The emotional geographies of place: developing effective learning and teaching strategies for (international) fieldwork

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017
Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London
29th August – 1st September 2017

The emotional geographies of place: developing effective learning and teaching strategies for (international) fieldwork
Sponsored by the Higher Education Research Group (HERG)
Session convenors: Alan Marvell (University of Gloucestershire, UK) and David Simm (Bath Spa University, UK)

The benefits and challenges of (international) fieldwork are well rehearsed. However, understandings of students’ affective experiences on fieldwork are less well developed (Boyle et al., 2007). In particular, little examination has been given to how tutors can respond to the affective and emotional geographies (Pile, 2005) that arise particularly on international fieldwork (Glass, 2014) which also affect perceptions of ‘place’ (Urry, 2005). This session aims to understand how such understandings of the emotional geographies can enable appropriate learning and teaching strategies to be employed. How can the learning and teaching strategies employed can prompt both positive and negative responses when participating in (international) fieldwork which may enhance or hinder students’ engagement and performance?
In considering these aspects, some questions emerge that the conference papers might address:-
What emotions from staff/students do you encounter during fieldwork?
What are your experiences of emotional geographies? What opportunities and challenges? And how do you overcome the challenges?
How can we best enable our students to become aware of their own emotional geographies and that of others?
Does the current assessment arrangements allow for emotional geographies to be expressed and recorded?
Can emotions be assessed?
Do emotions enable or prohibit a sense of place?
What role does critical reflectivity have in students’ personal and academic development?
How can staff best enable inclusivity during fieldwork and manage additional needs, e.g. Asperger’s, autism, etc.
How do we make better use of under-utilised aspects such as transit-time between destinations?
Please email proposals (title, 200-250 Abstract) or queries to Alan Marvell ( or David Simm ( The deadline for Abstracts is Friday 10th February 2017. The format of the session will be the presentation of 4-5 selected papers each lasting 15-20 minutes.


Boyle, A., Maguire, S., Martin, A., Milsom, C., Nash, R., Rawlinson, S., Turner, A., Wurthmann, S. & Conchie, S. (1997) Fieldwork is good: the student perception and the affective domain. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 31(2), 299-317.

Glass, M.R. (2014) Teaching critical reflexivity in short-term international field courses: practices and problems. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 39(4), 554-567.

Pile, S. (2010) Emotions and affect in recent human geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, NS 35, 5-20.

Urry, J. (2005) The place of emotions within Place. In: Davidson, J., Bondi, L. & Smith, M. (eds.) Emotional geographies, Farnham: Ashgate. Chapter 6, pp.77-83.
Dr Alan Marvell
Senior Lecturer in Events Management
The Business School
University of Gloucestershire
Oxstalls Campus
Oxstalls Lane

T. 01242 714491
Dr David Simm SFHEA FRGS CGeog
Subject Leader: Geography
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography
Bath Spa University
T: +44 (0)1225 876114
Join us on: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn
Newton Park, Bath, BA2 9BN, UK

Latest publications:
Winlow, H., Simm, D., Marvell, A. and Schaaf, R. (2017) Using focus group research to support teaching and learning. In: Haigh, M., Cotton, D. and Hall, T. (eds.) (2016) Pedagogic Research in Geography Higher Education. London: Routledge, chapter 9. ISBN 9781138962088
Marvell, A. and Simm, D. (2016) Unravelling the geographical palimpsest through fieldwork: discovering a sense of place. Geography, 101(3), 125-136, Autumn 2016. ISSN 0016-7487
Hill, J., Thomas, G., Diaz, A. & Simm, D. (2016) Borderland spaces for learning partnership: opportunities, benefits and challenges. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 40(3), 375-393. DOI:10.1080/03098265.2016.1144728,
Simm, D. & Marvell, A. (2015) Gaining a “sense of place”: Students’ affective experiences of place leading to transformative learning on international fieldwork. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 39(4), 595-616. DOI:10.1080/03098265.2015.1084608,


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