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History and past recipients of the medals and awards
2017 medals and awards

2010 medals and awards

Founder's Medal and Patron's Medal

Since 1832, our prestigious medals and awards have recognised excellence in geographical research and fieldwork, teaching and public engagement.

They are presented annually in recognition of those who have made outstanding achievements.

Presentation of the Royal Medals and other Awards of the Society took place during the Society's AGM on 7 June 2010, at the Society in central London.

Royal Medals

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the award of the Royal Medals as follows:

Founder's Medal

  • Professor Diana Liverman
    ‘for encouraging, developing and promoting understanding of the human dimensions of climate change’

Through a distinguished research career, Professor Liverman was instrumental in the first generation of climate change impacts modelling, which focused the attention of the policy community on the human dimensions of global environmental change. She has also played key roles with the US National Academy of Sciences, most recently on the new committee on ‘America’s Climate Choices’, and as recent Director of the Oxford University Environmental Change Institute.

Patron's Medal

  • Jack Dangermond
    ‘for promoting geographical science through the development of Geographical Information Systems’

Jack Dangermond has been the single biggest driving force in the development of the GIS industry. A GIS pioneer from the early days, his company ESRI has created the most successful GIS software in use world-wide. Beyond this commercial success, Jack is one of the greatest advocates for Geography and its key role in understanding and responding to many of the challenges of the 21st Century. He has led initiatives to donate software to environmental, educational groups and non-governmental organisations across the world.

Society Council awards

The Society's Council has made the following awards:

Victoria Medal

  • Professor Rick Battarbee
    'for research in environmental change’

Professor Rick Battarbee is one of the most accomplished physical geographers of his generation.  From his initial ground-breaking work on the use of lake sediments to document the effects of acid rain on ecosystems, to the wider concerns of present global climate change, his research has put UK science at the forefront of international research. Many of the approaches he pioneered now are standard techniques within the discipline.  A Fellow of the Royal Society, he has been recognised by learned societies across the world, from Scandinavia, Russia, China and the USA.

Busk Medal

  • Professor Ann Varley
    ‘for field research in Mexico’

Professor Ann Varley is recognised with the Busk Award for her long-term commitment to field research in Mexico. Professor Varley’s research is at the forefront of theoretical and policy debates around urbanisation, housing and law in Latin America. She has a longstanding commitment to collaborative fieldwork and to communicating her research findings, in both English and Spanish, with significant impact within and beyond the academy.

Cherry Kearton Medal and Award

  • Frans Lanting
    ‘for wildlife and nature photography’

For more than 25 years, Frans Lanting has travelled the world documenting wild places, science and conservation in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. His self-defined mission is ‘to promote knowledge and understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images and ideas that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about the living planet’. His photographs, which convey a real passion and excitement about the world in which we live, bring geography to life, illuminating a  world of beauty, wonder and insight, as well as making people aware of the world’s landscape that need to be protected, preserved and appreciated.

Murchison Award

  • Professor Gerard Kearns
    ‘for publications in historical geography’

Professor Gerald Kearns has made significant advances to understanding the history and nature of critical geopolitics. His 2009, ‘Geopolitics and Empire: The Legacy of Halford Mackinder’ has been widely acclaimed and brings together scholarly research on the history of geography with a systematic attempt to make that history critical for contemporary geographical practice. The product of almost three decades of meticulous research, it provides a most eloquent illustration of why it is necessary to study geography’s history if we are to create more socially, politically and environmentally responsible forms of geographical inquiry in the future.

Back Award

  • Professor Chris Hamnett
    ‘for policy-relevant research in housing, social change and inequality’

Professor Hamnett’s early research in the 1970s on the flat ‘break-up’ market in London, his later work on housing inheritance and the implications for wealth distribution, and his current work on social class, ethnic change and education in East London has led to the formulation of legislation, to his involvement in ‘think tanks’ and to his interdisciplinary recognition. Further evidence of the wide impact of his work is reflected in his writings over many years on economic and housing issues for The Independent, The Guardian, Financial Times and the New Statesman.

Cuthbert Peek Award

  • Dr Jerome Lewis
    ‘for the innovative use of GIS in empowering indigenous communities’

Dr Jerome Lewis has pioneered the use of digital mapping in unusual and important contexts to empower local people to regain a role in the management of their environments in the face of rapidly changing situations. Current GIS technologies usually require significant expertise to operate. Jerome has developed innovative icon-interfaced Geographic Information Systems, responding to the needs expressed by indigenous groups in the Congo Basin confronting legal and illegal pressures on the forests in which they live. These innovations in digital mapping are bringing very real benefits to historically marginalised and vulnerable communities.

Gill Memorial Award

  • Dr Colin McFarlane
    ‘for contributions to urban geography’

Dr McFarlane has already gained an international reputation for his work on urban inequality, infrastructure and knowledge. Focusing on Mumbai’s informal settlements, his research has revealed new insights into the nature and production of urban inequality, and how different forms of knowledge and learning enable and limit people’s capacities to respond. A highly productive scholar, his work already has had significant impact across urban, development and political geography, and has helped to place geography more centrally in academic debates within anthropology, development studies and political science.

Ordnance Survey Awards (two awards)

  • Adrian Taylor and Helen Young
    ‘for excellence in teaching geography at secondary level’

Adrian Taylor is Head of Geography at St Mary’s RC High School, Chesterfield.  A Chartered Geographer, Adrian is actively engaged in connecting new research in geography to classroom practice, both with the Society and with the Geographical Association. Notable is his imaginative involvement of out-of-school experts in fieldwork. For example, local planners for urban fieldwork and magistrates to provide a citizenship dimension to Key Stage 3 (KS3) work on crime.

Helen Young is a geography teacher at The Friary School, Lichfield. She has been instrumental in the integration of ICT and GIS in this and her previous schools. Her website, geographygeek.co.uk, has a large following of teachers who benefit from numerous free resources for classroom use. She has also developed GIS materials for educational publishers.

Taylor and Francis Award

  • Professor Martin Haigh
    ‘for excellence in teaching and learning in geography in higher education’

Professor Haigh is a leader in education for sustainable development and global citizenship. A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a long term member of the editorial board of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education, just recently completing a six year term as Co-Editor, he has enabled publication of major symposia on topics as diverse as ‘Teaching about Europe’, ‘Geography and Gender’ and ‘Sustainability Education’. He has also written extensively on the internationalisation of the curriculum.

Ness Award

  • Professor Iain Stewart
    ‘for popularising geography and earth sciences’

Professor Iain Stewart has balanced a strong academic career with a successful series of television programmes that have brought geography to prime time television. Through his unique style of presentation, his sense for adventure, and in-depth knowledge, these series, which include Rough Science, Hot Planet, The Climate Wars, and Journeys into the Ring of Fire and Earth, have engaged audiences and fostered a greater understanding of our world . His most recent BBC series How Earth Made Us made frequent references to the vital role that Geography plays in the understanding of our environment.

Geographical Award

  • MapAction
    ‘for providing non-commercial mapping support to disaster relief efforts worldwide’

MapAction, a nongovernmental organisation based in the United Kingdom, uses GIS technology to improve coordination efforts among agencies and host countries during disaster responses. MapAction provide rapid answers to questions such as ‘where are the greatest needs’ and ‘where are the gaps that need to be filled’, delivering information directly to rescue and relief agencies. MapAction’s first emergency deployment was to Sri Lanka in December 2004 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then, MapAction’s highly skilled GIS teams have carried out more than 18 emergency and 55 disaster preparedness missions.

Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize (two awards)

  • Joseph Jenkinson and Lucy Stapleton
    'for the undergraduate geography dissertations judged to be the best in 2009'

This year there are two recipients of the Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize for the best undergraduate dissertation submitted for a first geography degree – Lucy Stapleton (University of Cambridge) for her dissertation From Local Buzz to Global Pipelines: A Question of Firm Maturity and Joseph Jenkinson (University of Southampton) An Exposé of the Critically Endangered Palm Dypsis saintelucei Endemicto the Littoral Forest Mosaic of South East Madagascar.

Area Prize

  • Edmund Harris
    ‘for the best article in the journal by a new

Special awards

Special Medal

  • Geographical Society of China
    ‘in recognition of its excellent work in support of geography and geographers in China over the past 100 years’

Regional Anniversary Awards

In recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the Society’s regional programme, the Society’s Council has approved a number of Regional Anniversary Awards. These awards recognise the distinguished and hard working efforts of the regional committees in creating a programme that has grown from some 10 events in the first year to more than 80 events in 2009.

  • Hokey Bennett-Jones from the Northwest region
  • Michael Hand from the East Anglia region
  • Brian Hogg from the Yorkshire & Northeast Region
  • Brian Hoyle from the Southern Region
  • Geoff Parkes from the West of England & South Wales region

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