Geography’s 2016-17 seminar series

The Department of Geography has run a seminar series for many years now. We pride ourselves on always trying to invite a diverse range of people, including scholars, researchers, artists, journalists, and writers. This academic year our focus has been on researchers. We invited geographers working at the interface of remote sensing and GIS; geoscientists whose work intersects with our physical geography specialists; and human geographers conducting topical and important research. Some speakers visited us from the UK and the US, while a good few others only needed to pop over from north campus or from elsewhere in Ireland (a few photos are included in the slideshow further below).

We kicked off the series in October with Niamh Shortt’s seminar on geographies of alcohol consumption. We then had our own Philip Lawton, who presented some of his current research on the syntheses and complexities of suburbanization and gentrification. Later on in the series we had two political geographers: Phil Steinberg and Stuart Elden, both of whom drew on important topical issues regarding borders, sovereignty, and the geophysical. Just this week, our final human geographer, Claire Mercer, wrapped up the series by discussing her research on the suburbs in Dar es Salaam. We were fortunate to have such a fantastic group of human geographers visit us this year.

In terms of physical geography, Cathy Delaney led the way in November by presenting some of her research on Ireland’s eskers, work which sheds light on how the last ice age shaped the country. Benjamin Thebaudeau then took us offshore to the Porcupine Bank where his research is also revealing new insights about the ice sheet. Finally, Patrick Belmont introduced his research on water, sediment, and nutrient fluxes in intensively managed landscapes in the US. I don’t think anyone who attended these seminars left without feeling enthusiastic about the research horizons in physical geography, not least because new technologies are opening up exciting possibilities.

In December, Eskey Britton moved on from Niamh Shortt’s contribution to our series of remote sensing / GIS seminars by taking us out onto the waves she surfs professionally in her career and studies now as an academic. Justin Gleeson then gave us an overview of his career in the AIRO, Maynooth; a career defined by innovations that bring GIS and mapping tools to policy-makers and practitioners in Ireland. Finally, in April we had the pleasure of Martin Charlton presenting to the department. Martin presented some of his research on quantitative methodologies in a thought-provoking overview of almost a century of work in the area of spatial statistics.

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As shown in the slideshow above, all of the speakers were introduced by talented research students or post-docs working here in Maynooth Geography. We also innovated by live-tweeting most of the seminars — with #geogtalk. Further improvements are in the pipeline and we always welcome suggestions for speakers you’d like to visit us. For now, the series is over but we look forward to next year’s seminars and hope to welcome you all to our events.

Alistair Fraser

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