I am very grateful to the Regional Studies Association and its members for supporting my participation in the 2017 Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) annual conference in Brisbane. I was part of a fantastic Economic Geography Study Group session entitled “Critical Reappraisals of Energy”, where I presented on my PhD research on small hydropower and the regional geography of low-carbon transition in China. The session discussant provided excellent commentary on the papers, the audience of approximately thirty was lively and engaged. I continue to stay in touch with the session participants and hope to collaborate with them on energy research in the future.
In addition to my own session, I particularly enjoyed a pre-conference workshop entitled “Enhancing Political Ecology Research”. The workshop was directed by Prof. Gregory Simon of the University of Colorado-Denver and hosted by the Rural Geographies and Hazards, Risks and Disasters Study Groups. Prof. Simon led the group of twenty participants in a discussion of the different “lenses” of political ecology, after which we broke into groups and discussed how to apply the lenses to our own work.
I also attended many excellent plenary lectures and paper sessions at the conference. Some sessions that stood out to me were “Contemporary Themes in Critical Development Studies”, “Environmental Security in the Anthropocene”, and a series on economic geography and innovation. I was glad to participate in the Economic Geography Study Group meeting and brainstorm a great set of potential events for the upcoming year. Of course, the many tea breaks and wonderful conference dinner offered plenty of opportunities to meet new friends and colleagues who I hope to engage with in the future.
I’m missing Brisbane already and look forward to participating in the joint IAG and New Zealand Geographical Society conference in Auckland in 2018.