The RGS-IBG Annual International Conference regularly attracts over 2,000 geographers from around the world. This year, the conference is taking place at Newcastle University, with in-person, online, and hybrid ways to participate.
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.
You can find out more about Newcastle here. There are downloadable maps available here, including a map of central Newcastle & Gateshead, and of the city's metro system. There is information about things to do in Newcastle on the NewcastleGateshead site.
Sessions will be taking place at Newcastle University, in the Henry Daysh, Percy, and Herschel buildings.
You can download a map of the conference site here, created by Ben Bowsher, Newcastle University. The map also lists recommendations for places to find good coffee, food and drinks in Newcastle, sourced from the Newcastle geography department! We will have printed copies available at the conference helpdesk.
Download map of conference venue
The online programme has details of rooms for in-person and hybrid sessions, listed by building name and then room number (so e.g. Henry Daysh Building - G.06). As a guide - G = ground floor, 1 = first floor and so on. Please follow signage on site to locate session rooms, or ask at the conference helpdesk for assistance. There is also more information about rooms and set up in our guidance on accessibility.
Below you will find short reflections from some of our colleagues at Newcastle about all that the city can offer.
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
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
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
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
Newcastle upon Tyne is England’s handsomest city. Arranged around a gorge, crossed by historic bridges and centered on John Dobson’s 19th century classically designed new town, there is plenty to admire. But how does it serve the bibliophile? Central Newcastle lacks a independent general bookshop of merit, but the city is well served by public transport that makes book browsing a highly enjoyable possibility.
One option is to take the Metro – Newcastle’s rapid transit system – eastwards along the north bank of the River Tyne, out toward the North Sea coast. Alight at North Shields for the estimable Keel Row Books. Knowledgeable owners specialise in signed, rare and antiquarian books, fine bindings, literature and modern first editions, children's books, and the history and topography of Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle, but they offer much more. A trip to North Shields can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby seaside town of Whitley Bay – either a couple of stops on the Metro or a pleasing stroll via parts of the River Tyne Trail and the England Coast Path, taking in the Fish Quay, Tynemouth Priory and Castle and other sights. At Whitley Bay you will find The Bound, a recently opened independent bookshop.
Or take the train westwards, from Newcastle Central Station, for a 30 minute trip along the Tyne Valley to the former Roman settlement and Northumberland market town of Corbridge. Here, among a clutch of art galleries, pubs and cafes, you will find Forum Books, located in an old chapel in the marketplace, mother bookshop of The Bound in Whitley Bay. A trip to Corbridge can be combined with a visit to Hexham, also served by train but also accessible by a two hour walk from Corbridge via the River Tyne Trail. Here, the independent, Cogito Books, is the main attraction, tucked down a lane near the 12th century Abbey. Altogether, an agreeable day trip.
A trip northward to Alnwick is another possibility. Getting there by public transport is more of a challenge. There are buses from central Newcastle but it’s a 90 minute trip. A quicker alternative is the train to nearby Alnmouth and catch a connecting bus. Or, from Alnmouth station, enjoy a two hour walk along the banks of the River Aln to Alnwick. The prize is a visit to one of the largest secondhand bookshops in the world, the legendary Barter Books. Housed in the Victorian former railway station, you could spend all day here perusing its vast offering, especially as it contains a convenient café. In the town centre, in the shadow of Alnwick Castle, is the newly minted Accidental Bookshop, another offspring of Forum Books.
Back in Newcastle, book browsing options are limited. Books for Amnesty on Westgate Road, not far from the Central Station offers a possibility. In St Andrew’s Street, The Back Page, is a specialist sports bookshop, while The New Bridge Project bookshop, part of an artist’s colony in Sheildfield, outside the city centre, stocks art and culture titles. Forum Books also has a presence at the nearby Biscuit Factory, which showcases the work of local artists and has a café with view of the famous Byker Wall.
Ardent bibliophiles must make two pilgrimages. Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books is a museum and visitor centre dedicated to children's literature and based in the Ouseburn Valley, a gentrifying former industrial area just beyond the city centre, is a place to entertain any bairns you might have with you. Finally, Newcastle is home to the magnificent, Lit&Phil, one of England’s oldest independent libraries, founded in 1793 and occupying its present site since 1825 which, conveniently, is a short walk from the Central Station. It was the seat of the Northumbrian enlightenment in the nineteenth century when Tyneside was a byword for industry and enterprise. It is open to all and free to explore and browse.
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