Changing Places

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  • How and why do places change? 
  • How are places connected other places? 
  • What is a ‘sense of place? 
  • What do different places mean to different people?

Changing places is a core theme in the Geography curriculum. The study of places offers students opportunities to think about, research and understand places in different ways. It engages students with the world around them and how different localities connect to each other.

Based on the theme of ‘Changing Places’, this event is aimed at sixth formers (Years 12 and 13) studying geography and teaches students how to undertake research in human geography. 
Our day is structured around a series of hands-on workshops that teach students the techniques used by geographers to understand place.

You will learn when and how to apply different quantitative and qualitative techniques. These skills will also benefit students studying how places change but will also be invaluable for those undertaking independent studies in human geography.

This event is run by the Geography programme of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Please book your place via the above link or contact us for further information.


10:00 – Welcome

10:15 – 10:45 Keynote – Changing Places | Professor Richard Yarwood

11:00 – 12:30 Workshop 1

12:30 – 13:00 Lunch break

13:00 – 14:30 Workshop 2

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Using GIS in Geography: Everything happens somewhere | Dr Alan Smith

This computer-based workshop will provide an introduction to using geographical information systems (GIS) using the open source software QGIS. This practical workshop will allow you to get started with GIS, including adding and visualising data for geographical analyses. 

Please bring a USB drive if you would like to take away any of your outputs.

Future Places: how can we plan for zero carbon communities? | Dr Olivia Wilson

This workshop will explore the challenges and opportunities for planners to plan new settlements that will meet the needs of future generations. 

We will present a case study of Culm Garden Village which is proposed near Cullompton in Mid Devon. Planners involved in the project will speak about the factors that go into planning a new community. 

You will have an opportunity to work with the plans and identify your priorities for future living there.

Why sensing place matters: interpreting meaning and representation in our everyday landscapes | Dr Mark Holton

  • Why does place matters to Geographers? 
  • Why is it that place means different things to different people? 
  • What do our senses tell us about the spaces we inhabit? 

These are all key questions for cultural geographers to consider and in this session you will be introduced to the important ways in which ‘sense of place’ affects how we experience the world around us. 

You will have a go at measuring your own sense of place on campus using creative methods and then compare results to reveal patterns, relationships and contrasts about how we sense the world around us.

Christchurch (New Zealand): A new and ‘better’ city after the 2010/11 earthquakes? | Dr Simon Dickinson

Much has been written about how Christchurch has changed as a result of the earthquakes. Some of this has focused on the big, exciting, and flashy changes taking place (shopping malls made out of shipping containers and a new sports stadium!). Others have focused on what has been lost (including most of the CBD, a lot of the city’s physical heritage, and many people’s homes). But, as recovery has progressed, what about the city has fundamentally changed? 

This talk will examine the city ten years after the earthquakes and will question the longevity and types of changes that we can observe. Are these just fleeting and temporary changes, or do they represent the building of a new and better city in the long term? Can we see changes just in the physical infrastructure, or are there deeper shifts – related to identity and belonging – at play too? Learn how geographers have conducted participatory research with community groups’ to understand these issues. The workshop will involve a focus-group exercise where you will have the opportunity to research and represent different groups involved in the earthquake recovery.

Time travellers: using historical data to explore Plymouth’s historic harbour side | Dr Nichola Harmer

In this session you will have a go at using historical documents to explore life in the Barbican area of Plymouth at the end of the 19th century. You will examine and code archival data to show the types of activities taking place at the time, visualise your findings using charts created in Excel, and discuss what may be different today and why.

Re-branding places: using media to understand a changing sense of place | Professor Richard Yarwood

Place branding is an essential aspect of change. With a growth in the service sector, urban and rural places compete with each other for tourists, visitors, business people and even students! Consequently, millions of pounds are spend each year on marketing places and projecting a particular image or brand. In this workshop we use place-marketing to examine how geographers can use qualitative data, especially public images and media, to understand change. You will be introduced to ways of systematically analysing these sources.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. The University remains open with a safety-first approach to ensure our campuses are ‘covid-secure’ for our staff, students, local community and visitors, in accordance with government guidance.

University advice and guidance on COVID-19

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