New term, time to resume participatory geographies reading group.  Our next reading group will be on 26.01.10 (at an undeciding location as yet) at 15:00.  We will be reading Cook et al’s 2004 Follow the Thing: Papaya.  I have enclosed the link below.  It is the first article on this page and is an automatic PDF.

Hope to see you all for a term of engaging reading!



Does anyone else do this? I’ve heard of free writing before, writing with plan or agenda, but I just realised, I sort of do this with reading… So I pick up a book and open it anywhere, start reading, get bored, flick some pages. I’m sure everyone does it, but is this still one of those everyday against the grain things that we do, that challenges the order we’re supposed to have? Cheers for now, Matt

Apologies for the delay in getting these up!  Here are the links to the articles for Tuesday’s reading group (01/12), taking place at 15:00 in the Imperial pub.;col1

Any questions etc please let me know


Whilst having a pint in the Vic tonight with some PhDers, one of them turned around to me and said ‘where is the theory in participatory geographies’ or ‘is there theory in participatory geographies’.  Relating to our previous post I think this is definately something to discuss.  Comments please…….


I was just thinking, having read something which I cant quite find yesterday (dammit!), but what is the relationship between theory and practice? I always seem to get confused when we talk about that binary, because I don’t understand the exact meaning of ‘theory’. Maybe this is my failing (in fact I’m sure it is), but if we bring things right back to basics, can we answer this question: What is (a) theory?



Meeting today at the Vic, although you may have received different emails saying either 3.15/4.15/ this is purely due to the magic of email! Some of us will definitely be there at 3.15, but if you have a class which doesnt finish until 4, we will still be around for at least an hour, probably more! We’re reading Cloke, P (2002) Deliver us from evil? Prospects for living ethically and acting politically in human geography, Progress in Human Geography, Vol. 26, No. 5, 587-604

So thats The Victoria Inn, Union Road, Exeter, today, Tues 17th November at 3.15/4.15!

See you there!

Much of my time recently has been taken up my readings concerning place as it is a major part of my thesis.  As everybody knows the concept of place is one of the basic but crucial complex geographical components geographers have invested time in.  I only need to look at my long list of reading in my ‘to do’ list to acknowledge how much has indeed been written on the subject. Everyone has their own experiences of place and their favourite place, from a room to a city etc.  Indeed one of my favourite places is an area of hall I live in.  This seems bizarre but I love the feeling it gives me.  On a dark night when Exeter has been sunk into darkness and all the night lights have been switch on you can see a very pretty landscape lit up.  When the lights of the corridor go off there is a great glass fronting and I like to stand and just look.  The view is awesome and very relaxing.  It kind of gives you time to think and reflect and thats why I like it so much.   

Ultimately place is a crucial element in participatory geographies.  Place is indeed where participatory geographies is performed and comes alive.  There are certain places you do your research in that evoke many different emotions.  Indeed if you are working on a community project, that place can be a crucial cog in your network of research.  It will be the space you spend much time in.  This begs the question how comfortable do we feel in place.  Some places you can associate with, feel attached to and get an understanding of.  However can some places we do our participatory research make us feel anxious, cautious or uncomfortable.  Sometimes you may find yourself in a place you feel unsettled within but it is important to tolerate this to get what you want from your research. Take an example of a drugs project.  If you went to a rehabilitation centre to interact with drug users and find out about their experiences you might feel anxious.  However the environment maybe important to see what is going on, and speak to people etc to get the most out of your research.   However if we feel like this, surely does this hinder our research? When doing my undergraduate research I always made sure my participants felt comfortable, thus interviewing them in their home environment, where they could relax in their armchair and feel at ease, or at the kitchen table with a cup of tea.  How important is it for us to feel comfortable and secondly the participant. I remember when I first started interviewing feeling quite uncomfortable going into the elderly peoples’ houses.  It was which chair do I sit in, have I presented myself appropriately, do I accept/reject a cup of tea?  It did get better when I got used to it and was in a routine of visiting elderly people’s dwellings.   What happens if we feel uncomfortable but the participant feels comfortable?  These are very important questions within our research and something that at some time or another we may all face.  What are the thoughts on the issues raised?  What is the best thing to do?  Also post your own favourite places….it will be interesting to see where indeed people’s favourite places are and how they are all somewhat unique and differ!!!