Mark Blacksell Public Lecture Series

photograph © Dan Raven Ellison

The Mark Blacksell Public Lecture Series

The purpose of this lecture series is to bring scholars working at the forefront of geography to University of Plymouth to present their research to a public audience. The lecture series is named after Professor Mark Blacksell, a human geographer with unusually widespread interests and expertise. He was appointed Professor of Geography at University of Plymouth in 1994, and served as both Head of the Geography Department and Dean of the Faculty of Science before he retired in 2003.

The list of lectures in this series, with links to a video of each, are listed below.

Guerilla Geography

In this thought-provoking and challenging public lecture, Daniel Raven-Ellison shared his guide to Guerrilla Geography. Giving examples of radical, alternative and creative public geographies, Daniel explained what guerrilla geography is, why it's important and how it's at the heart of the movement he started to make London the world's first National Park City. He also covered waterboarding championships, used mind-reading devices to explore cities and his recent 100 metre micro-expedition that will change the way you think about the UK forever.

Visit Daniel's website for more information

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture took place on 13 February 2019.

“Is the UK heading for a Green Brexit?” Professor Richard Cowell, University of Cardiff

Richard’s assessment of this question examines the politics of environment pre- and post- the EU referendum; the UK government’s efforts to replace the environmental governance functions of the EU, and the cross-cutting challenges of devolution. In practice, any new, post-Brexit environmental governance ‘fix’ for the UK looks likely to be profoundly shaped by the greater priorities of trade and the constitution.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture took place on 28 November 2018.

“The ice age in tropical Africa: new results from deep lake drilling” Professor Philip Barker, Lancaster University

Professor Barker reports initial results from a recent deep lake coring programme on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro with the support of NERC and the ICDP. This links past climate change to human evolution in the East African Rift Valley.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture took place on 14 February 2018.

“Exploring Everyday Resilience: Resistance, Rootedness, and Resourcefulness” Professor Katrina Brown, University of Exeter

Katrina illustrates a human centred view of resilience, exploring dynamic people/environment adaptive systems

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this lecture took place on 22 November 2017.

“The Quaternary History of the River Nile” Professor Jamie Woodward, University of Manchester.

Jamie illustrates the distinctive geography of the desert Nile in Sudan, presenting some of the latest interdisciplinary work seeking to understand how societies fared alongside a volatile Nile over the last 6,000 years

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture took place on 8 February 2017.

“Common Ground: Geography and everyday environments” Professor Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin

Anna Davies discusses the values we give to everyday lived environments, the ways we can enhance these environments and how geography can bring diverse stakeholders together in relation to the challenges of increasingly urgent sustainability transition

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture took place on 16 November 2016.

“The Big Thaw: a warming, changing Arctic” Professor Mary Edwards (University of Southampton)

Mary Edwards considers the fragility of Artic systems, drawing upon examples from Alaska, where she lived for several years, and Siberia, the largest northern land area affected by arctic warming.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture was presented on 17 February 2016.

“Researching homeless people as if they matter” Professor Paul Cloke (University of Exeter)

Based on two decades of his own research, Professor Paul Cloke discusses homelessness, one of the most pernicious social issues of our time.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series (with the Royal Geographical Society), this stimulating lecture was presented on 18 November 2015.

"Desert Landscapes of the World" Professor Andrew Goudie (University of Oxford)

Using his own field-work in many of the world’s deserts, Andrew Goudie discusses such phenomena as wind erosion, dust storms, pan and yardang formation, salt weathering, and dunes.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series, this stimulating and informative lecture was presented on 11 February 2015.

"Why do we need to look at military landscapes?" Professor Rachel Woodward (Newcastle University)

Drawing on fieldwork and observations from around the UK, starting from an initial observation about the ubiquity of military landscapes, the talk is aimed at a wide audience - academics, the public and anyone with an interest in the armed forces.

Part of the Mark Blacksell Public Lecture series, this stimulating and informative lecture was presented on 6 November 2014.