Doctoral researcher Emily Hayes explores the history of the Society’s illustrated lectures in the next Be Inspired event of the term on 2 June (2.30pm-4.00pm).
The afternoon Be Inspired talks are open to all and are given by speakers who’ve used the Collections to inform their own research, writing or travel. They aim to kindle the audience’s interest in the Collections, and some of those who attend go on to use the Society’s resources for their own projects.
Based at the Society, Emily is a in the third year of her project on the Society’s lantern slides. She is a research student of the University of Exeter and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Her research looks back at the period between 1855 and 1955, when these small glass plates were projected in lectures, as well as being lent out to schools and universities. Her Be Inspired talk offers a window onto how late 19th century RGS audiences, geographical storytelling and scientific knowledge-making shaped geography and the Society.
“Lantern slides became the instrument through which geographical knowledge was communicated to new audiences and in new ways,” she says. “They were used to promote and further the teaching of geography in the UK.”
So, as geographers went around the world, they would bring back images to be shared with thousands of students, as well as those attending the Society’s lectures. “I think they are unique collections that are of world value and deserve to be brought to wider light.”
Be Inspired tickets are free to members and educational users. Non-members tickets are £5 in advance.