of social movements

Occupy London, 16 October 2011, St. Paul’s Cathedral. Photo credit: Crispin Semmens (Flickr: assembly time) CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Department Leverhulme fellow Sam Halvorsen explores the challenging spatial aspects of social movements in a new blog and article. The texts highlight the dilemmas and contradictions that can arise for movement leaders when mobilising particular spatial strategies and the importance of geography in understanding social movements.

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# Muddy Fun at the Science Festival 2017!

On Saturday 18 March, the Department was 'awash' with hands on activities exploring coastlines, flooding and mud as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Visitors viewed pollen and coastal creepy crawlies under the microscope, got hands on with our shifting sands light box, survived a flood in our emergency scenario game and watched our flume simulator destroy the poor sea defenses of a village of lego people. Thanks to everyone who came along!

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# Changing Court Spaces: Policy, Architecture and Experience

On 15th October 2015 Natalie Ceeney, CEO of HM Courts & Tribunals Service, stated that the 'physical paradigm' of courts in the UK had to change. As a £700m programme of regeneration is now underway, a research project headed by Department Reader Dr Alex Jeffrey sought to understand how best this change can be enacted by working with the range of different individuals who experience the court environment.

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# Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment

Without nature, humans could be neither healthy nor happy. And yet the natural world can be completely ransacked without causing even a tiny blip on our usual measures of economic progress or poverty. In a new article on The Conversation, Department reader Dr Bhaskar Vira and Research Associate Dr Judith Schleicher argue that measures of societal progress need to expand to explicitly include what nature does for human well-being and prosperity, especially for those in poverty.

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# The Great Austerity Debate: New Documentary

Andrew Wilkinson

A new documentary on 'The Great Austerity Debate' forum theatre project run by Dr Mia Gray and Professor Susan Smith in collaboration with Menagerie Theatre Company is now online on the University's Youtube Channel. The project, which toured for the first time in Autumn 2016, explored Smith and Gray's work on the impacts of austerity through the genre of forum theatre: in which audience members intervene in the action on stage to explore the different effects of austerity policy.

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# Volcanology and the ERC

As part of the 10 year anniversary of the ERC, Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer discusses his work in volcanic activity in a new film.

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# New film on coastal research

In a new film on the University's Youtube Channel, University Lecturer Dr Iris Möller explains how an understanding of natural processes and landforms can help us develop win-win solutions for reducing flood risk.

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# How does geography affect participatory governance?

In a new article published in the International Development and Planning Review University Lecturer Charlotte Lemanski explores the phenomenon of participatory governance and urban structures within Cape Town. Participatory governance has become a mainstream feature of city management, endorsed by governments and aid agencies as a platform for state-civil society engagement. However, it is often criticised for problems with implementation and fundamental imbalances of power. Lemanski introduces into these debates the role played by the urban spatial and temporal structural context in shaping citizenship experiences of participatory processes. Based on fieldwork in a electoral ward of Cape Town, a geopolitical space with a wide socio-economic range of citizens, the paper demonstrates how the spatial and temporal landscape of the city is not a neutral technical backdrop for participatory processes, but is active in creating and perpetuating inequalities that are institutionalised through processes of participatory governance.


  • Lemanski, C., 2017. Unequal citizenship in unequal cities: participatory urban governance in contemporary South Africa. International Development Planning Review, v. 39, p.15-35. doi:10.3828/idpr.2017.2.

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# Protest Camps in International Perspective

Policy Press

A newly-published book on protest camps with Policy Press features a chapter by Leverhulme Research Fellow Sam Halvorsen. Responding to the appearance of protest camps in hundreds of cities worldwide in 2011, the book engages with a broad range of geographical and historical examples of protest camps. Dr Halvorsen's publication explores dilemmas over the end of the protest camp in Occupy London (2011-2012), part of his previous research project on the territoriality of the Occupy movement.

Halvorsen, S., 2017. 'Losing Space in Occupy London: Territorial Forms and the Fetishisation of the Protest Camp', in Brown, G., Feigenbaum, A., Frenzel, F. and McCurdy, P. (eds) 2017. Protest Camps in International Perspective: Spaces, infrastructures and medias of resistance. Bristol: Policy Press, 161-176

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# Decision Support Tools in Agriculture

The work of Department Research Associate David Christian Rose on the use of decision support tools in agriculture has been featured in the March editions of Arable Farming and Farmers' Guardian. The features draw on a recent article by Rose and other partners from SIP exploring how developers of decision support tools can design and deliver tools effectively so that farmers and their advisers want to use them. This forms part of the group's broader project encouraging designers of decision support tools to adopt practices focused on user groups and exploring the broader impact of adopting such tools within agricultural communities.

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# Geography at the Science Festival

Geography will be holding a number of hands-on events and talks as part of the Cambridge Science Festival (13-26 March 2017):

British Seascapes Saturday 11 March, 7.15pm, West Rd Concert Hall, Cambridge Graduate Orchestra present a programme of music for British Sea Scapes. Department Lecturer Dr Iris Moeller will give a short pre-concert talk commencing at 7.15pm

Erebus Volcanco: in the footsteps of Shackleton and Scott Friday 17 March, 6pm-7pm, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms. Professor Clive Oppenheimer explains what has been learned about how volcanoes work from detailed observations of the southernmost active volcano in the world, Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica. The island was the base for several polar missions, notably those led by Shackleton and Scott. Their pioneering studies of the volcano paved the way for all subsequent investigations, and the physical traces they left on the mountain provide a tangible link between past and present scientific endeavours.

Its a Muddy World! Saturday 18 March, 11am-4pm, Department of Geography. This interactive series of activities and talks will allow you to delve into this world of the truly inter-disciplinary science of Geography through a series of hands-on interactive demonstrations of what we measure to find out about the impact of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems, how those ecosystems work, and what our society gains from their presence.

Water, Water! Saturday 18 March, 11:30am - 12:00pm, 12:15pm - 12:45pm, 1:00pm - 1:30pm, 2:00pm - 2:30pm, 2:45pm - 3:15pm, 3:30pm - 4:00pm, Department of Geography. Watch what happens when rising sea levels and raging seas come just a bit too close... This demonstration of coastal flooding in our laboratory flume may leave you high and dry but is sure to drown our mini villagers!

Shifting Landscapes, Saturday 18 March 11am-4pm, Department of Geography. Find out how rivers, tides and waves shape our landscape by playing with our interactive landscape table that you can mould into whatever landscape takes your fancy. Then place your hand over the top to make it rain - or make sea level rise - to see which areas of land (and whose houses!) are most likely to flood....

Meet your Friendly Neighbourhood Climate Scientists, Monday 20 March 6pm-730pm, 8 Mill Lane. The Cambridge Centre for Climate Science invites you to join some of your local experts from a wide variety of specialisations (for example, atmospheric science, oceanography, glaciology, geology, plant sciences, climate policy) for an evening of short science talks, followed by a question and answer session. Including Professor of Geography Christine Lane.

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# Cambridge Coastal Research at the European Geosciences Union

Intertidal mudmounds at Tillingham, Dengie Peninsula, Essex coast (photo: I Möller)

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit will have a strong presence at the European Geosciences Union Annual Assembly in Vienna, 23-28 April 2017. This is one of the largest gatherings of geoscientists worldwide; in 2016, the meeting was attended by over 10,000 delegates from over 100 countries.

Tom Spencer, Department Professor of Coastal Dynamics, is a co-author on the oral presentation Impact of storms on coastlines: preparing for the future without forgetting the past? Examples from European coastlines using a Storm Impact Database.

Research Assistant Ben Evans is leading a poster on 'Data-driven modelling of morphological evolution in salt marshes: The role of morphometric system status indices exploiting high resolution spatial datasets

Visiting scholar Mark Schürch is reporting field studies at CCRU in a poster on Quantification of vegetation-induced allochthonous sediment deposition on coastal salt marshes

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# Rethinking Urban Nature: website is live!

The project website for Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy's ERC-funded project Rethinking Urban Nature is now live. The research challenges existing understandings of urban nature with fieldwork in London, Berlin, Tallinn, and Chennai.

The emphasis of the work is not on produced dimensions to urban nature such as parks and gardens but on spontaneous forms of nature such as wastelands and other marginal spaces that emerge at the intersections between cities and bio-physical processes.

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# Geography starts new social media groups for alumni

The Department is pleased to announce the creation of new Linked In group and Facebook page specifically for Cambridge Geography alumni. We'll be using the groups to keep you updated on Department news and alumni activities, and to help you reconnect with old friends and those now working in similar fields.

Come and join us!

# How can salt marsh vegetation dissipate waves during storm surges?

Research by a team including Department Lecturer Iris Möller and Professor of Coastal Dynamics Tom Spencer has explored the impact of different kinds of vegetation in salt marshes on wave energy during storm surges. Using one of the world's largest wave flumes, they were able to study vegetation-wave interactions between two typical NW European salt marsh grasses: Puccinellia and Elymus and waves ranging from 0.1–0.9 m up close for the first time. The results showed the importance of plant flexibility and height in dissipating waves which could help better understand the potential resilience of salt marshes to storm surges.

Rupprecht, F., Möller, I., Paul, M., Kudella, M., Spencer, T., van Wesenbeeck, B.K., Wolters, G., Jensen, K., Bouma, T.J., Miranda-Lange, M. and Schimmels, S., 2017. Vegetation-wave interactions in salt marshes under storm surge conditions. Ecological Engineering, v. 100, p.301-315. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.12.030

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# The global gag rule and maternal health

In a recent blog post, article and video, Department lecturer Alice Evans explores the ramifications of the Global Gag Rule, recently reinstated by the USA, for maternal health around the world, and the actions that other governments and international organisations can take to offset this.

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# Mapping ice sheet dynamics

A team of researchers including Aleksandr Montelli and Prof Julian Dowdeswell of the Scott Polar Research Institute have created a three-dimensional reconstruction of the changing nature of ice-sheet derived sedimentary architecture throughout the Quaternary Ice Age. The team have discovered the presence of a calving margin on the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet since the earliest Quaternary. They have also found a number of diagnostic buried subglacial landforms which indicate complex ice-sheet evolution. This palaeo-environmental examination will provide a useful framework for ice-sheet modelling in the future.

  • Montelli, A., Dowdeswell, J.A., Ottesen, D. and Johansen, S.E., 2017. Ice-sheet dynamics through the Quaternary on the mid-Norwegian continental margin inferred from 3D seismic data. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 80, p.228-242. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.12.002.

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# How the UK and India can lead the development of ecologically smart cities

Department reader Bhaskar Vira and postdoctoral researcher Eszter Kovacs write in The Conversation on ways in which the UK and India can collaborate to ensure that ecological concerns are at the forefront of new projects to develop Indian urban areas.

This article was first published in November 2016 and is reproduced to mark the start of the University's Celebrating India season.

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# Cambridge part of project exploring the mitigation hierarchy in biodiversity and conservation

Reader in the Political Economy of Environment and Development Bhaskar Vira has been involved in a project exploring the dynamics that lie behind managing the impact of new developments in industry and construction. Avoiding impacts is seen by many as the most certain and effective way of managing harm to biodiversity. However, despite an abundance of legislative and voluntary requirements, there is often a failure to avoid impacts. This project explores the reasons for this failure and outlines some possible solutions. It highlights the key roles that can be played by conservation organizations in cultivating political will, holding decision makers accountable to the law, improving the processes of impact assessment and avoidance, building capacity, and providing technical knowledge. These findings can help to limit the impacts on biodiversity of large-scale developments in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and other sectors.


  • Phalan, B., Hayes, G., Brooks, S., Marsh, D., Howard, P., Costelloe, B., Vira, B., Kowalska, A. and Whitaker, S., 2017. Avoiding impacts on biodiversity through strengthening the first stage of the mitigation hierarchy. ORYX, p.1-9. doi:10.1017/S0030605316001034.

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# Imagining infrastructures workshop

Merjin Royaards "A sound, a kind of whistling, rises above the background noise. Clear and articulate, it pierces through the heavy blanket of city sounds" (2012). Source: Courtesy of the artist

A workshop, Imagining infrastructures: space, subject, and affect, will be held in the Department on 8th March 2017, from 2-6pm.

The idea of infrastructure has expanded in recent years to encompass not just technological networks but modes of living, interstitial spaces, and emerging bio-cultural landscapes. Infrastructure now extends to different scales of analysis from the multi-sensory domain of the individual human subject to more complex or diffuse types of attachments, atmospheres, and subjectivities.

Speakers include Vanesa Castán Broto, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Somaiyeh Falahat, Matthew Gandy, Sandra Jasper, Maros Krivy, Kumiko Kuichi, Jochen Monstadt, Mathilda Rosengren, Manuel Tironi, Jane Wolff.

Dinner will follow the event.

Please RSVP to .

# Film screening of Geography Graduate's film 'Facing the Mountains'

On Friday 24 Feb, the Department of Geography will be hosting a screening of 'Facing the Mountains', a film co-directed by Geography graduate Ross Harrison:

Facing the Mountains (20:36) (Director/Camera/Editor: Ross Harrison; Director/Producer: Vaibhav Kaul; Score: Juliet Aaltonen)

Coping with extremes is part of life for people across the Himalayas. But in June 2013, at Kedarnath, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in northern India, conditions fatefully aligned to produce an unprecedented disaster. Thousands of pilgrims and locals were faced with a once-in-a-generation catastrophe and thousands of lives were lost. Through the words of survivors, local elders and new visitors, we are shown a portrait of a place where the events of 2013 have become part of a larger story; one of resilience, of faith, and of eternal change.

Screening at 4.15pm, Small Lecture Theatre. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with the film makers.

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# Geography PhD Student featured in 'Cambridge's postgraduate pioneers'

PhD student Jonny Hanson's work on snow leopard conservation has been featured in University's 'Postgraduate Pioneers' Series.

Jonny came to Cambridge from Northern Ireland and his research explores the relationship between people, snow leopards and snow leopard conservation in two protected areas in Nepal: the Annapurna Conservation Area and the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Jonny is identifying the human factors which are both critical for and detrimental to snow leopard conservation, including assessing household conflict with snow leopards and conservation efforts. In particular, Jonny's study examines how attitudes vary under the contrasting management regimes at his two field sites, as well as varying degrees of livelihood dependence on livestock. Jonny's work in Nepal has included surveying 705 households and conducting seventy qualitative interviews with local people who share the mountains with snow leopards

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# Mapping malaria on a local scale

Wiki commons

A team including Emeritus Professor of Human Geography Bob Haining are working towards the development of a new spatial support system for infectious diseases within Karnataka State in India. Their latest work has focused on the incidence of malaria in the region, using data mapping and cluster detection to identify local conditions associated with high numbers cases. This project will contribute to the development of a practical spatial decision support system for combatting the disease in the area.

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# Department of Geography hosts Distinguished Visitor Professor Professor Didier Fassin

As part of the Distinguished Visitors Scheme, Professor Didier Fassin will be visiting the Department from Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th February, 2017.

Didier Fassin is the James Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Didier is an anthropologist and a sociologist who has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa, and France.

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# Geography researchers part of a project to understan Ethiopia’s volcanoes

Wiki commons

Professor of Geography Christine Lane and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer are part of a team that has undertaken new research on tephra (volcanic ash) in the Afar Triangle and adjacent Ethiopian Rift Valley. The team has undertaken the first <17 cal ka BP tephrostratigraphy for the Afar Triangle using sediments from lakes Ashenge and Hayk (Ethiopian Highlands). The variable and distinct glass compositions of the tephra layers indicate they may have been erupted from as many as seven volcanoes. This project has demonstrated the importance of undertaking further study within this region, so as to better understand its volcanic past, and to be better able to predict volcanoes in the future.

Publication: Martin-Jones, C.M., Lane, C.S., Pearce, N.J.G., Smith, V.C., Lamb, H.F., Oppenheimer, C., Asrat, A. and Schaebitz, F., 2017. Glass compositions and tempo of post-17 ka eruptions from the Afar Triangle recorded in sediments from lakes Ashenge and Hayk, Ethiopia. Quaternary Geochronology, v. 37, p.15-31. doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2016.10.001.

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# India’s militant rhino protectors are challenging traditional views of how conservation works

Wiki commons

Reader in the Political Economy of Environment and Development and Director of University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute Bhaskar Vira responds to a BBC Investigation into Kaziranga, a national park in north-eastern India, which found that guards at the park were shooting suspected poachers dead in order to protect the rhinos.

In a piece for The Conversation Dr Vira explores what the case reveals about the conflicts that characterise contemporary conservation, as the need to protect endangered species comes into contact with the lives and rights of people who live in and around the increasingly threatened national parks.

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# How can we tackle abuse in the global garment industry?

An article by Department lecturer Alice Evans from The Conversation and the Australian DevPolicy Blog explores ways in which the governments could improve conditions within the global garment industry through a focus on gender inequalities and trade incentives.

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# How do wildfires affect boreal forests?

A new article by Fellow of Churchill College, Nick Cutler, and others explores the impact of wildfires on boreal forests and their ecosystems:

Great swathes of the boreal forest floor are covered with a thick layer of moss (the 'boreal bryosphere'). Microbes living in this moss layer play a critical ecological role, not least in terms of nutrient (primarily nitrogen) supply. This study showed that wildfires can disrupt the microbial communities of the bryosphere for a period of decades. This finding has implications for the long-term functioning of boreal forests, as these ecosystems are expected to experience more frequent wildfires as a consequence of climate change.

  • Cutler, N.A., Arróniz-Crespo, M., Street, L.E., Jones, D.L., Chaput, D.L. and DeLuca, T.H., 2017. Long-Term Recovery of Microbial Communities in the Boreal Bryosphere Following Fire Disturbance. Microbial Ecology, v. 73, p.75-90. doi:10.1007/s00248-016-0832-7.

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# New Cambridge research explores South African Middle

In a recently published article in Geoforum, Department Lecturer Charlotte Lemanski proposes new ways of looking at middling households within South Africa. While previous research has often been limited by finance- or status-based labels of 'middle class', this work moves away from class-based labels, and instead focuses on 'middle' households as a way to identify the needs of an emerging demographic within Africa who are neither affluent nor poor, and who are not well served by middle-class expectations.

South Africa has a clear 'middle' group, caught within the housing gap, and unable to secure homeownership via either state-subsidised or private housing finance. Using the empirical example of so-called gap households in South Africa, this research focuses on households caught 'in the middle' between affluence and poverty, between public and private institutions, and between social and economic interventions, to reveal the ways in which middle households are a crucial and growing demographic sector that is easily misrepresented by the contemporary obsession with the African middle-class.

This work is also linked to a session that formed part of the African Studies Association of the UK 2016 conference.

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# New research with Cambridge Coastal Research Unit explores the coastal protection of salt marshes and climate change

Dr Reef being filmed for the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’, demonstrating how elevated CO2 is affecting saltmarsh growth.

Research by Ruth Reef (Monash, previously MC Research Fellow), Tom Spencer, Iris Möller, Catherine Lovelock (Queensland), Elizabeth Christie, Anna McIvor, Ben Evans and James Tempest recently published in Global Change Biology explores how elevated levels of CO2 and changing nutrient availability are affecting saltmarsh growth. Saltmarshes play a vital role in protecting coastlines from storm surges, but their growth is expected to be affected by changing environmental conditions. This study was innovative in its analysis of the role play by both biological processes (both above and below ground) and geomorphological processes in affecting saltmarsh growth. The study used saltmarsh blocks from the Essex marshes grown under different climate change scenarios in Cambridge Botanic Garden to measure the effects of elevated CO2 and eutrophication on surface elevation change. It was found that Elevated CO2 conditions could enhance resilience in vulnerable systems such as those with low mineral sediment supply or where migration upwards within the tidal frame is constrained. The project has also led to wider collaborations with researchers in Germany and Australia.

The results of this study will be able to guide management policy regarding the conservation of saltmarshes in the face of sea level rise.

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# What is the impact of a massive volcanic eruption?


Research by a team of researchers including Department Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer into the aftermath of the 1257 eruption of the Samalas volcano in Indonesia recently published in Nature Geoscience suggests that the eruption did not necessarily plunge the region into societal crisis. Indeed, despite some short term consequences, including aggravations of previous conditions that were leading to famines in Europe and Japan, it seems that by 1259 climatic conditions were back to normal over most of Europe. The research has drawn from historical archives, ice-core data and tree-ring records to reconstruct the spatial and temporal climate response to the Samalas eruption.

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# New book: Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient

Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Scott Polar Instititute, Julian Dowdeswell, has co-edited a new Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms.

The Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms presents a comprehensive series of contributions by leading researchers from many countries that describe, discuss and illustrate landforms on the high latitude, glacier-influenced seafloor. Included are submarine glacial landforms from modern, Quaternary and ancient glacimarine environments.

The development of high-resolution imaging technologies has allowed detailed sea-floor mapping at water depths of tens to thousands of metres across continental margins and 3-D seismic imagery enables buried landforms to be identified. The Atlas contains an extensive methods section detailing the techniques used to image and understand the seafloor.

The 183 contributions are organised by: a) individual landforms in 2-page contributions, b) assemblages of landforms in 4-page chapters, and c) whole fjord-shelf-slope systems in 8-page contributions.

The 640-page Atlas is published online in the Lyell Collection by the Geological Society of London as Memoir 46 and also as a hardback volume.

The Atlas was launched at the Geological Society in London on Monday 23rd January 2017.

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# Phil Gibbard on NPO 2 TV programme 'Tegenlicht /Backlight'


Since the previous century the influence of humans on the land and the atmosphere has become so great that they are more and more assessed by scientists as irreversible. For this reason the Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen proposed a new geological period, the Anthropocene. Not Pleistocene nor Holocene, but Anthropocene. A geological period in which the influence of humans to no longer questioned. Is there still a way to overcome the changes? Or are we humans able use nature correctly to offer her a helping hand and see how we can adapt to this new period ourselves? Professor Phil Gibbard discusses the evidence for this potential new geological period in this Dutch television documentary programme.

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# Cambridge News: New podcast by Geography lecturer Dr Alice Evans

A new podcast has been created by Department of Geography Lecturer Dr Alice Evans.

The free podcast sees Dr Evans interview geographers, anthropologists and economists, exploring questions around proposed solutions to inequality including questions around austerity, affluence, social movements, overseas aid and Brexit.

In the first episode in the series, Dr Evans interviews fellow Departmental lecturer Dr Charlotte Lemanski.

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# Conference: Researching South-South Development Cooperation

Reader in Human Geography Dr Emma Mawdsley is co-convening a 2 day conference on the subject of 'Researching South-South Development Cooperation' at CRASSH, 3-4 April 2017.

This conference is the first of its kind in its specific focus on the epistemological and related methodological challenges associated with researching South-South development cooperation. The conference will invite researchers on SSDC - from graduates and early career scholars to leading figures in the field - to reflect critically on the changing politics of knowledge and knowledge production that these actors and trends present.

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# Fossilised tree and ice cores help date huge volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago to within three months

An international team of researchers, including Professor Clive Oppenheimer of the Department, has managed to pinpoint, to within three months, a medieval volcanic eruption in east Asia the precise date of which has puzzled historians for decades. They have also shown that the so-called "Millennium eruption" of Changbaishan volcano, one of the largest in history, cannot have brought about the downfall of an important 10th century kingdom, as was previously thought.

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# Department of Geography welcomes new Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Büntgen

The Department of Geography welcomes a new Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis: Professor Ulf Büntgen.

Professor Büntgen was previously Head of the Dendroecology Group at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL. He studied geography, geology and cartography at the University of Bonn, Germany (1999-2003), and obtained his Ph.D. (2006) and Habilitation (2011) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He is conducting fieldwork all over the globe to provide answers to his main research questions: How did and does climate change? How did and do ecosystems respond to such changes?

His most recent publications include:

Andrew C, Heegaard E, Halvorsen R, Martinez-Pena F, Egli S, Kirk PM, Bässler C, Büntgen U, Aldea J, Høiland K, Boddy L, Kauserud H (2016) Climate impacts on fungal community and trait dynamics. Fungal Ecology 22: 17-25

Bosela M, Popa I, Gomory D, Longauer R, Tobin B, Kyncl J, Kyncl T, Nechita C, Petrás R, Sidor C, Seben V, Büntgen U (2016) Effects of postglacial phylogeny and genetic diversity on the growth variability and climate sensitivity of European silver fir. Journal of Ecology 104: 716-724

Büntgen U, Di Cosmo N (2016) Climatic and environmental aspects of the Mongol withdrawal from Hungary in 1242 CE. Nature Scientific Reports 6

# CUGS Talks: Lent Term 2017

Our Cambridge University Geographical Society students have put together a fantastic line-up of speakers for this term in what promises to be an excellent series of evenings.

  • Tuesday 24 Jan, Richard Wilkinson: Income Differences and Dysfunctional Societies,
  • Thursday 2 Feb, Joe Smith (Open University): Climate Change in the Media: the greatest story never told?
  • Thursday 9 Feb, Nicholas Crane (Royal Geographic Society): The Making of the British Landscape: from the Ice Age to the present
  • Tuesday 21 Feb, Jason Dittmer (UCL): The UK in the World/ The World in the UK: affect, everyday diplomacy and the national interest
  • Thursday 2 March, Saskia Sassen (Colombia University): Geographies of Expulsion

All talks are from 6pm-7.15pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography and are free to CUGS members and £2 for non-members.

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# Department of Geography Annual Report 2015-16

Department of Geography Annual Report 2015-16

We are pleased to announce that the Department's Annual Report for 2015-16 is now online.

The report contains an overview of Departmental activities across teaching, research and technical and information services.

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# New book: 'Seeing Like a City', Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift

The Department's 1931 Professor Ash Amin has published his latest work, Seeing Like a City, co-authored by Sir Nigel Thrift.

The book argues that: 'seeing like a city means recognizing that cities are living things made up of a tangle of networks, built up from the agency of countless actors. Cities must not be considered as expressions of larger paradigms or sites of human effort and organization alone. Within their density, size and sprawl can be found a world of symbols, bodies, buildings, technologies and infrastructures. It is the machine-like combination, interaction and confrontation of these different elements that make a city.'

"Amin and Thrift are a magnificent duet conjuring for the reader a sensorium of the intersecting forces affecting and shaped by the sociotechnical systems making up the urban. The book is a 'city' in itself – a vibrant infrastructure of human co-residency with heterogeneous entities, systems, materials, and modes of existence. Here, cities are the locus through which to rethink the very composition of our world and how we might remake, with reinvestment in the provisioning of public goods, a more judicious, viable place within it."

AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths, University of London

"This is a book that needed to be written. It takes us beyond the common notion of cities as settings, and pulls us into layer after layer of what constitutes the urban. Written in a highly conceptualized way, it gives us the full experience of theoria in its original meaning: seeing."

Saskia Sassen, Columbia University, author of Expulsions

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# Department of Geography hosts Distinguished Visitor Professor Don Mitchell

The Department of Geography is committed to bringing internationally renowned scholars to Cambridge, under our Distinguished Visitors Scheme. Our most recent guest was Professor Don Mitchell of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, who came to Cambridge for the first time in his career, giving a public lecture, a research seminar, and a graduate seminar. Professor Mitchell has made key contributions in a number of fields, particularly in cultural geography and cultural theory, in his focus on labour and the political economy of landscape, and in relation to struggles over urban public space. Continue reading …

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# Event: Geography and neo-vitalism

Matthew Gandy and Michael Bravo are holding a half-day workshop on the theme of "Geography and neo-vitalism" on Wednesday 23rd November. The neo-vitalist turn in geography raises many interesting questions across the discipline including connections with the geo-humanities and new fields of interdisciplinary scholarship. In recent years the works of Henri Bergson, Hans Driesch, and other thinkers have gained influence in debates over non-human agency, post-human subjectivities, and new concepts of nature. In this workshop we wish to bring together staff and graduate students with an interest in contemporary theoretical
debates for this half-day event.

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# Distinguished Visitor: Professor Don Mitchell

As part of the Distinguished Visitors Scheme, Professor Don Mitchell will be visiting the Department, from Tuesday 8th November to Thursday 10th November 2016. He is Distinguished Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University). He will be giving a lecture ('Revolting New York: How Riots, Uprisings, and Revolutions Shape the Urban Landscape') and seminar ('Mean Streets: Homelessness, Public Space, and the Limits to Capital') - all welcome.

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# Here come the drones

Drone survey elevation model of Reach Wood Meadow (S. Boreham & A. Copeland)

The methods we use to teach physical geography and environmental science are rapidly changing. As a new generation of high-quality affordable drones creates a revolution in the way that schools collect, process and view landscape data, Dr Steve Boreham of the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge takes us through the ins and outs of flying drones for research.

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# Anthropocene: The journey to a new geological epoch


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.

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# Policy Forum investigates the geography of the court system

Alex Jeffrey

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.

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# All the World’s a Stage: Gray and Smith collaborate with Menagerie Theatre on play

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.

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# Releasing the Commons: in discussion with Professor Jeremy Gilbert

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

'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.

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# Matthew Gandy elected Fellow of the British Academy

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.

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# Book Launch: Professor Matthew Gandy ‘Moth’

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

# Ron Martin awarded prestigious Victoria Medal

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'

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# Prof Matthew Gandy book launch in Paris

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

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'.

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# Healthy saltmarshes for coastal defence

During the last month, the consortium of the European 'FAST' Project celebrated their second general assembly in Cadiz (Spain). The consortium concluded that after two years of collecting data in the field, making great advances in satellite image analysis and interacting with potential end-users, they have enough information to refine the Basic prototype of the MI-SAFE tool. This innovative product will provide easily accessible information about individual saltmarshes of use to scientists, managers and citizens. The tool will allow the user to assess the importance of the flood defence services provided by coastal ecosystems, on European shores and beyond.

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# The Green Revolution as Philanthropy

For the last number of weeks, HistPhil - a web publication on the history of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors - has hosted a forum on the Green Revolution. In the latest post, Dr. David Nally explains how elite ideas about saving the poor and 'reforming the world' contributed to the making of the Green Revolution.

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# Sebastian Keibek wins new researcher's prize at the Economic History Society Conference

Congratulations to Sebastian Keibek, a PhD student at CAMPOP, who was joint winner of the new researcher's prize at the Economic History Society 2016 Annual Conference, held on 1-3 April at Robinson College, Cambridge. The title of Sebastian's paper was: 'The regional and national male occupational structure of England and Wales, 1600-1820'.

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# Book Launch: Dr. Michele Lancione 'Rethinking Life at the Margins'.

On Thursday 21st April at 4pm in the Geography Department Seminar Room we will host a special event, sponsored by the Societies, Markets and States research cluster, celebrating the launch of Dr Michele Lancione's new edited collection entitled 'Rethinking Life at the Margins. The assemblage of contexts, subjects and politics' (Routledge, 2016).

Dr Lancione will present the book followed by interventions from three of the book's authors, Dr Eszter Krasznai Kovacs (Cambridge), Dr Tatiana Thieme (UCL) and Dr Francisco Calafate-Faria (Goldsmith). Discussion will be initiated by Prof. Ash Amin and then opened to the public.

The launch will be followed by wine and nibbles in the Common Room, sponsored by our research group. All are welcome.

# Olga Petri's publication selected for Editors' Choice

Olga Petri, PhD student supervised by Dr Philip Howell, has had a publication nominated to be one of the five publications chosen by Miles Ogborn, Editor of Journal of Historical Geography to be highlighted in Editors' Choice. Editors' Choice provides a selection of content, hand-picked by journal editors.

The publication is called 'At the bathhouse: municipal reform and the bathing commons in late Imperial St. Petersburg', Journal of Historical Geography, Volume 51, 2016.

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# Global carnivore conservation at risk

Lion Cub with Mother in the Serengeti, by David Dennis - @davidden on Flickr

A new study confirms that the global conservation of carnivores is at risk. The paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, models future global land conversion and estimates this will lead to significant range loss and conflict with local people in regions critical for the survival of already threatened carnivore species. Professor Nigel Leader-Williams from the Department is one of the co-authors of the study.

The study concludes that immediate action is needed to prevent habitat loss and conflict with humans in priority areas for carnivore conservation.

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# More on the 'Anthropocene'

At the recently held Anthropocene symposium at the Geological Museum in Copenhagen, Professor Philip Gibbard of the Department of Geography shared his view on the subject of the 'Anthropocene'.

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# The difference between the UK, Britain, the British Isles, the North and South of Ireland explained

Dr David Nally and the Ordnance Survey were asked by journalist Katy Harrington to help explain the meaning of various political-geographical designations such as the UK, Britain, the British Isles, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. How difficult could that task be? The result is a sort of Beginners Guide to naming "these islands"!

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# Rights to Nature Workshop

On 23rd and 24th June, the Department will be hosting a Workshop: Rights to Nature: Tracing alternative political ecologies to the neoliberal environmental agenda, sponsored by Geoforum.

The 'Rights to Nature' workshop aims to create a dialogue among scholars and activists working on the neoliberalization of nature and environmental policies. We will be discussing the relation between nature, capitalism, and politics, and the possibility of an alternative environmental political agenda in Europe. For further details, please see the Conference Webpage.

The workshop will be held in the Keynes Hall at King's College, Cambridge, on the 23 and 24 June 2016. We invite activists and scholars engaged in environmental movements in Europe to join us. Please email Elia Apostolopoulou ( or Jose A. Cortes Vazquez (

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# Undergraduate Open Days 2016

The Department of Geography will be opening its doors to prospective undergraduates as part of this year's Open Days, on Thursday 30th June & Friday 1st July 2016.

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# One Hundred Years of Coral Reef Mapping

Co-ordinated by Dr Tom Spencer and with strong Departmental connections, this display describes early reef mapping in the Central Pacific at the turn of the 20th century, the first detailed reef mapping, at Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef by Alfred Steers in 1928-1929 (remapped in the 1970s by David Stoddart), and recent mapping from remotely-sensed imagery in the Seychelles by the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (Sarah Hamylton, Annelise Hagan and Tom Spencer). The exhibition is supported by key texts, taken from the Department Library's interesting collection of coral reef books.

The Periodicals Room, The Library, Department of Geography, 7 March - 22 April 2016. See opening times.

Image: Geological sketch map and sections, Funamanu Islet, Funafuti atoll mapped by George Sweet during the Second Expedition to Funafuti in 1897 (from Spencer, T, Stoddart DR and McLean RF 2008 Coral Reefs. In: Burt TP et al.(Eds.), The History of the Study of

# Global wetland loss

Researchers, including Tom Spencer of the Department, have modelled how wetlands might respond to rising sea levels, and found that as much as four-fifths of wetlands worldwide could be lost by the end of the century if sea levels continue to rise.

Using a new model to measure the possible effects on wetlands on a global scale, the researchers, from the UK and Germany, modelled the impacts of different scenarios for sea level rise to the end of this century. They found that even in the event of 'low' global sea level rise (around 30 centimetres), much of the world's wetlands, particularly on 'micro-tidal' coasts, are vulnerable. Around 70 percent of the world's wetlands are found on micro-tidal coasts, where the range between high spring tide and low spring tide is less than two metres, such as in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico. The results are reported in the journal Global and Planetary Change.

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# Dr Emma Mawdsley awarded prestigious teaching prize

Newnham College

Dr Emma Mawdsley, Reader in Human Geography and Fellow, College Lecturer and Director of Studies in Geography of Newnham College, is set to receive a Pilkington Teaching Prize in recognition of her capacity to connect with students and encourage them to achieve their potential. Heartiest and heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Mawdsley from all her students, undergraduate and graduate!

The Pilkington Teaching Prizes were established in 1994 by businessman and alumnus of Trinity College, Sir Alastair Pilkington. The aim was to ensure that excellence in teaching at the University was given proper recognition. Dr Mawdsley, will receive the prize at a special ceremony next term.

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# Prof Tania Murray Li, Distinguished Visiting Fellow

The Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Professor Tania Murray Li will be giving a public lecture on Commodifications, Capitalism, Counter-movements: Perspectives from Southeast Asia on Tuesday 23rd February at 5:00pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Dept of Geography. All welcome. There will also be a seminar on 24th February.

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# New PhD opportunities now available

The call for applications to the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data, Risk and Environmental Analytical Methods is now open. Students wishing to study for a Ph.D. on this programme should visit the website for the full list of available projects and information on how to apply. A total of 10 fully funded studentships will be available to those eligible for NERC funding. The deadline for applications is Friday 26th February 2016.

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# Online Geography Learning Resources for Sixth Form Students

Do you want to find out more about climate change, sea level rise, evidence based policy-making, biodiversity or nature-society relations? If so visit the Geography online learning resources website.

This is hosted by the University's HE Plus programme which has just registered its 10,000th participant. While the programme encourages and prepares academically high-achieving state school students to make competitive applications to top universities, including Cambridge, its online learning resources are freely available to anyone aiming to make a competitive application to university, as well as those seeking to support them. The Geography pages also include links to other sources of geographical information, linking particularly with the Royal Geographical Society. You can discover more about 21st Century Challenges, Geography in the News, and the Hidden Histories of Exploration.

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# Dr Charlotte Lemanski filmed for Geographical Association

Charlotte Lemanski has been filmed by the Geography Association as part of their series of videocasts for post-16 students. Filmed in in our very own geography library (with thanks to Robert Carter), and using images provided by Tatiana Thieme, Charlotte discuss the challenges of 'urbanisation' and 'urban poverty'. Follow the links to watch the films.

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# The era named after Man may have begun on Earth - the biggest change since the Ice Age

YLE Helsinki 2016

Phil Gibbard was interviewed in Helsinki for YLE News on the 'Anthropocene'. YLE is Yleisradio, the Finnish national broadcaster. Ihmisen mukaan nimetty aikakausi on ehkä alkanut maapallolla – suurin muutos sitten jääkauden (The era named after Man may have begun on Earth - the biggest change since the Ice Age).

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# First Year PhD Graduate Forum

First Year PhD students will present their research topics at a Graduate Forum on Tuesday, 12 January 2016.

The presentations will start at 10.00 am in the Seminar Room, in the main building of the Geography Department.

# The human layer

Economist Intelligent Life

Is humanity's impact on its environment so huge that the planet has entered a new geological era: the 'Anthropocene'? The idea is gaining ground – and dividing scientists.
The Economist's Intelligent Life columnist Helen Gordon discusses the controversy with Professor Phil Gibbard, among others.

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# Future Cities Prize Fellowships

In October 2015, eight PhD students, including Simon Price of the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group, and Charlie Barlow, were awarded Future Cities Prize Fellowships to present their ideas of what cities will be like at the first annual Future Cities conference in July 2016. They each received £2,000 to develop a short research paper and to summarise their ideas about how future cities may be designed, operated and lived within to meet social, economic and environmental aims. They will also present a poster showcasing their ideas at the first annual Future Cities conference in Cambridge in June 2016.

The Future Cities programme is funded through a generous gift from Capital & Counties and is being hosted by the Department of Land Economy, in collaboration with the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment.

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# 'Unprecedented' storms and floods are more common than we think

Gavin Lynn via Flickr

The recent 'unprecedented' flooding in north-west England might be more common than currently believed, a group of scientists has warned.

A team of experts including Dr Tom Spencer has concluded that 21st-century flood events such as Storm Desmond are not exceptional or unprecedented in terms of their frequency or magnitude, and that flood frequency and flood risk forecasts would be improved by including data from flood deposits dating back hundreds of years.

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# Cambridge research on sustainable flood defences on Arte TV

A CCRU project from 2013, involving a large wave flume experiment on the natural coastal protection provided by salt marshes, has contributed to a half-hour documentary on this topic produced by the French-German TV channel Arte.

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# Departmental seminar: Challenges for an improved understanding of sea level extremes and coastal flood mitigation

The Departmental seminar on 3rd December will be given by Dr Kevin Horsburgh, National Oceanography Centre, who is the Head of the Marine Physics and Ocean Climate (MPOC) at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). He also leads NOC's professional partnership with the Environment Agency (EA) and the Met Office for the UK Coastal Monitoring and Forecasting service which provides operational coastal flood forecasts. All welcome!

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# Professorship of Geography (1993) and Professorship of Environmental Systems Analysis

The Board of Electors to the Professorship of Geography (1993) and the Professorship of Environmental Systems Analysis invite applications for these two Professorships, to take up appointment as soon as possible. Candidates will have a high international reputation; a visionary agenda for world-leading research in the environmental sciences; and demonstrable ability to energise research and teaching across the Department of Geography and wider University environment.

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# David Stoddart Memorial Dinner

On 21st November, 39 guests attended a dinner that was held in St John's College to commemorate the life and work of David Ross Stoddart (1937-2014), the well-known geographer, geomorphologist and conservationist. David Stoddart was a former student of the Department who, after his Ph.D on the coral reefs and cays of Belize, went on to a distinguished career as a Lecturer in Cambridge and, after 1988, as the Professor of Geography at Berkeley, University of California. At the memorial dinner the various facets of his life were remembered by members of his family, friends, colleagues and former students, in particular his huge contributions to coral reef and island studies in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific, his key role in the conservation of Aldabra Atoll, south west Indian Ocean, and his fieldwork with our students on the salt marshes on East Anglia. Many of the lines of research pioneered in Cambridge by Alfred Steers (1899-1987) were taken further by David Stoddart, and they are continued today in the work of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (Director Dr Tom Spencer, Deputy Director Dr Iris Möller).

# Cambridge ESS NERC DTP PhD studentships

Cambridge Earth System Science NERC Doctoral Training Partnership provides PhD opportunities across the NERC remit with research projects tackling problems of global significance within the research themes of Climate, Biology and Solid Earth. Projects are now being advertised. Applicants from the UK and EU are eligible to apply. The deadline is Wednesday, 6 January 2016.

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# PhD Project - The Political Ecology of Trees and Birds in Ghana

A new PhD studentship with Department of Geography and RSPB is being advertised. The deadline for applications has been extended to 7 December 2015. Read more …

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# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD Opportunities 2016

Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD topics to start October 2016 are advertised on the Cambridge Earth System Science Doctoral Training Programme website. Members of the Geography Department / SPRI have projects advertised across all three themes of Climate, Biology and Solid Earth. Further general information about the application procedure is available.

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# Phil Gibbard appointed Secretary-General of the International Commission on Stratigraphy


Quaternary geologist Professor Phil Gibbard has been invited to take up the prestigious post of Secretary-General of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). The post, which was announced on Saturday 7 November, is initially for four years for the period 2016-2020.

The ICS is the largest and oldest constituent scientific body in the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). Its primary objective is to define precisely global divisions (systems, series and stages) of the International Geological Time Scale; thus setting global standards for the fundamental scale for expressing Earth history.

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# Professor AbdouMaliq Simone: Distinguished Visitor

Professor AbdouMaliq Simone is the Department's Distinguished International Fellow, November 2015. He will be giving a public lecture: The fugitives - blackness as urban method on Wednesday 4th November, and a seminar on Tuesday 3rd November.

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# Four Professors retire

On 27th October, the Department celebrated the careers of four immensely distinguished senior colleagues reaching retirement this Autumn: Professors Tim Bayliss-Smith, Ron Martin, Bob Haining and Hans Graf. Present and former academic colleagues gathered for dinner in Queen's College Old Hall (including five former Heads of Department, and our senior member, A. T. (Dick) Grove, who started his teaching career in Cambridge no less than 66 years ago), to discuss how to cope without them. Keith Richards proposed the toast, celebrating their research in poetical form.

His four Haiku are below: the challenge is to identify who is who (Keith vetoed also placing the limericks in the public domain)!

Paths, trends, waves and shocks;
Competing regions and places;
W(h)ither policy....?

Nature, hot and cold;
People hunt, herd, farm, cut wood,
Use ecosystems.

Volcanoes, plumes, ash;
Updrafts, nimbus, and downpours;
Sub-grid processes.

Mapping, modelling
Time-space process; crime and health.
Action Geography!

# Matthew Gandy elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Matthew Gandy has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of his role as "an internationally renowned interdisciplinary researcher in cultural, environmental and urban geography."

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# PhD project - The political ecology of trees and birds in Ghana

A new PhD studentship with Department of Geography and RSPB is being advertised.

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# Sea-level rise threatens over 60% of Indo-Pacific coastal wetlands

R. Reef

A uniquely detailed study of 153 Indo-Pacific mangrove sites shows that in 69 per cent of the studied locations sediment deposition is not able to keep surface elevation at or above rising sea-level. Dr Ruth Reef, currently based at the Department of Geography's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, is part of an international group of experts whose findings are published in the Journal Nature this week. Their results also suggest that mangrove forests at sites with low tidal range (i.e. a small difference in water level between high and low water stages of the tide) and little available sediment could be submerged as early as 2070. Mangrove ecosystems are unique habitats and act as stores of carbon, nursery grounds for commercially exploited fish, and natural coastal protection from storms. These new findings thus emphasise the urgent need to reduce/reverse the effect of river damming, which is the prime cause for reduced sediment delivery.

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# Sam Matthew wins 2015 Political Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize

Sam Matthew, Emmanuel College, has been selected as joint winner of the 2015 Political Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for his dissertation, 'The Ghosts of Gulu: Affect, Emotion and Mysticism in Northern Uganda'.

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# On Ecuador's Buen vivir

The conference on Ecuador's Buen Vivir provided a timely multidisciplinary conversation about a state-led process of change that has tended to sharply divide opinion. In contrast to the polarized perspectives on this South American country's experiment with a post-neoliberal political economy, a post-multicultural politics of recognition, and a post-sustainability politics of nature, the workshop - held in Cambridge University's Geography Department - offered an opportunity to look back over nearly a decade of implementation to query these, often hasty, interpretations. Specifically, the conference presented and debated emergent substantial research across a number of spheres (food production, education, international relations, social policy, infrastructure, the military, and more) to provide new lines of interpretation of this unique form of governance and its social, economic and political costs.

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# Victoria Bellamy, St Catharine’s College, awarded HGRG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2015

Victoria Bellamy, who graduated from the Geography Department with a First Class degree in July 2015, has been awarded the Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society Dissertation Prize 2015 for her project entitled: Cultivating virtuous citizens: conflicting spatial practices in London's Victoria Park. Victoria's dissertation was described by the judges as 'the most thorough piece of historical research, not just in the empirical work undertaken but in engaging seriously with historical perspective to examine the complexities and processes that produce and reproduce places, identities and ideas. This was an interesting and well-written dissertation with a good sense of the intellectual contribution it was seeking to make.'

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# Dr. Bhaskar Vira chairs H.H. the Dalai Lama and Lord Rowan Williams in Dialogue session on Environment

Ian Cumming

On the 16-17th September His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in a unique event on the theme of Universal Responsibility, 'Growing Wisdom, Changing People' held at Magdalene College and hosted by Lord Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Inspire Dialogue Foundation. The two days were structured around four plenary sessions on key thematic topics and smaller breakout group sessions.

On the first day, the Department's Dr. Bhaskar Vira chaired the afternoon plenary on 'Our Environmental Future'. The session was extremely successful in stimulating the audience, who enthusiastically engaged with the H.H. the Dalai Lama and Lord Williams, sharing questions and observations in open dialogue. Geography students and researchers also numbered among the many and diverse participants and volunteers.

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# Jog-raphers triumphant at Chariots of Fire race

Bill Adams

The Jog-raphers, a team of runners from the geography department, participated in the Chariots of Fire race in Cambridge city centre on Sunday 20th September 2015.

Comprising Bill Adams, Nick Cutler, Alex Jeffrey, Charlotte Lemanski, Lizzie Richardson and Tatiana Thieme - the Jog-raphers cruised around the 1.5 mile x 6 relay course in an impressive time of 1:09:35.

The Chariots of Fire 2015 race is raising money for the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) - if you would like to donate, please see the Jog-raphers justgiving page.

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# Ecuador's Buen Vivir: Implementation, challenges and ways forward

24th and 25th September 2015

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Nine years have passed since Ecuador adopted Buen Vivir ('Living harmoniously') as a key guiding principle in its political culture and planning process. Since then, Buen Vivir has captured significant international attention due to the notion's progressive, innovative and unprecedented proposals. The conference 'Ecuador's Buen Vivir: Implementation, Challenges and Ways Forward' brings together a multidisciplinary and international group of scholars to discuss what has happened since 2006, and the key dynamics at play in the implementation of Buen Vivir as an objective of state public policy. In light of its significance within Ecuadorian governmental goals and citizen-state politics, the conference focuses on the contemporary moment of Buen Vivir in Ecuador. The meanings of Buen Vivir as a constitutional right and policy goal have travelled and changed over the short period of time since it was formally established in the 2008 Constitution. Buen Vivir has become embroiled in contests over its meanings, consequences and priorities, contests that engage social movements and diverse social actors. Meanwhile however poverty has declined and inequality, education and health indicators have improved, indicating broad state and societal transformations. In this context, the conference seeks to examine the current dynamics around Buen Vivir and discern future directions for policy, society and government over the next few years.

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# Climate Change, Salt Marshes, and Coastal Protection

Photo by: I Möller

One of the most in intriguing-looking projects currently hosted on the Research Plots of the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens involves a line of six ply and polythene domes! These are part of a Marie Curie funded research collaboration between Dr Ruth Reef, Dr Iris Moller and Dr Tom Spencer from the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) at the Department of Geography.

In these domes they are growing salt marsh plants in order to investigate how global change is affecting the energy dissipation properties of salt marsh vegetation so to better understand the role salt marshes play in coastal defence and how this role might change under future climate scenarios. Coastal salt marshes protect our coastlines by dissipating wave energy and reducing erosion.

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# Sam Matthew, Emmanuel College, awarded PolGRG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2015

Sam Matthew (Emmanuel College) was selected as a joint winner of the 2015 Political Geography Research Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for his disseration 'The Ghosts of Gulu: Affect, Emotion and Mysticism in Northern Uganda'.

Sam's dissertation was described by the judges as 'a well-developed and theoretically informed engagement with questions of politics and the political in everyday life' which presented 'a number of interesting and insightful ideas' and did 'a good job of weaving empirical examples with theoretical ideas'.

This was an ambitious and exciting project that combined elements from across the geography degree.

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# Lectureship vacancy

The Department is currently advertising a fixed-term Lectureship in Human Geography, to start on 1st October 2015. The successful candidate will have broad interests in the area of development studies, with particular emphasis in urban, environmental, social and/or post-colonial geographies. See more information and how to apply online.

# Journeys that show John was our king of the road

Max Satchell and Ellen Potter

The Times features a full-page article ('Journeys that show John was our king of the road', 10th June 2015) about research undertaken by members of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.

Max Satchell and Ellen Potter used GIS to map the locations of John, Henry III, and Edward I from place and date clauses of thousands of royal letters and charters from 1199 to 1305. This created extremely detailed itineraries, enabling the day to day movements of each king to be reconstructed. By tracking the movements of King John and his successors through England and Wales it is possible to learn a great deal about medieval transport and travel.

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# Progress in Geography Conference for Sixth Form Students

Dr Iris Moller, speaking at the 2011 Progress in Geography conference

Fitzwilliam College holds an annual one-day conference for Sixth Form students intending to study Geography at University, and for their teachers. This popular conference aims to update lower Sixth Formers and teachers on current issues in geographical research - and to provide potential applicants with an opportunity to visit one of the leading colleges for Geography in the University. This year, the conference will take place on Monday 22 June 2015.

The conference runs from 10.30 to 16.30 in the College Auditorium. The conference consists of a series of 45-minute sessions on topical subjects in Geography, with plenty of time allowed for discussion. During breaks and lunch, conference attendees have the opportunity to meet Fellows who teach Geography at Fitzwilliam, as well as current Geography students. There are 150 places available, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Bookings can be made via the College website.

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# Trinity College Geography Event

Trinity College will be hosting a Geography recruitment event on Friday 3 July (11.00-12.15). Dr Nick Cutler, College Lecturer in Geography and an Admissions Tutor at Churchill College, will talk about the undergraduate Geography course at Cambridge. He will give guidance on preparing a competitive application and answer questions about the Cambridge admissions process. After the event, attendees will be able to participate in the tours and lectures organised by the Geography Department as part of the University Open Day. If you would like to attend, please email

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# Dr Charlotte Lemanski awarded Royal Geographical Society Award

Mark Earthy

Dr Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society Gill Memorial Award for early-career achievement in the field of urban geography.

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# Undergraduate Open Days 2015

This year's open days will be on Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd July 2015.

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# After the Iron curtain: Poor parenting and state intervention in cross cultural perspective: a one-day workshop

This workshop, on Wednesday June 10th 2015, is concerned with the issue of 'poor' parenting in cross-cultural perspective, and particularly a UK comparison with post-Soviet countries. Taken at face value, the concept of 'poor' parenting may look very different in countries with different political, ideological and socio-economic structures such as liberal democracies of the UK and the US, yet one study has revealed some (tentative) similarities in child welfare practices. This workshop problematizes the concept of 'poor' parenting by making it an analytical concept and placing it in a comparative context, asking three main questions: (1) What constitutes 'poor' parenting in a particular country? (2) What are the underlying concepts of childhood and parenthood this relies on? (3) What are the similarities in child welfare practices, and how do we account for these?

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# Visit SPRI Prints

The Scott Polar Research Institute is pleased to offer high quality prints from our unique collection. Images are available in various sizes, framed or unframed. Visit

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# Trinity College geography essay competition

Trinity College's annual Geography Essay Competition is now open to entrants. The competition is open to Year 12 students in UK schools. Essays should be on the following topic: "At a fundamental level, geography is the study of places. What is the most important place in the world, and why?"

Further details are available from the Trinity College website. Potential entrants can also contact Nick Cutler, the College's Director of Studies in Geography, for guidance. The closing date for entries is 30 June 2015.

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# Dr Tom Spencer organises International Discussion Meeting on 'Stormy Geomorphology'

Coastal impacts beyond SW England - Porthcawl, South Wales

Living in an age of extremes: how the study of landscape dynamics can help us

The British Society for Geomorphology, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and Wiley are holding a one day international conference on Stormy Geomorphology: geomorphic contributions in an age of extremes on 11 May 2015 at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London. The lead organiser is the Department's Dr Tom Spencer.

Typhoon Haiyan, Indus river flooding, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina: extreme storms and floods are increasing in frequency and intensity across much of the globe. These events generate severe coastal and river flooding which have considerable impacts on the landscape, and in turn, the people that live in vulnerable regions.

'In the face of this environmental challenge, a continued reliance on at-a-point engineered flood defences is most likely both unrealistic and undesirable' says Dr Spencer. 'But by thinking outside this box, Geomorphology – the science of the study of landforms – can help us to understand, measure, and predict the landscape-scale impacts of extreme events on human lives and livelihoods. Geomorphology can contribute towards helping communities plan for, and recover quickly from, severe storm events and coastal flooding'.

Speakers from around the world (USA, Australia, continental Europe and the UK) will present state-of-the-art research which aids the better understanding of the impacts of extreme events, to an audience of academics, engineers, land managers, government organisations, NGOs, and local authorities.

Speakers will discuss: innovative techniques to monitor, measure, and model extreme events; how geological and historical records can help us improve flood risk assessments and infrastructure planning; how land management policy and practice can ease the impact of extreme events; and how natural and nature-based approaches to flood management can make an important contribution to risk reduction strategies.

All these insights and approaches are needed to help us better cope with an increasingly stormy world.

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# New study highlights the role of forests in addressing hunger

Terry Sunderland

A new study, led by Dr Bhaskar Vira, and launched at the United Nations Forum on Forests meeting in New York, highlights the importance of forests and trees in responses to global hunger. More than 60 global scientists and experts (including Dr Chris Sandbrook from the Department) collaborated on the peer-reviewed publication "Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition: A Global Assessment Report", which was coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The report underlines the need for the most vulnerable groups in society to have secure access to forest foods. Although forests are not a panacea for global hunger, the report emphasizes that they play a vital role in complementing crops produced on farms. This is especially important when the staple food supply is impaired by droughts, volatile prices, armed conflicts, or other crises.

The study comes in the lead up to the United Nations' finalization of the Sustainable Development Goals, designed to address, among other global challenges, poverty and hunger. The report also provides useful insight into how the UN can respond to the "Zero Hunger Challenge," which aims to eliminate global hunger by 2025. Bhaskar has written a short blog on the key findings of the report, and the findings have been widely reported in the media, including the BBC.

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# Perspectives on the Nepal earthquake

Bhuwan Maharjan

Typical Nepal mountain hazards were made worse by the recent earthquake. Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Willis, and PhD student Evan Miles contemplate the fate of people in a remote part of the country, where they have been doing research for the past two years.

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# The Victorian dog: a new book on the historical and cultural geography of petkeeping

A new book on the historical and cultural geography of petkeeping has been published by the University of Virginia Press. In At Home and Astray: The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain, Philip Howell argues that the modern dog was 'invented' in the nineteenth century, with the rise of pet keeping installing dogs in the middle-class home at the same time as efforts were made to police 'stray' dogs off the public streets. Howell uses the dog's place in the Victorian city to shed light on the relationship between humans and animals in modernity. Discussing such notables as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, and Charles Darwin, and ranging from vivisection and the policing of rabies to pet cemeteries, dog shelters, and the practice of walking the dog, At Home and Astray contributes not only to the history of animals but also to our understanding of the Victorian era and its legacies.

"In the past few years nothing has given me greater pleasure to read than At Home and Astray. From the very beginning I was captivated by the issues it raised, the theoretical engagement demonstrated, and the beautifully clear, elegant, and wonderfully structured writing. There are other books on humans and dogs in the Victorian period, but none have the breadth or the nuanced intellectual sophistication of Howell's book."—Garry Marvin, Roehampton University, coeditor of The Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies

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# Dr Charlotte Lemanski awarded best Urban Studies journal paper of 2014

Dr Charlotte Lemanski has been awarded the best of paper of 2014 by the journal Urban Studies for her article "Hybrid gentrification in South Africa: theoretising across southern and northern cities", which was published in the November 2014 issue, Volume 51(14), pp2943-2960. The journal is now offering free access to this article.

Charlotte wrote a short blog post about the article when it was first published, and has also completed a vodcast related to the article and the award, which should be online soon.

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# Charlie Barlow and Dr Charlotte Lemanski present at ESRC housing seminar

Charlie Barlow (final year PhD student) and Dr Charlotte Lemanski were both invited to present their research related to mixed-income housing at an ESRC seminar on "Marketplace Exclusion: Representations, Resistances and Responses" organised by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.

Charlie Barlow spoke about his PhD research on mixed-income condominiums in Chicago, while Charlotte Lemanski spoke about her research on mixed-income housing developments in post-apartheid South Africa. The event attracted a mix of housing specialists including both academics and practioners.

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# TalkScience: Scientists in Extreme Environments

Michael Bravo

Why do scientists work in extreme environments, and is it worth the financial and human cost? A discussion at The British Library on 25th March 2015.

Scientists travel to the tops of mountains, the polar regions and even outer space in order to conduct experiments, make observations and set up instruments. What have we learned from doing science in extreme environments? Is what we gain worth the high financial, and sometimes human, cost? Does exploring these places also make science a vehicle through which geopolitics is played out? Do we need to explore for the sake of exploration? University of Cambridge geographer and historian of science Dr Michael Bravo joined a panel discussion chaired by science journalist Dr Gabrielle Walker, along with Director of the British Antarctic Survey Professor Jane Francis, UCL anaesthetist and space medicine expert Dr Kevin Fong.

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# Cambridge Science Festival Geography and UCCRI activity

I Möller

The Geography Department event at the Cambridge Science Festival 2015 was a great success, with more than 150 visitors enjoying a range of activities from the study of salt marsh mud, to the measurement of waves in shallow water, playing a computer game to find out how to use the natural environment to protect against coastal flooding and looking at the weird and wonderful invertebrates that inhabit our tidal flats under the microscope, to reading about invasive species and learning about the habitat and behaviour of crayfish

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# Science Festival event - Splash and Squelch

Donna O'Donoghue (

Saturday 14 March: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Department of Geography, Downing Place, CB2 3EN

An event for the Science Festival! Find out about the animals and plants that live on our coasts, try out a wave sensor, find out how to prepare for floods, meet a crayfish, and lots more... Explore the magic of muddy and watery places and find out why we need them. Brought to you by the Coastal Research Unit, Environmental Systems and Processes Group and University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute,

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# New European Alternative Finance Report launched

Two members of the Department of Geography, Mia Gray and Bryan Zhang, are co-authors of the new report Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report. The report captures an estimated 85%-90% of Europe's online platform-based alternative finance market. Seen until recently as a niche activity, online alternative finance including equity-based crowdfunding and peer-to-peer business lending has become a vital and increasingly commonplace source of essential funding throughout Europe for SMEs, start-ups and many other businesses, says the report.

While previous studies had charted alternative finance in the UK, this report is the first to cover other European countries in detail. Since its publication, the report has received extensive press coverage across Europe, from the Financial Times, Le Monde, The Telegraph, to Der Spiegel and Bloomberg.

The European online alternative finance market grew by 144% last year to nearly €3b and could top €7b in 2015, according to the first comprehensive pan-European benchmarking of alternative finance produced by the new Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School and professional services organisation EY, of which Gray and Zhang are both members of the Managing Board.

Online alternative finance, comprising platform-based financial transactions outside traditional banking, grew across Europe from €1.21b in 2013 to €2.96b in 2014. The overall European alternative industry is on track to grow beyond €7b if the market fundamentals remain sound and growth continues apace.

In 2014, €201m of early-stage, growth and working capital funding was provided to European SMEs and start-ups by alternative finance platforms. The volume of online alternative business funding has been growing steadily at around 75% year on year, and the estimated number of start-ups and SMEs funded through online alternative finance platforms has been growing at an even faster average rate of 133% over the last three years to around 5,801 SMEs or start-ups in 2014.

Mia Gray, co-author of the report says: "On-line platform-based alternative finance is burgeoning across Europe. However, it's distribution, diversity, and regulation is highly geographically uneven. This report is a first step in exploring these dynamics in various economies. The new Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance will enable us to critically examine this nascent industry from a geographical perspective."

The new Centre provides a disciplined research framework to support the fast-growing structures and activities of alternative finance, in order to address the growing needs of academics, policymakers, regulators and industry; the Centre plans to launch a research programme, host a Global Alternative Finance Data Depository, and organise conferences, networking events and a Fellowship programme.

Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report is available to download for free at

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# Departmental Seminar with Prof. Richard Dawson (Newcastle University) on Thurs Feb. 26th

Please join us for the second of this term's talks as part of the Department of Geography's Main Departmental Seminar Series with Prof. Richard Dawson (Newcastle University) on Thursday, February 26th at 4.15pm for his talk entitled 'Adapting Cities and Their Infrastructure to Global Change: An Integrated Modelling Approach to Understand Risks and Tradeoffs'.

The seminar will be held in the Small Lecture Theatre in the Main Geography Building on the Downing Site and will be followed by drinks in the Common Room. After the seminar, a group will be going to dinner with Prof. Dawson. All welcome!

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# New book on Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain published

A new book edited by Chris Briggs, P.M. Kitson and S.J. Thompson has been published: Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain, 1290-1834 (Boydell & Brewer, 2014).

This book grew out of a conference on 'Population, economy and welfare, c.1200-2000' held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in September 2011 to celebrate the scholarly achievements of Richard Smith on his retirement as Professor of Historical Geography and Demography in the Department of Geography. The book is thus an 'unofficial' festschrift for Richard and features work by his colleagues, friends and students, many of them associated with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.

Population, Welfare and Economic Change presents the latest research on the causes and consequences of British population change from the medieval period to the eve of the Industrial Revolution, in town and countryside.

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# CAMPOP featured by ESRC as one of greatest achievements in social science research

Today the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP) is featured by the ESRC for its achievement in transforming our knowledge of Britain's demographic past. This is part of a year-long celebration of the social sciences and how they have contributed to society by the ESRC to mark their 50th anniversary.

Work undertaken at CAMPOP means that we know know a great deal more about the demographic and family history of England than we do of any other nation. It has also provided important knowledge about the demographic transition in Britain in more recent times, analysing census data from Scotland, England and Wales. The group's research has shed light on areas ranging from child mortality and family structures to housing and employment, and was crucial in revolutionising our understanding of how industrialisation first occurred in world history. The research group has been innovative in its methods of data collection and analysis, involving amateur and family historians in data gathering. A recent development has been an expansion of work using GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which is already producing many new insights.

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# Geography Seminar Series: Prof. Melissa Leach, Institute of Development Studies (Feb. 5th)

Please join us for the first of this term's talks as part of the Department of Geography's Main Departmental Seminar Series with Prof. Melissa Leach (Institute of Development Studies) on Thursday, February 5th at 4.15pm.

Prof. Leach is currently the Director of the Institute of Development Studies. Until recently, she directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre. She trained as a Geographer here at Cambridge and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from SOAS. Her talk, entitled 'Ebola and beyond: Interlaced inequalities, unsustainabilities and insecurities in a global development era,' promises to be an excellent one, and we hope many of you can attend!

As the Ebola crisis continues to unfold across West Africa and the international community belatedly but now intensely responds, bigger, broader questions arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. What does the Ebola crisis reveal about contemporary patterns of environment, health and development? What would it take to build more equal, sustainable and resilient societies and systems, so that the events we are seeing in 2014 do not happen again? Can this crisis provide a moment for reframing development, in the region and beyond? In order to understand the causes and consequences of this particular outbreak, and to prevent such disasters in the future, our attention must turn to why such outbreaks occur in the first place and why they often have such devastating impacts in some places and times and not in others. The magnitude and persistence of the current crisis has exposed the hazards of living in a highly interconnected yet inequitable global political and economic system, and the consequences that can emerge from underdevelopment and related 'structural violence'. In turn, reflecting on these processes can help define future research and development priorities for a world where the risks of zoonotic disease emergence are growing.

The seminar will be held in the Small Lecture Theatre in the Main Geography Building on the Downing Site and will be followed by drinks in the Common Room.

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# Professor Ash Amin awarded Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University

Congratulations to Professor Ash Amin who has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden for contributions to Social Science. The degree will be conferred on 30 January 2015 in Uppsala.

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# Valley on South Georgia named after Nigel Leader-Williams

British Antarctic Survey

The Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has approved the name Leader Valley for British Use for a previously unnamed feature on the Barff Peninsula of South Georgia. The Valley is named after Professor Nigel Leader-Williams for his work on reindeer populations on South Georgia in the 1970s.

The description agreed by The Antarctic Place-Names Committee is for a feature located at 54o 20' 48'' S, 36o 18' 55'' W, and trending east from Sorling Valley Hut to Montebello Peak. The name has been added to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Territory Gazetteer, and is available for use on all maps, charts and in all publications.

All the reindeer have recently been eradicated from the three areas of South Georgia where they had previously occurred (Leader-Williams, 1988). Meanwhile, eradication of the more extensive rat populations is ongoing. The aim of completely eradicating both the introduced rats and reindeer is to reverse their impacts on, and help the recovery of, South Georgia's native flora and fauna.

# Vacancy for a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography

The Department is currently advertising a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography, with a closing date of 12 February. Further information is available.

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# Phil Gibbard awarded the James Croll Medal 2014

Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the prestigious James Croll Medal 2014 by Quaternary Research Association at the 2015 Annual Discussion Meeting in Edinburgh on 6 January 2015. The medal, the Association's highest award, was given in recognition of Phil's outstanding contributions to the field of Quaternary Science. The award reflects Phil's broad-ranging and cutting edge research across glacial, periglacial and interglacial stratigraphy, and his outstanding contributions to national and international committees including the QRA, INQUA and the ICS' Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy.

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# Nereus PhD studentship

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship on the Nereus programme, with the topic of Mangroves, Fisheries and Community Livelihoods. Deadline for application is 4th February.

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# The social risks of using drones for conservation

Drones are increasingly used to monitor habitat change and to catch poachers. But what might be the social implications of these activities, and could they undermine human rights and conservation objectives in the long term? Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed on this topic for the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 9th December. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 20 minutes into the episode.

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# David Stoddart (1937-2014)

The Department records, with great sadness, the death of David Ross Stoddart (1937-2014) on 23 November 2014. David was a member of the Department of Geography between 1956 and 1988 (exhibitioner at St. John's College 1956-1959; Demonstrator 1962-1967; University Lecturer 1967-1988) before taking up the Chair of Department and Professor of Geography, University of California at Berkeley 1988-1994 (Faculty 1988-2000; Emeritus 2000-2014). He was a graduate student of J.A. Steers, completing a Ph.D. on the Belize Barrier Reef in1964. David made significant contributions to methodology and philosophy in geography; coral reef geomorphology, ecology and reef island floristics; ocean basin biogeography; wetland ecology and sedimentology; and the history of coral reef science. There were also notable contributions to island conservation, most particularly in the saving of the raised limestone atoll of the now World Heritage Site-designated Aldabra Atoll, S.W. Indian Ocean for science.

David was an outstanding advocate for geography within the natural sciences; an exceptional leader of multi-disciplinary, logistically complex international expeditions; a commanding, effective (and amusing) lecturer; and an inspirational PhD supervisor, nurturing talent and setting the highest standards of postgraduate research; many of his students now hold prestigious academic positions in geomorphology in the UK, USA and Australia. In addition, he was the driving force behind the setting up of the quadrennial International Coral Reef Symposia, the first President of the International Society for Reef Studies and the first Co-ordinating Editor of the international journal Coral Reefs (Springer-Verlag).

His awards included: Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1979). Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000). Ness Award (1965) and Founder's Gold Medal (1979), Royal Geographical Society; Livingstone Gold Medal (1981), Royal Scottish Geographical Society; Davidson Medal (2000), American Geographical Society; Darwin Medal (1988), International Society for Reef Studies; Herbert E. Gregory Medal (1986), Pacific Science Association; and Prix Manley-Bendall (1972), Institut Oceanographique de Monaco / Société Oceanographique de Paris.

# Professor of Geography vacancy

The Board of Electors to the Professorship of Geography (1993) invite applications for this Professorship, to take up appointment as soon as possible. Preference will be given to persons whose work is connected with Physical Geography. Candidates will have an outstanding research record of international stature in Physical Geography and the vision, leadership, experience and enthusiasm to build on current strengths in maintaining and developing a leading research presence.

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# Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

Mountain forest mist - Oliver Whiteside via Flickr

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing in the journal Science, Professor Bill Adams of the Department argues that assigning a quantitative value to nature does not automatically lead to the conservation of biodiversity, and may in fact contribute to species loss and conflict.

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# Alternative finance market set to double in 2015

Rocío Lara via flickr

The UK's alternative finance market – which includes crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and invoice trading – is set to reach nearly £2 billion by the end of the year, and is expected to double in 2015, as businesses increasingly seek more efficient ways to raise funding.

Geography PhD candidate, Bryan Zhang and Dr Mia Gray have been working together with Nesta to produce the Understanding Alternative Finance - 2014 UK Alternative Finance Industry Report which has been released this morning.

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# UCCRI student reports from Future Earth meeting

Jasper Montana

Following a global call for participants, Jasper Montana, a PhD student in the Department and the Conservation Research Institute was selected to attend the DIVERSITAS celebrations event in Spain last month. DIVERSITAS is an international programme of biodiversity science, established to address the complex questions posed by major environmental changes facing the planet. This event marked the closure of DIVERSITAS and its transition into the new Future Earth initiative.

Jasper's research focuses on the governance of biodiversity and, in particular, looks at the role of experts, institutions and policy support tools in securing the impact of biodiversity science. His reflection on the event and his interview with one of the participants on the legacy of DIVERSITAS are now both available on the Future Earth blog.

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# The Ethnographic Experiment

St John's College, Cambridge

On 4th November Tim Bayliss-Smith helped to organise the launch in St John's College of a recently published book entitled The Ethnographic Experiment: A. M. Hocart and W.H.R. Rivers in Island Melanesia, edited by Edvard Hviding and Cato Berg (Berghahn, Oxford, 2014). The book examines an expedition to Solomon Islands in 1908 led by William Rivers, who was a Cambridge psychologist, social anthropologist and, later on, a pioneer of psychoanalysis. Accompanying Rivers were two younger ethnologists, Arthur Hocart and Gerald Wheeler.

Tim and the other authors of this book argue that the three expedition's members were the true pioneers of the ethnographic methods that, following Bronislaw Malinowski (1922), became standard fieldwork practice for social anthropology. Their achievements have been overlooked because their career paths diverged and they never managed to fully publish their results, and because Rivers in particular was absorbed by other interests before his sudden death in 1922. In the First World War he helped to pioneer new therapeutic methods for soldiers suffering from 'shell-shock' involving neo-Freudian psychoanalysis. After 1919, when he returned to St John's College, he was diverted into theories of cultural diffusion that are now discredited, but popular at the time especially among German geographers and anthropologists. He also wrote about 'the psychological factor' in the depopulation of the Pacific islands, neglecting the 'germs' factor (sexually transmitted infections in particular) within the 'guns, germs and steel' triad of colonialism's negative impacts. As a result, 'the ethnographic experiment' of 1908 has never received its full recognition.

An article about the book in The Guardian has also been published.

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# Connecting health research and disaster research: global health, disaster risk reduction and disaster response

The Environmental Systems and Processes Research Group is delighted to welcome Dr Ilan Kelman to the Department on Tuesday, 28th October. Dr Kelman, Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London, will talk on 'Connecting health research and disaster research: global health, disaster risk reduction and disaster response' in the Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography at 1pm.

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# Dr David Turnbull workshop on nation state and sovereignty

The Nature, Cultures, Knowledges research group is delighted to host Dr David Turnbull for an early career workshop at the Geography Department on Wednesday, October 22nd, 11-12.30pm. The title of the workshop is "The Nation State and Sovereignty: Renarrations, Reterritorialisations, and Keeping the Commons Alive: Bringing Performativity, Connectivity, Movement and Embodied Cognition to the Task".

Dr Turnbull is a Senior Research Fellow at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab at Melbourne University and will be known to many people for his thought-provoking writings on topics as varied as postcolonialism; indigenous mapping; narrative traditions of space; and performativity. The workshop will be attended by a group of early career researchers encompassing postgraduates and postdoctoral students.

# Anthropocene: is this the new epoch of humans?

The Guardian, 16/10/2014

Ian Sample, the Guardian science editor discusses the possible definition of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, as geologists, climate scientists, ecologists – and a lawyer – gather in Berlin for talks on whether to rename age of human life. While acknowledging humanity's terrifying impact on the Earth's natural systems, Professor Phil Gibbard of the Department of Geography questions the necessity of this definition.

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# Festival of Ideas 2014

The Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2014 is taking place between Monday 20th October and Sunday 2th November. Members of the Department of Geography will be taking part in a number of talks.

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# Scott Polar Research Institute awarded £500,000 by Heritage Lottery Fund

The Scott Polar Research Institute, part of the Department of Geography, has been awarded £500,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Collecting Cultures funding programme. This money has been awarded for By Endurance We Conquer: the Shackleton Project, which will unite the Scott Polar Research Institute's Archive, Museum, Library and Picture Library in a targeted purchasing strategy designed to develop its collection of material relating to Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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# Salt marsh plants key to reducing coastal erosion and flooding

The effectiveness of salt marshes – wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides – in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study led by researchers from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

In the largest laboratory experiment ever constructed to investigate this phenomenon, the researchers have shown that over a distance of 40 metres, the salt marsh reduced the height of large waves in deep water by 18%, making them an effective tool for reducing the risk of coastal erosion and flooding. Sixty percent of this reduction is due to the presence of marsh plants alone. The results are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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# Cambridge Conservation Seminars 2014-2015

The first Cambridge Conservation Seminar for 2014-2015 will be given by Dr James Pearce-Higgins, Director of Science, British Trust for Ornithology, entitled 'From individuals to populations to communities: Climate change impacts on birds'.

This seminar will be on Wednesday 15th October, 5pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site. All Welcome.

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# Geography undergraduate dissertation wins national prize

Jen Durrant

A dissertation by a Geography undergraduate has won a Royal Geographical Society (RGS) prize. Jen Durrant, a Sidney Sussex geographer who graduated in 2014, won the award from the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group of the RGS for her dissertation examining the geographies of a homeless hostel. Congratulations to Jen.

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# New study finds Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change

Sam Doyle

Research by Dr. Marion Bougamont and Dr. Poul Christoffersen at the Scott Polar Research Institute shows that the massive ice sheet covering most of Greenland is more vulnerable to climate change than earlier estimates have suggested. In addition to assessing the impact of increased levels of surface melting on ice flow, the new research also takes into account the role that soft, spongy ground beneath the ice sheet plays in its changing dynamics. The study concludes that there is a limit on how much water can be stored in the soft ground beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, and this makes it sensitive to climate change as well as to increased frequency of short-lived, but extreme, meteorological events including rainfall and heat waves. The findings are published 29 September in the journal Nature Communications.

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# Valuing what nature does for us

Isadora Angarita (BirdLife International) "Carbon transects in Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic"

Staff from the Department of Geography have been involved in a large collaborative effort to produce the first widely accessible, interactive Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) that was launched online on 8th September to coincide with the 7th Annual Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Costa Rica.

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# Prof. Nick Blomley Seminar 4pm Friday 12th September

James Youlden

On Friday 12th September 4pm Professor Nick Blomley (Simon Fraser University) will present a Geography Seminar entitled 'The Space of Property' in the Department's Small Lecture Theatre. Professor Blomley has pioneered work examining the relationship between law and space, drawing on a wide array of empirical examples. This seminar is open to all.

# New book on criminal corpses

A new book by Shane McCorristine has been published: William Corder and the Red Barn Murder: Journeys of the Criminal Body (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

This book, written as part of a Wellcome Trust project at the University of Leicester, looks at the notorious killing of Maria Martin at the Red Barn in Polstead, Suffolk, by William Corder in 1827. Corder's arrest and trial in 1828 were sensational events and his subsequent hanging made him into a celebrity criminal, endlessly brought back to life by preachers, ballad singers, anatomists and theatre managers. Corder's corpse was anatomised, skinned, and galvanised, and some of his body parts are still available to be viewed by the public in the Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, serving as an example of how criminal bodies have historically been commoditised in order to 'curate' crime.

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# Fixed-term Lectureship in Human Geography

The Department currently has a vacancy for a Lecturer in Human Geography, working in the areas of historical, political and/or economic geography. The post is available from 1 October 2014 to 30 June 2016. The successful candidate will also be considered for a Bye-Fellowship at Fitzwilliam College for the same period. College duties will be separately remunerated, and will include up to four hours per week of supervision (small group teaching).

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# IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

We are delighted to announce that one of our PhD students, Dave McLaughlin, has been awarded a prestigious AHRC/ESRC IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress. Dave will commence his research in Michaelmas 2014.

# IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

We are delighted to announce that one of our PhD students, Ave Lauren, has been awarded a prestigious AHRC/ESRC IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress.

# Geography PhD student in Nature Climate Change, July 2014

D.C.Rose (2014)

A new article published by PhD student, David Christian Rose, his first academic publication, discusses 'five ways' in which researchers might enhance the impact of climate science. In recognising that evidence is just one factor in a complex decision-making process, climate scientists would do well to 1) reject an evidence-based mindset to presenting knowledge, and 2) adopt an evidence-informed approach allowing knowledge to be persuasive after interaction with other factors. As part of this mindset, climate scientists should 3) not overrate certainty of evidence, 4) tell good news stories, and 5) re-frame climate science to be policy relevant whenever possible.

David has also recently won 2nd prize in the poster competition at the 9th International Conference in Interpretative Policy Analysis, held in Wageningen.

Rose, D.C. (2014) 'Five ways to enhance the impact of climate science', Nature Climate Change, 4 (7) (25 June 2014): 522–524.

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# The Shrinking Commons Symposium

On 8-9 September 2014, the department will be hosting a major international Symposium, 'The Shrinking Commons', to debate the changing nature of the commons and the intellectual and political challenges posed by the changes. All are welcome to the public lectures that form part of the Symposium.

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# Shane McCorristine collaborates on Antarctic Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Hugh Broughton, 'Life in a Freezer'

Dr Shane McCorristine has collaborated with artists and architects on the Antarctic Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture. Commissioned by the Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev and curated by Nadim Samman, "Antarctopia" is the first time that Antarctica has been represented at this prestigious cultural event. The Pavilion interrogates the architectural relationship humans have with Antarctica, looking at heroic pasts, techno-scientific presents, and imagined futures. Shane contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue entitled "'What shall we call it?' Performing home in Antarctica". The Biennale runs from June 7 - November 23 2014.

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

The Department of Geography has once again been placed at the top for Geography and Environmental Science in the the Guardian newspaper 2015 Universities Guide.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

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# Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas Launched at SPRI

Michael Bravo

A new digital resource brings together centuries of cultural knowledge for the first time, showing that networks of trails over snow and sea ice, seemingly unconnected to the untrained eye, in fact span a continent – and that the Inuit have long-occupied one of the most resource-rich and contested areas on the planet. The material has been digitised and organised geospatially, with trails mapped out over satellite imagery using global positioning systems. It constitutes the first attempt to map the ancient hubs and networks that have long-existed in a part of the world frequently and wrongly depicted as 'empty': as though an unclaimed stretch of vacant space.

"To the untutored eye, these trails may seem arbitrary and indistinguishable from surrounding landscapes. But for Inuit, the subtle features and contours are etched into their narratives and story-telling traditions with extraordinary precision," said Dr Michael Bravo from the Scott Polar Research Institute, part of the Department of Geography. "This atlas is a first step in making visible some of the most important tracks and trails spanning the North American continent from one end to the other. Essentially the trails and the atlas reduce the topology of the Arctic, revealing it to be a smaller, richer, and more intimate world."

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# Susan Smith awarded RGS-IBG Victoria Medal

Susan Smith has been awarded the RGS-IBG Victoria Medal 'for conspicuous merit in research in Human Geography'.

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# Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure: 50th Anniversary Conference

A conference, Population Histories in Context: Past achievements and future directions, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, will be held on 16th-18th September 2014 at Downing College, Cambridge, UK.

The conference will consist of six themed sessions, with invited speakers covering topics related to the Group's past work and to emerging issues: population and economy; mortality and the urban penalty; household formation systems; marital fertility and celibacy; ageing; and 'the West and the Rest'.

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# Active groundwater reservoir found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet

Photo: Poul Christoffersen

Glaciologists at SPRI have identified a large subglacial groundwater reservoir beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The reservoir was found to be connected with a hydrological network in five large drainage basins, and to feed nutrients to subglacial lakes where living organisms may exist. Poul Christoffersen, the lead author of the study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, talks to Planet Earth Online.

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# Royal Society Resilience event at Hay Festival

B Vira

Dr Bhaskar Vira is participating in a panel discussion on Resilience to Disaster at the Hay Festival 2014, on Friday 30 May. The panel discussion has been organised by the Royal Society, and will be Chaired by Professor Georgina Mace, University College London. The other participants are Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, and Professor Katrina Brown, from the University of Exeter.

The event will draw on the work of the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters, to which Dr Vira is contributing. The panel will discuss the evidence that is being analysed in order to inform the important decisions regarding adaptation and risk reduction that are being made at global, national and local levels. Questions to be address in this session include: How do we prepare ourselves for the impacts of weather-related disasters? What are our options and how do we decide which is the best approach to take? What is the contribution of ecosystem-based approaches to resilience? What are the roles of state, business and community responses in this context?

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# The Randolph Glacier Inventory 3.2

Journal of Glaciology

Second year PhD student Evan Miles is one of fourteen lead authors on a recent paper documenting a new and complete inventory of all glaciers across the globe. The full authorship includes 74 scientists from 18 countries. The inventory has been derived from careful analysis of satellite imagery and contains 198,000 glaciers covering an area totaling 726,800 km2. The inventory has been crucial in helping to derive recent estimates of glacier mass balance and volume changes and their contribution to recent sea level rise, as summarized in the latest (2013) IPCC report. (Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 60, No. 221, 2014

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# Professor Ron Martin awarded Doctorate of Science

The Department is pleased to announce that Professor Ron Martin has been awarded a Doctorate of Science by the University, in recognition of his contributions to three main areas in economic geography - the relationship between economic geography and geographical economics; regional development theory; and the construction of a new paradigm of evolutionary economic geography.

At present Ron is engaged on a major (£3m) Foresight Programme on the Future of Cities for the UK Government Office for Science and has recently been appointed to the Advisory Board to the London Economic Panel, chaired by the Mayor of London, which is concerned with the development and diversification of London's economy over the next 25 years.

Ron is also a founder editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, and oversees the Cambridge Centre for Geographical Economic Research. He has also just been appointed as Chair of Research for the Regional Studies Association.

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# Dr Mia Gray wins Teaching Excellence Award

Mia Gray, University Senior Lecturer in the Department, has been given a Teaching Excellence Award by Cambridge University Students' Union.

Mia's award noted her innovative and engaging teaching style, her support for students, and her ability to inspire critical and imaginative thinking.

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# Hidden Lands & Sealed Mountains - Geography Library Art Exhibit

The Geography Library is currently running an exhibition, 'Hidden Lands & Sealed Mountains'. This is a PhD project exhibit by RS Kuyakanon Knapp.

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# Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th July 2014

Each summer we hold Open Days, at which we welcome students considering applying to read Geography at Cambridge.

This year's open days will be on Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th July 2014.

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# Three lectureship posts

The Department is currently advertising three lectureship posts - University Lecturer in Coastal Processes, and two University Lecturer in Human Geography posts.

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# Professor Phil Gibbard awarded the André Dumont Medal

Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the André Dumont Medal by Geologica Belgica, the Belgian national geological society, on 1 April 2014 in Ghent. The medal was presented in recognition of Phil's achievements in Quaternary Geology.

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# Geography graduate students win top two prizes at prestigious conference

Yangchen Lin

Graduate students in the Department of Geography have won the top two prizes for presentations at the 2014 Student Conference in Conservation Science. Maria Nube Szephegyi, a Uruguayan student who is a Masters in Conservation Leadership student, won First Prize for her talk describing how she combined years of good science with committed leadership to improve understanding and conservation of the Franciscana dolphin. Lauren Evans, a PhD student, won Second Prize for her talk about fence-breaking behaviour among elephants in Kenya. We congratulate them both!

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# More calories from fewer sources means more profit and less nutrition

'Meatification'. Eduardo Amorim, Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

David Nally published a column in The Conversation on the rapid narrowing of global food sources and its consequences for human, animal and ecological health.

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# Doran Lecture

On 18 March 2014, Dr Bhaskar Vira will deliver the seventh lecture of the Doran Fund Annual Lecture Series, hosted by The Faculty of Social Sciences at the Hebrew University Jerusalem. The subject of the lecture is: 'Boundaries, thresholds and limits: exploring the political economy of population, resources and development in the 21st century'.

The D.B. Doran Fund in Population, Resources and Economic Development has provided generous support for the annual lecture. The lecture is associated with the Glocal Community-Development Studies programme, which is a new MA program at the Faculty of Social Science, providing tools for the effective translation of academic perspectives into practical know-how conducive to work with communities across the globe.

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# Cambridge Literary Festival

On April 5th, 2014 Dr. David Nally will take part in a panel discussion at the Cambridge Literary Festival on the subject of 'global food security'. He will be joined by with Ottoline Leyser, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, and Lizzie Collingham, historian and author of The Taste of War. The conversation will take place in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre from 4-5pm.

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# Julian Dowdeswell awarded the IASC Medal for 2014

Julian Dowdeswell has been awarded the IASC Medal for 2014 by the International Arctic Science Committee 'as a World leader in the field of Arctic glaciology'. The committee also highlighted Prof. Dowdeswell's outreach and communication activities which have been instrumental for public understanding of Arctic change. The full citation for the award is on the IASC website.

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# Prof. Jon Harbor: Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating

Prof. Jon Harbor, Purdue University, Lafayette, Illinois, will be speaking on Thursday February 20th on the subject of "Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating".

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# Overtopping not river bank failure

UK Environment Agency (17.02.2014)

The Department's Dr Tom Spencer, and others from the British Society for Geomorphology, have written to The Times to highlight the important role of geomorphology in understanding the current storms and floods (14 February 2014): 'Sir, your vivid front page aerial image of the Thames flooding ("water world', Feb 11) shows the severity of the situation and the consequences of the recent weather. However, to say that "the Thames burst its banks" is not correct. Rivers do occasionally burst through embankments but in British rivers when there is too much water for the channel to contain, the channel is overtopped and water spills onto the floodplain. This is not just semantics but rather, as geomorphologists know, it is key to understanding what solutions to the problem will eventually be needed, because dredging cannot provide channels large enough to contain the amount of water being rained upon us. Ken Gregory, Heather Viles, David Sear, Steve Darby and Tom Spencer British Society for Geomorphology'.

# Professor Paul Robbins, Distinguished International Fellow in Cambridge February 10-14

J. Youlden - design

Professor Paul Robbins, Director of the Nelson Institute at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, will be visiting us from February 10th-14th. Paul is the Department's first Distinguished International Fellow. He brings with him a wealth of expertise in the field of political ecology. He is the author of the analysis of the ecology of suburban American lawns in his book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are, in which he famously asked "how did the needs of grass come to be my own?". During his week long visit, he will be giving a departmental seminar, an early career researcher seminar, and a public lecture, as well as interacting with researchers.

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# Book prize: Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture

Professor Andrew Cliff and Professor Matthew Smallman-Raynor (School of Geography, University of Nottingham) together won the British Medical Association's prize for the best new book in public health, 2013, and the overall prize for the best medical book, 2013, for their full colour Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture (Oxford University Press). Using nearly 500 new maps, charts and photographs, this Atlas views a century of change - the ebb and flow of infection - in Britain's epidemic landscape. It maps and interprets the time-space tapestry woven in twentieth century Britain by the uneven retreat of some infectious diseases, the emergence of new infections, and the re-emergence of historic plagues. The Atlas summarises the epidemics caused by different pathogens, their current status and the probability of future control.

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# Brave New Epoch: a search for humankind's mark on the Earth

Nautilus magazine

Paul Crutzen, an atmospheric chemist began popularising the idea of the Anthropocene in 2001, citing evidence such as humanity's alterations of biodiversity and our changing of the climate through the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Scientists agree that evidence of these and other global changes will leave a lasting impression in the geological record. However, the Anthropocene is not recognised by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the body which safeguards the geological time scale. Jan Zalasiewicz's efforts may change that—his ICS working group wishes to formalise the Anthropocene time division.

Other geologists argue that the Anthropocene may not be suitable for the geological timescale at all. One critic, Philip Gibbard, a Cambridge stratigrapher and member of the ICS working group, says the time in which we now live should be called the Late Holocene, because it is consistent with this most recent official Epoch. "For the Anthropocene to merit formal definition, a global signature distinct from that of the Holocene is required that is marked by novel biotic, sedimentary, and geochemical change," Gibbard wrote in a paper published last year. (article by Billings, in Nautilus 2014).

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# Assessing coastal ‘bio-buffers’ from space

Image: I Moeller

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the University of Cambridge participates in a 2.8 M Euros EU research project to use satellites and ecosystems in flood risk management strategies.

The European 7th Framework Programme (SPACE) is funding a consortium of five European institutions (including the University of Cambridge) from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania and Spain to work on the FAST project (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology). FAST started this month (January 2014) and will last 4 years. The consortium will generate the first standardised tool for integrating ecosystem properties into flood risk management strategies. To achieve this objective, space technology and field measurements will be combined to study 8 foreshores and floodplain ecosystems in four European countries.

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# Cambridge in Davos

World Economic Forum

Professor Julian Dowdeswell has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos (22-25 January 2014), delivering an invited presentation on 'Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Environmental Change'. He is part of a Cambridge contingent that includes the Vice-Chancellor, Lord Martin Rees and Jon Hutton. They each spoke in a session on 'Cambridge Ideas' at the Forum. Julian has given interviews on the changing polar regions and their global implications in Davos and more information about Cambridge in Davos is available.

A video of Julian's interview in Davos is available online below. A 3 minute piece on radio-echo sounding on Radio 4's Inside Science was also made available on 23rd January.

Cambridge in Davos
The Vice-Chancellor; Lord Rees; Dr. Jon Hutton; Prof. Julian Dowdeswell.

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# Ash Amin awarded CBE in 2014 Queen's New Year's Honours for Contribution to Social Sciences

Economic geographer Professor Ash Amin has been awarded a CBE for his services to Social Science. Amin is known for his work on, amongst other things, the economy as a cultural entity, the geographies of modern living and globalisation as an everyday process. Recently he has focused on cultures of calamity, the contemporary urban condition, and the rights of the poor, looking into urban cohesion and racial integration.

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# Chris Sandbrook appears on the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series

Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed as part of a programme about community conservation in the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 14th January. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 18 minutes into the episode.

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# Departmental Seminar: Professor Alison Blunt on 'At Home in a Diaspora City: Urban Domesticities and Domestic Urbanism'


On Thursday 23rd of January, the Department of Geography welcomes Professor Alison Blunt (Queen Mary, University of London) who will be speaking on 'At Home in a Diaspora City: Urban Domesticities and Domestic Urbanism'. The seminar will begin at 4.30pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. Co hosted with the University's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. All are welcome!

# Coastal Unit surveys storm surge levels

T Spencer

A storm surge on 5-6 December 2013 threatened urban centres and rural communities around the southern North Sea in a similar way to such an event 60 years ago. Resulting in more than 2,000 deaths, the 1953 flood was western Europe's most devastating in 100 years in terms of loss of life, but catastrophe was averted this time by improvements in defences, early warning systems, integrated crisis management and storm surge forecasting. In the immediate aftermath of the surge, high resolution (Leica Viva GS08 GNSS system; all measurements with 3-D coordinate quality < 50mm, and typically < 20mm) measurements - from clear debris lines, erosional cliffing in earthen bank defence lines and water marks on buildings - of maximum water level elevations were obtained by teams from the Department's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit along the 45 km-long coastline of North Norfolk, eastern England. These measurements confirm that the December 2013 event was comparable to, and in places exceeded, 1953 flood levels. Of particular significance, however, is evidence for considerable alongshore variations in mean peak water level heights, with a maximum between-station difference of > 1.20 m. This variability reflects the combined effect of still water level (tide + surge) and wave runup, which has a strong local component. For this coastline of barrier islands, spits and tidal embayments, these observations point to the critical role played by geomorphic setting (open coast, tidal inlet, backbarrier) and coastal ecosystems (extent of mudflat, saltmarsh) in determining the actual pattern of storm surge impacts. These differences become critical when properties, infrastructure and lives are threatened by sea flooding. They highlight the need to take greater notice of such morphodynamic controls, both in improving hydrodynamic modelling and forecasting efforts and in fine-tuning early warning systems and strategic evacuation planning, in time for when the next 'big flood' threatens the vulnerable low-lying coasts of NW Europe.

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# 4 degree temperature rise will end vegetation 'carbon sink'

New research suggests that a temperature increase of 4 degrees is likely to cause vegetation carbon sinks to reach saturation, preventing plants from helping offset CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning. The research was coordinated by Andrew Friend of the Department of Geography, and is part of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), a unique community-driven effort to bring research on climate change impacts to a new level, with the first wave of research published this week in a special issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carbon sinks are natural systems that drain and store carbon from the atmosphere, with vegetation providing many of the key sinks that prevent large amounts of CO2 from building up in our atmosphere. Major sinks are believed to be in the Amazon rainforest and the vast, circumpolar Boreal forest. As the world warms, these sinks become vulnerable to droughts and fires, which cause releases of carbon into the atmosphere. Low amounts of warming stimulate increased growth, but this saturates, and above 4 degrees the negative impacts outweigh the positive CO2 fertilization of photosynthesis (see figure, which shows future change in plant growth). A key new finding is the importance of uncertainty in carbon 'residence time' - the rate at which carbon is lost from the ecosystems. Models tend to focus on carbon uptake, but this study shows that carbon loss mechanisms are poorly understood and contribute the most to model differences. A change in 'research priorities' is called for greater emphasis on increasing our understanding of these loss components and how to model them.

Carbon will spend increasingly less time in vegetation as the negative impacts of climate change take their toll through factors such as increased drought levels - with carbon rapidly released back into the atmosphere where it will continue to add to global warming - read more.

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# Lakes discovered beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet using radar

This study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, reports the discovery using airborne radar of two subglacial lakes 800 metres below the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The two lakes are each roughly 8 to 10 square-kilometres in area, and at one point may have been up to three times larger than their current size.

Subglacial lakes are likely to influence the flow of the ice sheet which, in turn, impacts global sea-level change. The discovery of the lakes in Greenland will help researchers to understand how the ice will respond to changing environmental conditions.

The work was undertaken by Steve Palmer, Julian Dowdeswell, Poul Christoffersen and Toby Benham at the Institute, in collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Texas and Bristol.

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# The Storm Surge: In- and Outdoors!

Photo: I Moeller

The team of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the Department of Geography has just returned from an experiment to investigate the effect of saltmarshes on high water levels and waves at one of the world's largest wave flumes in Hannover Germany, only to find a real storm surge battering their wave recording equipment on the UK coast. This is the first time ever that data has been collected over saltmarshes in such conditions – both in the flume and on the coast. Read more about the flume experiment and watch this space for more news on the latest UK storm surge.

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# Space for Giants

Max Graham

The Independent newspaper has chosen the Charity Space for Giants for its Christmas Appeal. This was set up by Max Graham who did his PhD in the department (funded by a NERC/ESRC Studentship, co-supervised in Biological Anthropology), and was then a co-PI on a DEFRA Darwin Initiative Project in the department on Human Elephant Conflict in Kenya.

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# Departmental Seminar: Professor Anson Mackay on 'Unravelling Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia using Palaeoecology'

On Thursday 28th November, the Department of Geography welcomes Professor Anson W. Mackay (University College London) who will be speaking on 'Unravelling Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia using Palaeoecology'. The seminar will begin at 4.15 pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome!

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# Research Seminar 21st November: Dr. Ariel Handel

On Thursday 21st November in the Seminar Room in the Geography Department Dr. Ariel Handel (Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University and the French Research Center, Jerusalem) will present a research seminar entitled Soundscapes and Touchscapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Chronic Uncertainty, Bodily Vulnerability and the Non-representational Condition. All are welcome!

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# Graduate student gives evidence to Parliament

One of the Department's graduate students, Lottie Birdsall-Strong (MPhil in Gender Studies), has just given evidence in front for a parliamentary committee on increasing the participation of women in sports.

Lottie discusses the extension of Title IX -- the American Equal Opportunity in Education Act which disallows discrimination in any education program receiving federal funds. Title IX is best known for its impact on increasing girls and women's participation in high school and collegiate athletics.

Lottie, supervised by Dr. Mia Gray, is currently researching the political and social barriers to replicating a version of Title IX within the British context.

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# Departmental Seminar Thursday Nov. 14th: Professor Andrew Barry

On Thursday November 14th the Department welcomes Professor Andrew Barry (Dept. of Geography, University College London) who will be speaking on 'Interrogating the political situation: between science studies and the geography of politics' The seminar will begin at 4:15 pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome!

Abstract: In this paper I draw a series of connections between two bodies of work. One derives from the long-standing concern of geographers, as well as political theorists and analysts, in the contingency, temporality and spatiality of political life, or what I term 'political situations'. The second develops from the established and abiding interest of historians and sociologists of science in the dynamics of scientific knowledge controversies, as well as recent attempts to 'map' controversies using digital methods. This broad tradition of research has inspired a series of studies by geographers and others of environmental scientific controversies relating to problems such as climate change, colony collapse disorder, nuclear waste and flood risk. Focusing on recent political events in Europe, I address both the limitations and the relevance of studies of scientific controversies to those interested in the geography of on-going political situations.

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# David Nally awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize

Dr David Nally has been awarded of one of the 2013 Philip Leverhulme Prizes for 2013. Twenty nine prizes were awarded this year across six disciplines, one of which was Geography.

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# Dissertation Prize

Becky House, a Newnham student who graduated in 2013, has been awarded joint runner-up in the Historical Geography Research Group's undergraduate dissertation competition. Her dissertation was on 'Performing Prague's Heritage: The Performative Politics of Historical Walking Tours'.

# Library display: fieldwork in Bhutan

The Department of Geography Library is piloting a small display reflecting on fieldwork recently carried out in Bhutan. It is hoped that this will be the first of a series of small exhibitions showing the wide-ranging research interests of members of the department.

# Can Europe reproduce itself?

Across the EU, people are having fewer children. However, fertility rates vary widely between countries. This panel event considers the factors causing regional fertility differences and will debate Europe's reproductive future.

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# Departmental Seminar Series opens with 'Expecting the Best and the Worst from Synthetic Biology’

The Departmental Seminar Series 2013-2014 convenes its first seminar on Oct. 10th and welcomes Dr. Claire Marris (King's College London) who will be speaking on 'Expecting the Best and the Worst from Synthetic Biology'.

The seminar will be held from 16:15-18:00 in the Department's Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome.

# 30-year-old mystery solved?

Clive Oppenheimer

Clive Oppenheimer is among the authors of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which identifies Mt. Rinjani, a volcano on Lombok Island in Indonesia, as the source of a colossal eruption that took place in 1257 AD. Previously, the eruption was only known of because it left traces of sulphur and ash in the polar regions that have been detected in ice cores. New geological, geochemical and radiocarbon evidence substantiates the link to Mt. Rinjani, in addition to Indonesian chronicles that describe a devastating 13th century eruption on Lombok.

The eruption released so much sulphur that it cooled summer temperatures in Europe, likely leading to poor harvests, and possibly famine. The city of Pamatan, seat of the former Lombok kingdom, may lie buried beneath pumice inviting discovery by archaeologists. The volcano's last eruptions took place in 2010 but were relatively minor. The research was led by Franck Lavigne at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

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# Dr Ian Willis speaks at the Cambridge Alumni Festival 2013

Alison Banwell

Dr Ian Willis will give a talk entitled "Climate Change and the Greenland Ice Sheet" at this year's Cambridge University Alumni Festival. It will draw upon the latest research in this region of the Arctic, including his own work investigating the effects of ice sheet melting, surface lake filling and draining, and glacier acceleration. It takes place in the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue on Saturday 28th September, 1:30 – 2:30. Further details about this and other events can be found at the Alumni Festival website.

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# A new application for the International Chronostratigraphic Chart!

Thamar Duivenvoorden

The International Commission on Stratigraphy's (ICS) Chronostratigraphic Chart, designed and produced by Stan Finney (California State University - Long Beach), Kim Cohen (University of Utrecht) and Phil Gibbard, published in January 2013, has been adapted for Shell BV's headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Originally published in English the chart is now available in French, Chinese, Norwegian, Basque and Spanish language versions.

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# Glaciologists at SPRI to explore Antarctic source of sea level rise

Photo: Poul Christoffersen

Researchers at ten British universities, the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre are teaming up in a mission that aims to discover what is causing the recent rapid loss of ice from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. The research project, which is funded by the National Environmental Research Council and known as iSTAR, is important for understanding sea-level rise, a global phenomenon which has major implications for coastal cities and environments around the world. The Cambridge University scientists contributing to the project are Dr Marion Bougamont, Dr Poul Christoffersen and Professor Liz Morris. All three are glaciologists at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

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# The Big Bang Theory

American television production company Warner Brothers will use the International Commission on Stratigraphy's International Chronostratigraphic Chart. The chart will appear in the next episode of their networked series 'The Big Bang Theory' which involves a geologist. The Chart was designed by Philip Gibbard, Kim Cohen (University of Utrecht) and Stan Finney (California State University - Long Beach).

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# Professor Ron Martin appointed as member of Government's Chief Scientific Officer's Foresight Project on the Future of Cities

Professor Ron Martin has been appointed to the Expert Group that will lead the Foresight project on the Future of Cities just launched by the Sir Mark Walport, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer. This two-year project will seek to determine what Britain's cities will look like over the next 25-50 years, what sort of challenges they are likely to face, and what sort of policies will be needed to ensure our cities will be able meet those challenges and how far they can be made prosperous, sustainable and liveable spaces.

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# New book on interdisciplinary approaches to temporary work and unfree labour

Routledge Studies in Employment and Work Relations in Context has just published a new collection, edited by Dr. Kendra Strauss (Cambridge) and Professor Judy Fudge (University of Victoria), on Temporary Work, Agencies and Unfree Labour: Insecurity in the New World of Work.

The book brings together contributions from geographers, labour lawyers and political scientists to explore new and evolving forms intermediation and unfreedom in contemporary labour markets. Grounded in geographical case studies, the chapters examine processes of regulatory and labour market change in Europe, North America, China and Africa.

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

The Guardian University Guide has once again given top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge for 2014.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

The Head of Department, Professor Susan Owens, said:

"We are delighted to have achieved first place in the Guardian list once again – a reflection of the enormous effort and enthusiasm which goes into the design and delivery of our undergraduate courses."

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# Ron Martin gives the Annual Gregory Lecture

University of Southampton

On 22 May, Ron Martin gave the 21st Annual Gregory Lecture at the University of Southampton. Every year an internationally leading geographer is selected to give this prestigious public lecture in the fields of physical, human or environmental geography. Ron's lecture was on "Resilience and the Economic Landscape".

# Professor Keith Richards awarded Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society

Professor Keith Richards has been awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. This is one of the two Royal Medals awarded by the Society each year, as approved by HM The Queen. The Medal has been awarded to Keith 'for the encouragement and development of physical geography and fluvial geomorphology', and will be presented at the AGM on 3rd June.

# Climate change: can nature help us?

Iris Möller

Flooding, landslides, crop failure, water shortages. Across the globe, the frequency with which humans are suffering the ill effects of climatic variability and extreme weather events is on the increase. Can natural environments be used effectively to help people adapt to the effects of climate change? The first systematic review of this question – facilitated by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) Collaborative Fund for Conservation and involving three members of the Department of Geography – finds much evidence of their effectiveness.

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# Kelby Hicks

Members of the Department of Geography have been saddened by the sudden and untimely death of Kelby Hicks, a volcanologist and PhD student in the Department. Our heartfelt sympathies go to his family and friends.

A memorial service was held in St Edmund's College chapel on Friday 26 April at 1.30pm.

# Archaeologists say that the 'Anthropocene' is here - but it began long ago


Professor Phil Gibbard joined Bruce Smith from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, USA, for a Science Live web chat discussion entitled 'Archaeologists say that the 'Anthropocene' is here - but it began long ago'. It took place on Thursday 25 April 2013 and can be watched on the Science website.

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# Masters in Conservation Leadership students shine alongside Sir David Attenborough at CCI Conservation Campus launch

Phil Mynott/University of Cambridge

Students from the Masters in Conservation Leadership were privileged to attend an inspiring and insightful lecture by Sir David Attenborough in the University of Cambridge Senate House on 2nd April. The event was attended by over 400 guests from across the University and associated conservation organisations in and around Cambridge, to mark the official launch of the Cambridge Conservation Campus.

Four students gave short presentations about how the Masters will help shape their conservation careers, and what being a part of the Cambridge experience and CCI means to them. Following the lecture, all seventeen students attended a drinks reception at which they and invited guests, met Sir David in the company of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz and guest of honour HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

The Campus, due to be completed towards the end of 2015, will become the hub for the world's largest conservation cluster, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). It will be an international centre of interdisciplinary collaboration and outreach that will transform research, learning and leadership, and policy and practice, for the benefit of biodiversity and humanity.

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# Debating the right to food

Shrinivas Badiger

Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr David Nally have written a short piece for The Guardian Poverty Matters website, and for Al Jazeera, discussing the recent adoption of a National Food Security Bill by the Indian cabinet, and its implications for wider debates about the Right to Food, welfare and social security. These issues will be discussed at an event organised by Dr Vira and Dr Nally at King's Place in London, being held on Monday 8 April as part of the University Strategic Research Initiative on Global Food Security, at which particpants will debate issues relating to the Right to Food.

One of the participants in the London debate, Mr Harsh Mander, who is Special Commissioner on the Right to Food to the Indian Supreme Court, will be visiting the Department this week. He will participate in a research workshop on food security in India, on Tuesday, and deliver a public lecture in the Department entitled 'Inequality and Indifference: the Indian Story' at 11 am on Wednesday 10 April.

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# Last letter of Captain Scott finally revealed in full - 101 years on

Scott Polar Research Institute

A letter written by the dying Captain Scott - one of only two remaining in private hands - can be revealed in full for the first time after being acquired by the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

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# Gang labour in the UK on Radio 4, Thinking Allowed

Dr Kendra Strauss from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge and Professor Ben Rogaly from the Department of Geography, University of Sussex will discuss labour exploitation on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed program on Wednesday March 27th, 4pm. The programme will include a discussion of Dr. Strauss's 2012 Antipode paper 'Unfree Again: Social Reproduction, Flexible Labour Markets and the Resurgence of Gang Labour in the UK'.

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# The Geographical Unconscious: mapping the supernatural in current research

Polar Social Science and Humanities Workshop, 10th April 2013. Scott Polar Research Institute, 1.30-5.30pm.

Recent decades have witnessed the release of a multitude of studies looking at imaginative and spiritual geographies, maps and monsters, and the psychical landscape of the supernatural. Taken together, this corpus has acted to problematise any reductionist "breaks" which theorise a "decline of magic" (Keith Thomas) or "disenchantment of the world" (Max Weber) in modernity. During this period human geography has undertaken "affectual" and "emotional" turns, while researchers in cultural and literary studies have been working with the "supernatural turn" of the "uncanny nineties". Maintaining a broad field of vision, the theme of this workshop is the geographical unconscious. This meeting brings together contributions ranging from early modern studies to the Arctic humanities to examine and compare the political and cultural agencies at work.

We invite our contributors to present 20-25 minute papers which would set out their current approaches and subjects in an area currently at the centre of several critical developments in the humanities and social sciences. What is the relationship between particular places and their supernatural inhabitants? Can we speak of spirits of place? How do scientific travellers and explorers appeal to the world of dreams, memories, and desires in their practices? What role does haunting play in narratives of life and death? Can otherness ever be accurately mapped?

For more info and to RSVP contact Dr Shane McCorristine.

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# Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left

A new book by Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift has been published: Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left (Duke University Press, March 2013). A sample chapter can be accessed online.

"Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift provoke us to ask what are the new ways of being human in the twenty-first century and what are the new forms of political action to meet these challenges."—David Stark, author of The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life.

# ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Short Course on Concepts and Methods in Causal Inference

An ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Short Course on Concepts and Methods in Causal Inference, will be held in the Department on September 17th-18th 2013.

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# Cost of Conservation debate at Science Festival

Bhaskar Vira

Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr Chris Sandbrook are taking part in a panel discussion on 'The Cost of Conservation' on the first day of the 2013 University of Cambridge Science Festival. The discussion will be held on Monday 11 March, 8 pm - 9 pm in the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms. The event is co-organised and convened with collaborators from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

The event will focus on the potential role and risks of using market-led approaches to promote biodiversity conservation and the protection of natural resources. There is a growing mainstream consensus around the 'win-win' possibilities for economic growth and environmental protection offered by processes like environmental valuation and cost-benefit analysis, as well as Payments for Ecosystem Services. However, critics suggest that these approaches neglect the larger contradictions between current global production and consumption processes and the resource constraints of a finite planet; furthermore, there is a risk that market-driven processes will enhance the dispossession and displacement of vulnerable communities, and fail to address global inequality. Some of these issues are reviewed in a paper jointly authored by Dr Sandbrook and Dr Vira (with Dr Janet Fisher at the University of Exeter), which is soon to be published in Geoforum.

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# Retribution and restoration: Bosnia on trial

Twenty years after Bosnia was devastated by civil war, ordinary people who witnessed, or were the targets of horrific war crimes, are still not getting the support they need from a process designed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Cambridge University reports on research by Dr. Alex Jeffrey.

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# Icy debate on BBC’s ‘The Forum’

Poul Christoffersen can be heard on the BBC World Service after his recent return from Antarctica, to debate "Ice" with fellow scientist Mary Albert and visual artist Camille Seaman. The debate is a journey into the wilderness of polar regions and the panelists explain how they are confronted by impacts from climate change.

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# Water under the ice

Photo by Poul Christoffersen

Craig Stewart, PhD student and recipient of the Scott Centenary Scholarship, talks to The New Zealand Herald about floating ice shelves in a warming climate. The interview took place in a remote camp on the Ross Ice Shelf, and during the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's visit to Antarctica. Craig's PhD research at the Scott Polar Research Institute aims to understand how ocean currents affect the Ross Ice Shelf, a large (487,000 km2) floating part of the Antarctic ice sheet.

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# The journals of William Hooper: Inuit ethnographer and evangelical

The Arctic humanities are a broad and developing field, encompassing subjects from the social impact of environmental change to the use of indigenous mapping techniques in western geographical knowledge. Taking a broad historical and circumpolar perspective, this seminar series explores the encounters and engagements between different actors, communities, and systems of knowledge in the Arctic. How do historical encounters and passages continue to shape issues of contemporary governance in the polar regions? This seminar series showcases the interdisciplinary strengths of the Scott Polar Research Institute while also engaging with the research of visiting and invited scholars.

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# Our natural wave buffers

Iris Moeller

A storm surge in the North Sea caused catastrophic flooding on the coast of eastern England on 31 January 1953. The flood inundated more than 65,000 hectares of land, damaged 24,000 houses and around 200 important industrial premises, resulting in 307 deaths in the immediate flooding phase.

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit in the Department of Geography is part of the Natural Environment Research Council's CBESS project, investigating the role of saltmarshes and coastal ecosystems in reducing flood damage. The project features in an article by BBC Science editor David Shukman on 31st January 2013 and in a Cambridge University feature on the research. See also a BBC News piece on iPlayer.

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# The future of smallholder farming

In an blog published in The Guardian David Nally and Bhaskar Vira argue that smallholder farmers are too often ignored in schemes designed to improve food security. A longer version of the article was posted online at Al Jazeera.

The issues raised both articles were debated at the second of three public debates on Global Food Security organised by members of Cambridge's Strategic Initiative on Global Food Security. The final debate on food distribution and waste will take place in King's Place London on April 8th.

# Dr Iris Möller calls for new priorities in coastal management policy

Dr Iris Möller calls for new priorities in coastal management policy in the October issue of Public Service Review.

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# The Magic of Mud

Iris Möller - Gathering evidence for the importance of the UKs muddy coastal ecosystems as natural sea defences

Cambridge coastal scientists are heading to the unlikely locations of Essex and Morecambe Bay to prove that coastal salt marshes and mud flats protect from storms.

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) of the Department of Geography in Cambridge has been part of a large team of coastal specialists carrying out a detailed investigation into the benefits humans derive from our muddy coast. From the storage of greenhouse gases, to the benefit as a natural buffer between stormy seas and the people that live near them, the CBESS project aims to discover the true value of this coastal wilderness.

Dr Möller, Lecturer in Physical Geography at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, and co-investigator on the project, says "The measurement of waves in these environments is an immense challenge. To avoid the damage to sophisticated measuring equipment, highly resilient pressure sensors have to be mounted on the muddy surface. When the tide comes in and waves travel over them, pressure on a diaphragm varies very quickly. These pressure variations can be converted into records of high-frequency water level variations (i.e. waves) and waves can be tracked as they move across the mud and the plants. We already know that some of the Essex marshes regularly reduce the energy of waves by up to 90% over a distance of 80 metres or so."

The CCRU's research is part of a six year NERC-funded programme involving 14 research institutions and led by the University of St Andrews.

The realisation that coastal ecosystems fulfil important functions that benefit society does not come before its time. Dr Spencer, Director of the CCRU, says "the risk of coastal flooding in many areas is likely to increase due to sea-level rise and possible near-future increases in storminess and extensive residential, industrial and infrastructural development in vulnerable areas. A more nuanced approach to coastal engineering is now needed, which not only considers hard structures but also investigates the role of coastal ecosystems in coastal risk reduction and how, through 'hybrid engineering', both types of approach to coastal defence can be brought together to reduce risks at the coast and provide a long-term and robust response to the threat of catastrophic coastal flooding."

A total of 42 wave recording devices have been installed at three marshes on the Essex coast and two marshes in Morecambe Bay, continuously streaming data back to Cambridge via mobile phone telemetry.

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# Snow Lab

Snow Lab is a scientific project to study snow, which needs lots of volunteers to help take measurements. It is being run by Dr Gareth Rees, who is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute. At present, Snow Lab is only looking for volunteers from schools in Cambridgeshire although in future we hope to run it for the whole of the UK. So if you are at a school in Cambridgeshire, and there's snow on the ground (or might be), and you think you might like to get involved, please have a look at the Snow Lab website.

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# Reducing deforestation in the Amazon

Dallas Krentzel on Flickr

A Conservation Leadership alumnus, Francisco Oliveira Filho, is heading the efforts of the Brazilian Government to reduce deforestation and land clearance in the Amazon.

His work involves detecting and deterring illegal clearances of forest using helicopters and satellite imagery, and confiscations and arrests, as recently featured in the Guardian newspaper.

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# "Highest Camp in Antarctica" rediscovered atop active volcano after 100 years

Nial Peters

Precisely one century after members of Captain Scott's Terra Nova Expedition climbed Mount Erebus, Clive Oppenheimer has located their highest campsite, and retraced their ascent of Antarctica's most active volcano.

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# Subaltern agents of colonialism in Solomon Islands

J. W. Beattie photographic collection 1906

Tim Bayliss-Smith has published a book with Judy Bennett, Professor of History at University of Otago, New Zealand. The book is entitled An Otago Storeman in Solomon Islands: the Diary of William Crossan, Copra Trader, 1885-86. It is based on a recently discovered manuscript diary kept by a young New Zealander who traded on the violent frontier of early European contact in Island Melanesia. Crossan managed to survive and even trade successfully by establishing close relations with Sono, a Makira chief, who became effectively the middleman in a range of transactions. The diary reveals the complementary roles of two subaltern agents of colonialism, Crossan and Sono, in this remote corner of Queen Victoria's expanding Pacific empire.

Published in Canberra by ANU E Press, the entire book can be downloaded free as a PDF from the publisher's website. It was officially launched at the Pacific History Association Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, in early December.

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# International Workshop Examines War Crimes Trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina

An international workshop led by Dr Alex Jeffrey and held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has emphasised the disadvantaged position of victims and witnesses within war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event was co-organised by the ESRC-funded Localising International Law research project (RES-061-25-0479) at the University of Cambridge and the Bosnian programme of the Swiss NGO TRIAL. The event included presentations by Dr. Jeffrey, Dr. Michaelina Jakala (Newcastle University), Selma Korjenić (TRIAL), Edin Ramulić (Izvor, Prijedor), Anisa Suceska-Vekić (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) and Almir Alić (ICTY Sarajevo). Attendees included representatives from United States Department of Justice, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, Victims Associations and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A representative International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) remarked "the event offered a clear message that victims of crime have to come back to the centre of social attention and that they should be provided with legal support teams and representatives who would work for their own good, because in the current social reality perpetrators enjoy many more benefits offered by the judicial system then the victims." A representative of the US Department of Justice saw the research project and the workshop as a crucial intervention in debates concerning transitional justice in Bosnia: "the research should benefit anyone interested in working to develop and sustain effective criminal justice institutions and to promote the fair administration of justice for victims of war crimes. I came away with a much better understanding of how the public and victims perceive the court system in BiH. The attendees were true stakeholders; to hear about their specific experiences and views was extremely useful."

# QPG joins GSI3D as a Consortium Member

GSI3D (Geological surveying and investigation in three dimensions) is a methodology and associated software tool for 3D geological modelling which enables quick and intuitive construction of 3D solid models of the subsurface for a wide range of applications. The methodology and software have been developed jointly by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and INSIGHT GmbH and are being applied by the BGS, where they are the modelling tools of choice. They are now available on general release as part of the not–for–profit GSI3D Research Consortium. The QPG, led by Professor Phil Gibbard, has been invited to join the consortium as a full member to assist with the evaluation and development of the three-dimensional mapping of superficial deposits in the British Isles and beyond.

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# Atlas of the Great Irish Famine wins book award

The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (Cork University Press 2012), in which Geography Department member Dr. David Nally has a chapter on the colonial dimensions of the Irish experience, has been awarded the International Education Services Best Irish-published Book of the Year. Through its 50 chapters (including contributions from over 60 scholars from the arts, geography, history, archaeology and folklore studies), The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine seeks to achieve a greater understanding of one of the world's worst subsistence crises. Including 400 images, 200 maps, and over 700 pages of text, The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine has already been reprinted three times since its publication in September 2012.

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# Pamela Anderson visits Department project in Honduras

The Inga Foundation -

The TV actress, animal rights campaigner and environmentalist Pamela Anderson has visited Honduras to see for herself the work of The Inga Foundation (TIF). TIF is a UK charity founded by Mike Hands, a Research Associate of the Department, to promote sustainable agroforestry based on the rainforest tree Inga. TIF's work builds upon the results from several EU-funded projects that investigated nutrient cycling and agroforestry in tropical rainforest environments (Tim Bayliss-Smith, Bryon Bache and Michael Hands, principal investigators).

Pamela Anderson was accompanied by her brother and they spent several days in Honduras. They were based at the TIF demonstration farm and travelled with Mike Hands and his staff to sites of Inga agroforestry in the Cuero and Cangregal valleys. This is an area of degraded rainforest that is the focus of TIF projects that help poor farmers to establish Inga-based alley cropping to provide a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture.

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# Feeding Seven Billion: Global Food Security debates

The Alliance to End Hunger, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Should genetically modified crops be seen as a solution to the challenges of global food security? How should we deal with concerns about the transparency of food labelling, the regulation and control of biotechnologies, and the right to make informed choices about consumption choices? These issues inform a broader debate about the challenges of feeding the world through the 21st century. In a blog post on The Guardian website, Bhaskar Vira and David Nally argue that proponents of biotechnlogy need to recognise that its deployment has political, social and economic consequences which go beyond techno-centric debates about efficiency and effectiveness.

The issues raised in this blog will be debated at a debate on 'Biotechnology, Intellectual Property and Twenty First Century Crops', which will be held at King's Place in London on November 26. The debate is the first in a series of three events being organised by Vira and Nally as part of the University's strategic research initiative on Global Food Security. Tickets for the event are available via the King's Place box office (020 7520 1490), and online.

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# Race and the 'Pink Tide': Race relations in left-leaning Latin American countries

Sarah Radcliffe, from the Department, took part in a panel discussion on 'Race and the Pink Tide' in the Institute of the Americas, University College London, on 21 November. She talked about her current research around indigenous rights, citizenship and postcolonial racial hierarchies in Ecuador.

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# Physical Principles of Remote Sensing

The third edition of Gareth Rees's book Physical Principles of Remote Sensing has been published by Cambridge University Press. The first edition appeared in 1990, when the field of Remote Sensing was much younger. This new and enlarged edition brings the book up to date and introduces a number of new elements including online materials.

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# A Geographical Perspective on the Great Irish Famine

Dr. David Nally, from the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, gave an extended interview with Kathy Weston and Shane Lynch at Radio Verulam (Thursday October 4th), on the subject of his recent book, Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine.

# Professor Sarah Whatmore, Departmental Seminar, October 18, 4.15pm

James Youlden (design)

Where natural and social science meet: Reflections on an experiment in geographical practice

Professor Sarah Whatmore (Oxford) will be kicking off a tremendous new series of speakers for the academic year with a seminar about the nature of interdisciplinarity in geography and the critical question concerning the relationship between the natural and social sciences.

The seminar will take place on October 18 at 4.15pm in the Seminar room of the Department of Geography. Visitors are welcome.

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# Understanding the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people

Dr Bhaskar Vira

At the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India on 16 October 2012, Dr Bhaskar Vira will be presenting findings from a new assessment carried out by a Global Forest Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, coordinated by the Vienna-based International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Ongoing conversion of forests to agriculture is still a major cause of global biodiversity loss on Earth. Furthermore, deforestation is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions induced by humans, after fossil fuel emissions. The UN initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) can bring positive impacts for biodiversity and carbon, but Dr Vira's work for the assessment highlights the need to prioritise social and economic objectives alongside environmental concerns to increase the likelihood of more equitable and efficient outcomes. Inadequate recognition of tenure and management rights often excludes the poor and most vulnerable groups from access, benefits and decision-making authority in forests. Ultimately, outcomes will largely depend upon how well new initiatives under REDD+ are able to learn from past institutional and governance lessons in the forestry sector. The challenge should not be underestimated; it is far from straightforward to genuinely alter the political and economic asymmetries that have so far sustained inequities and exclusion from important livelihood assets in REDD+ target countries.

# Modelling impacts of a warming world across sectors

A major new community-driven modelling effort aims to quantify one of the gravest of global uncertainties: the impact of climate change on the world's food, health, vegetation, and water. An international group of researchers is working on the joint fast-track project, 'ISI-MIP', to attempt the first systematic quantification of uncertainties surrounding climate change impacts on these sectors.

Dr Andrew Friend, from the Department of Geography, is coordinating the analysis of results concerning changes to the world's biomes. As the results of each group's simulations become available over the coming months, the data will be assembled and compared in Cambridge. The impacts models use output from the latest global climate simulations and the results will feed into the next IPCC report, due out in 2014. A particular focus of the project is the relative impact of warming across the range of Representative Concentration Pathways used in the IPCC process, with impacts analysed to enable quantification of the benefits of keeping warming below 2 degrees by the end of this century, to aid policy makers.

Dr Andrew Friend is on the Editorial Committee of an upcoming Special Issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which will be dedicated to the ISI-MIP project, and is on the Scientific Steering Committee of the World Climate Impacts Conference, IMPACTS WORLD 2013, to be held in Berlin next summer. This conference will bring together climate-change impacts scientists, decision makers, stakeholders, and NGOs who rely on topical research, and will lay the foundations for a more integrated impacts community.

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# Cambridge Conservation Seminars

The series is designed to provide a weekly social focus for all University conservation researchers from departments including Zoology, Plant Sciences, Geography, Land Economy, Judge Business School and Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. Members of conservation organisations based in Cambridge are also most welcome to attend.

The series runs every Wednesday during Michaelmas and Lent terms. All seminars begin at 5pm in Geography's Large Lecture Theatre, and everyone is welcome..

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# Professor Neil Smith, 1954-2012

It is with great sadness that the Department has learnt of the untimely death of Neil Smith, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and one of the leading Geographers of his generation. Faculty, staff and students in the Department of Geography wish to express our condolences to his family and to those closest to him.

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# Multidisciplinary research maps human migration out of Africa


A major new study has significantly advanced our understanding of the timing and direction of human migration out of Africa. By combining data on the genetics of modern populations, climate change, and vegetation productivity the authors were able to build the most detailed reconstruction of human history to date. According to Dr Andrew Friend, one of the authors of the study, "it is extremely exciting that the picture of human history derived by bringing together models of genetics, climate, and vegetation is largely consistent with the one derived from archaeological evidence". One key finding was that climate prevented humans from exiting Africa until a favourable window appeared in North-East Africa approximately 70-55 thousand years ago. Most movement occurred through the so-called Southern Route, exiting Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb strait into the Arabian Peninsula. The work is published today, 17 September, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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# Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene's base

University of Cambridge

Twelve years ago, Paul Crutzen, a Nobel laureate and atmospheric chemist, coined the term 'Anthropocene' as shorthand, an argument wrapped in a word. Geology had long relegated humanity to the sidelines, but in recent history, the human fingerprint on the Earth had grown too deep to be ignored, he said. We had created our own geological time. The world had left the Holocene behind and entered an epoch of humanity, writes Paul Voosen, E&E reporter.

Professor Phil Gibbard, in his role as the chair of the International Commission on Stratigraphy's Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, is playing a lead role in the discussions concerning the possibility of the term 'Anthropocene' being formally defined and therefore forming the youngest division in the Geological Time Scale.

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# The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia

A new book, The Improvised State, by Dr. Alex Jeffrey analyses attempts to establish the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the conflict in 1995. Rather than viewing the state as a structure or institution, the book examines how different performances of sovereignty have co-existed in Bosnia, each struggling to attract legitimacy and convey authority. At a time of increasing attempts to construct sovereign states after violent conflict, The Improvised State points to the limitations of international intervention and the forms of fragmented politics that it can foster.

The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia

Over the past 15 years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has served as a laboratory of techniques to re-establish state sovereignty and promote democracy. The post-conflict intervention in Bosnia has justifiably received great interest from political theorists and scholars of international relations who have explored the limitations of the institutions and policies of international intervention. This book begins from an alternative premise: rather than examining institutions or charting limitations, Jeffrey argues for a focus on the performance of state sovereignty in Bosnia as it has been practiced by a range of actors both within and beyond the Bosnian state. In focusing on the state as a process, he argues that Bosnian sovereignty is best understood as a series of improvisations that have attempted to produce and reproduce a stable and unified state. The Improvised State advances state theory through an illumination of the fragile and contingent nature of sovereignty in contemporary Bosnia and its grounding in the everyday lives of the Bosnian citizen.

The Improvised State provides a highly developed account of the nature and outcomes of Bosnian state practices since the Dayton Peace Agreement. Jeffrey presents new and significant theories, based on extensive fieldwork in Bosnia, which advance understanding of state building.

  • Provides a major contribution to recent academic debates as to the nature of the state after violent conflict, and offers invaluable insights into state building
  • Introduces the idea of state improvisation, where improvisation refers to a process of both performance and resourcefulness
  • Uses the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu to explore how powerful agencies have attempted to present a coherent vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the conflict 1992-5
  • Advances our understanding of the Bosnian state by focusing on the practices of statecraft fostered in the post-Dayton era
  • Research based on four periods of residential fieldwork in Bosnia, which allowed a detailed analysis of political practices in the country


In this persuasive book, Alex Jeffrey illuminates the central role of performance in the production of state power and demonstrates in fascinating detail why and how this is so—and with what effects. The argument is thoroughly researched, contextually sensitive, and crisply written. The Improvised State is a compelling study for scholars, students, and practitioners working on state power, international organizations, and post-conflict societies, in Europe and elsewhere.—Merje Kuus, University of British Columbia

Consistently strong throughout its sections and chapters, Jeffrey has cemented his arguments with a good conceptual understanding, impressive fieldwork and primary research. The Impr