Date and Time
20th Nov 2014 09:30 –– 20th Nov 2014 17:50
University of Glasgow

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science welcomes postgraduate research students to the following advanced training event:


Getting Started

20 November 2014

University of Glasgow


As part of the training provisions offered by the Human Geography Subject Pathway of the SGSSS - which includes the annual 'Kindrogan' residential event, alongside other bespoke events - we run an annual 1-day event, hosted by the Human Geography Research Group (HGRG) in the School of Geographical and Earth Science at the University of Glasgow, designed for relatively new PhD researchers in human geography from across Scotland.  The event offers hands-on workshops, with plenty of opportunity for interaction and discussion, together some short presentations from HGRG staff and senior postgraduates.  Specifically, the event focuses upon: the motivations for undertaking PhD research in human geography; the logic and practice of literature reviews in PhD research, including advice on building up profiles of academic geographers whose work is being reviewed; the challenge of specifying and appreciating the value of a 'geographical' perspective in PhD research; the diversity of arrangements and possibilities for developing impact/knowledge exchange of/in PhD research; the craft and practice of writing in different modes and for different audiences during the PhD, with special attention to 'blogging'; and, more broadly, PhD human geography cohort-building activities.

Programme (subject to change)

09.30:  Gathering with coffee available

9.50-10.00: Welcome and purpose of the day (Chris Philo)

10.00-11.00: Getting started: motivations, inspirations, hopes (maybe a few fears), logistics Reflections on getting started from the frontline of PhD research in human geography, with 4 mini-presentations (c.10-15 mins.) by ongoing GU PhD students (Paul Griffin; Alayna Imlah; Laura-Jane Nolan; Mark Lucherini) + discussion.

11.00-11.10 Short break (maybe grab more coffee)

11.10-11.40: Starting reading: mini-presentation (Chris Philo)  An obvious first step in PhD work is to conduct a review of relevant academic (and sometimes other [eg. policy, popular media]) literatures, but how might we go about such a task?  What are the crucial elements of academic critique work needed to ensure that a literature review is effective?    Leads directly into the next session …

11.40-12.50: Who's that geographer?: workshop (Chris Philo) One aspect of the literature review is quickly to gain a sense of the authors (geographers as well as scholars from other disciplines) who are researching and publishing in your fields of interest.  The aim here is a group-based workshop, working in groups to 'trace' particular geographers, as an example of good practice in familiarising oneself with authors, their projects, writings and wider contributions.

12.50-1.30: Lunch

1.30-2.40: What and who is it all for?: Workshop and mini-presentations (Chris Philo and Johnny Crossan) Increasingly, we are being asked to consider from the start the possible impact and/or value of our research, PhD projects included, beyond the academy.   We are asked to envisage the kinds of collaborative/participatory arrangements we might set up with non-academic bodies, communities and individuals of all kinds, as well as strategies for disseminating findings and conclusions.  Yet, what exactly is involved in this working between the academy and a wider world, and how might it be taken into account when commencing the likes of a PhD research project? We will address this matter through a workshop run by Chris and Johnny, including brief mini-presentations from the two of them.

2.40-2.50: Small break and eating leftovers from lunch!

2.50-3.30: Why is it geography?: workshop (Cheryl McGeachan) A common question that we often receive when setting off on a piece of research is what makes it geographical? There are usually many possible answers to such a question, but we will address this matter through a mini-exercise. 

3.30-4.15: Tea 

4.15-4.45: My first thesis blog: workshop (Chris Philo) This mini-exercise is about drafting your first thesis blog: your first attempt (if you have not attempted it already) to create your first, potentially widely publicly accessible, blog describing and justifying your PhD topic and method.  The idea will be for these to be circulated subsequently to all participants, partly as a record of who was attending and what they are studying, but also for comment about the blog-style itself.

4.45-5.00: Start of wine and nibbles reception, continuing into …

5.00-5.40: Writing from the off? the ongoing craft of writing (a mild confessional); presentation (Ian Shaw) Continuing the theme of writing, Ian will reflect upon his own experiences as an academic writer, telling the story of his own writing and how it has changed over the years, together with wider ruminations on the (sometimes daunting) craft of writing.

5.40-5.50: Closing words (Chris Philo)   … and opportunity for any reflections back from participants about the event …

Rest and recreation: visit to local hostelry and possibly dinner for anyone who can stay on in Glasgow. 


The organiser of this event is Prof. Chris Philo and further questions can be directed to him at 

Students without pre-existing sources of funding for travel can apply for travel expenses to be reimbursed after the event. 

Details on how to get to the campus can be found here:



To register for this event please go to eventbrite

Last updated 31 Oct 2014 3:18pm