We are delighted to be holding the 2022 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference at Newcastle University.
We are particularly excited to invite you to join us in person in Newcastle for the conference if you can, and to experience the conference in and of the city, engaging closely with Newcastle's public and voluntary sector organisations, civic society, policy audiences, and thriving arts and culture sector.
Below you will find short reflections from some of our colleagues at Newcastle about all that the city can offer. Over the coming months we will add further information to these pages about planning your time in Newcastle.
Visiting our city
"Come to the 2022 RGS-IBG Annual Conference and you’ll find in Newcastle a vibrant and compact city centre. At its heart is the Georgian neoclassical Grainger Town, which holds the city’s retail and entertainment core. The university campus is just to the northern edge of Grainger Town, giving Society delegates lots of choice less than a 10 minute walk from campus, whether at traditional British pubs such as the Trent House, trendy bars such as Bar Loco or the Stack shipping container complex, late night cafes like Journey Café, or the party city venues of the Bigg Market. The city’s Quayside is an iconic British urban site, spanned by several bridges showcasing the region’s engineering strengths. There is always life there, but the best time to visit is perhaps during the Sunday market. Wander over to the Gateshead side of the river to visit the River Brew street-food market, and then down to the Baltic art gallery, featuring a range of contemporary art installations. Half a mile further downstream you’ll find Newcastle’s trendiest quarter, the Ouseburn Valley, where there are makers’ spaces such as the Biscuit Factory, and several quirky and interesting independent pubs, cafes and venues. The Ouseburn is also home to more relaxed daytime sites for delegates visiting with families, including the Ouseburn Farm and the Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books. The Metro provides great access to the rest of Tyne and Wear, including the coast at Tynemouth’s clifftop cafes, or the sandy beaches of Cullercoats and Whitley Bay. For those staying with us longer, there’s great countryside and World Heritage Sites accessible by bus and train, including the Roman-built Hadrian’s Wall, the beauty of the Northumberland Coast, and the magnificent Durham Cathedral."
Dr Robert Shaw
Our journeys to Newcastle
“It’s neither grim nor remote ‘up North’! If you’ve not been to Newcastle, you’re in for a treat. But how to get here? There’s good news: we’re very accessible, wherever you’re coming from. For many, the easiest answer will be the train: Newcastle is about three hours away from London, 1.5 hours from Edinburgh, and 2.5 hours from Manchester by train (using fastest routes). These are scenic routes and the time will fly by! Looking for a more affordable option? There are also frequent coach services connecting Newcastle with other cities nationally. Newcastle is also well served by an international airport for those coming from afar, with connections to London, Paris, or Amsterdam that make us an easy reach from North America, Asia, or Europe. Those coming from Europe—and we hope you will—may prefer the less impactful options of train or overnight ferry. Sure, it may take a bit longer, but nothing quite compares to the bustle of St. Pancras in London after taking the Eurostar train or the memorable view of Newcastle’s bridges as you cross the Tyne after a heroic voyage by train from continental Europe. Newcastle has regular overnight ferry service, as well, from Amsterdam. A very walkable city, Newcastle is not only easy to get to, but also easy to get around. It has a lovely Metro system and we can’t wait to show it off. Arriving at Central Station on the train, or the airport, it’s easy to get about the entire region by Metro. Hope to see you in the Toon, as many local people call it!”
Dr Wen Lin and Professor Rachel Franklin
Engaging with our region
“Being in Newcastle offers us real opportunities for engagement with the policy, voluntary and community sectors during the conference. The conference will draw some of these partners in, showcasing the varied approaches to collaboration in geographical research and teaching, and the alternative spaces and structures of solidarity and support that enable engagement to flourish. We'll be able to hear about local lived experiences of structural inequality, and witness the vitality and voices of informal, voluntary and community groups, both inside and outside the North East. A rich ecology of service, advocacy and activism was evident here during the first coronavirus lockdown, when dozens of mutual aid groups sprang up to provide immediate and essential help to vulnerable citizens. Many geographers engage with a wide range of real-world issues and action for meaningful change through research and teaching, through an ethic of care and agreed mutual benefits with external partners. This includes many undergraduates and postgraduates who animate these partnerships as change-makers, supported by the growth in real-world social, political, and environmental engagement on the undergraduate curriculum. For example, in Newcastle our students pursue external placements, collaborative projects, and experience direct action as leaders in student-led community organising through our strategic partnership with Tyne and Wear Citizens.”
Professor Helen Jarvis
Creativity around the conference
“Many visitors (digital or in person) will already know Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North sculpture, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage classical concert hall just across the river in Gateshead. Smaller creative arts organisations and events have increased diversity and vitality in the region, adapting quickly, extending accessibility and impact, and providing key services for local communities during the pandemic. Gateshead International Theatre Festival was the first to move online in Easter 2020. Award winning feminist theatre company Open Clasp supported the West End Women and Girls Centre’s initiative ‘Scran for the Fam’ (a weekly soup run) whilst other activities were suspended. Small independent Alphabetti Theatre made its 2021 season available to all as ‘pay what you feel’, including ‘Sucking Eggs’ by Steve Byron, a collaboration exploring aging with VOICE at Newcastle University; the first North East staging of ‘Hang’ by debbie tucker green; and the ‘Women are Mint’ festival curated by local musician Martha Hill. There are lots of research relationships with large and small venues and arts-led organisations. From projects with the National Trust that include commissioning and creating contemporary art for heritage settings around difficult histories, to ‘Dwellbeing’ an on-going community arts project reacting to rapid development in Shieldfield on the outskirts of the city centre, ‘place’ emerges as a central theme across many of these collaborations. There is something of a Northern hub for GeoHumanities developing here, and we’ll showcase examples at the conference. From collaboration with Workie Ticket Theatre CIC that examines the complexity of conflict with military spouses, to an open heritage project that puts care at the centre of creative and arts development in Sunderland, much of this work is embedded with local communities, orientated towards participation and action for social change.”
Dr Ruth Raynor