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Department of Geography




The Social Life of Care - online conference (14-15 May 2021)

Call for papers:

Can we imagine, or indeed survive in, a world without care? From public health to domestic arrangements to climate change, the language of care permeates our everyday lives. It is an emotion – one can care deeply about someone or something; it is labour – women disproportionately take on caring and emotional burden; it is a form of relation – children and other dependents are cared for; it may also be a form of protest – to draw upon Audre Lorde, self-care can be political warfare. There are also repeated injunctions about the global 'crisis of care'. This crisis may emerge from, as feminist theorisation has persistently highlighted, the relegation of care and social reproduction to secondary status in relation to income-generation and financialisation, as the ongoing Covid19 crisis has demonstrated. This two-day international conference will treat 'care' as an object/subject of investigation with particular focus on understanding global registers of care – how is care conceptualised, practiced, and represented in varied social, economic, political, and geographical contexts?

The conference, hosted by the Centre for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, is currently planned as an online event. The organisers are keen to make the most of this format by facilitating an international dialogue on care and would like to particularly encourage participation from scholars based in the Global South.

Please submit abstracts of 200 words by 11 December 2020 using this form. We will notify all applicants by 11 January 2021.

Cambridge Youth Symposium (10 December 2020)

Each term we run a symposium which brings together researchers interested in young people's working lives from within the University of Cambridge and beyond. This time we enjoyed a selection of presentations from a selection of postgraduate students from the Departments of Geography and Sociology: Rijak Grover, Iyeyinka Omigbodun, Debolina Majumber, Garima Sahai, and Kate Brockie. The recording of this event is available below.

[insert film of event]

Geographies of Work in the Pandemics and Beyond - Virtual Seminar Series

A four-part seminar series on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work, livelihoods & employment.

Register online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruptions across the world in various dimensions of life. The realm of work is among them and has emerged as a particularly contentious area of discussion. Consider, for example, discussions on what counts as essential work, or how just-in-time supply chains that rely on minimizing labour use, or new 'online' ways of doing hitherto offline work, or the anticipated growth in unemployment as a result of this crisis. We take this as an opportunity to ask: How has the pandemic reinforced or challenged our understanding of work, working lives and livelihoods? We take the environment, technology, global markets and civic potency as the anchoring themes to engage with this question as they open up the space to explore where, how, by whom and to what end work is being done, what the nature of the disruption is and what the future of work looks like. In this seminar series, we bring together academics, practitioners and activists to share their experience and expertise on these issues and build new conversations on the geographies of work.

1. September 7th: Work and Global Value Chains

Ashok Kumar, Birkbeck University of London; Helena Pérez Niño, University of Cambridge; Matthew Amengual, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

2. September 14th: Work and the Environment

Bhaskar Vira, University of Cambridge; Puja Shakya, Practical Action Nepal; Joseph Yaro Awetori, University of Ghana

3. September 21st: Work and Technology

Aditya Ray, The Open University; Nyamwaya Munthali, University of Wageningen; Dorothea Kleine, University of Sheffield

4. September 28th: Work and Civic Potency: Social Movements and Social Justice

Orlanda Ruthven, Gram Vaani; Nivedita Narain, PRADAN India; Feyzi Ismail, SOAS University of London

The Getting By Workshop, 2019

On Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 April, Murray Edwards College hosted a workshop entitled, Getting by: how will young people make a living? The workshop was based on the findings from a joint research project and survey conducted by the University of Cambridge and Restless Development, an international NGO, which aims to provide insight into youth experiences and opinions of work in developing and emerging economies.

The workshop focused on defining a programme of work that will help to overcome the challenges faced by the projected rise in the youth population in the Global South. There were summaries from experts on relevant issues in economic and social policy (including education and skills), cultural and social aspects, and on practical experiments in enterprise and job creation. In addition, young people (or 'Game Changers' as they chose to be called) from developing countries were engaged to identify the nature of the challenge from their perspective, and suggest next steps for policy and practice interventions.