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Creative Geographies was a small, invitation-only symposium (like an AAG ‘author meets critics’ session, but more like ‘reader meets author meets editor meets potential authors’) in which authors of some notably experimental, evocative and engaging examples of published academic work were quizzed on their creative processes by postgraduate human geographers, and the journal editors who (could have) published this work were quizzed on how such work gets into print.

The author-paper-quizzer-editor combinations were as follows:

Hayden Lorimer (2003) The geographical field course as active archive. Cultural geographies 10(3), 278-308 [link] quizzed by Lynne Sealey & Louise Rutt. [Editor: Phil Crang]

Caitlin DeSilvey (2007) Salvage memory: constellating material histories on a hardscrabble homestead. Cultural geographies 14(3) 401-424 [link] quizzed by Agatha Herman & Helen Scott-Daniels [Editor: Phil Crang]

Kathryn Yusoff (2007) Antarctic exposure: archives of the feeling body. Cultural geographies 14(2), 211-233 [link] quizzed by Justin Pollard & Liz Roberts [Editor: Phil Crang]

James Evans & Phil Jones (2007) Towards a Lefebvrian socio-nature? A film about rhythm, nature and science. Geography compass 3 [link] quizzed by Huw Vasey & Emma Whittingham [Editor: Ian Cook]

Ian Cook et al (2004) Follow the thing: papaya. Antipode 36(4), 642-664 [free access link] quizzed by Richard Wells & Matt Grace [Editor: Wendy Larner]

John Wylie (2006) Smoothlands: fragments/landscapes/fragments. Cultural geographies 13(3), 458-65 [link] quizzed by Leila Dawney & Kim Ward [Editor: Phil Crang].

This website was used to co-ordinate this event, contains a report on the event which may be useful for others thinking of organising an event along these lines, to which will be added photos of doodles made my participants on the event’s tablecloths.

This event was coordinated by Ian Cook and Harriet Hawkins.

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This page is for group members to discuss issues that will matter to all of us at the meeting.

The Chatham House Rule is a rule that governs the confidentiality of the source of information received at a meeting. Since its refinement in 2002, the rule states:

“When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

The rule originated in June, 1927, at what is now best known as Chatham House (formally known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs) with the aim of guaranteeing anonymity to those speaking within its walls in order that better international relations could be achieved. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion. The original rule was refined in October 1992 and again in 2002.

Meetings, or parts of meetings, may be held either “on the record” or “under the Chatham House Rule”. In the latter case, the participants are understood to have agreed that it would be conducive to free discussion that they should be subject to the rule for the relevant part of the meeting. The success of the rule may depend on it being considered morally binding, particularly in circumstances where a failure to comply with the rule may result in no sanction.

The Rule allows people to speak as individuals, and to express views that may not be those of their organizations, and therefore it encourages free discussion. Speakers are then free to voice their own opinions, without concern for their personal reputation or their official duties and affiliations.

The Chatham House Rule resolves a boundary problem faced by many communities of practice, in that it permits acknowledgment of the community or conversation while protecting the freedom of interaction that is necessary for the community to carry out its conversations.

For more, go to Chatham House.

We had a few things to discuss and arrange today (in black), and a few decisions were made (in brown):

0. who was there?
Hatti Hawkins, Ian Cook, Emma Whittingham, Lynne Sealey, Justin Pollard, Huw Vasey, Agatha Herman, Richard Wells, Helen Griffiths (via webcam).

1. videoconferencing test?
– Helen G (live from Birmingham?)
– this worked a treat, and could easily enable others to take part in the discussions in October. Let Ian/me know if that’s you. People at the meeting agreed that this Skyping lark was marvellous…

2. the website (technical + other issues)?
– is the home page there?
>wordpress won’t show me the homepage with the info on it at the moment. (Louise)
>Re: the blank homepage issue, I think it did that to me too… it says it can’t find what I’m looking for when I click on the creative geogs title at the top. (James Evans
)‘no’ for a lot of you, so I’ve posted a duplicate. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN SEE IT NOW!!! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT ANYONE CAN DO AT THE MOMENT. There should be a tab at the top called ‘Ideas / organisation so far’ (which I’ll change to ‘setting the scene’ or something).
– the event blog: this seemed to work really well, too. The website was projected onto the screen during the meeting and we went through people’s comments as part of the business. This bodes well for future meetings of the ‘exnog’ group, it seems. Thanks to those who sent stuff in.
– relationship between exnog & creativegeogs sites: it looks like the exnography group is turning into a creative geographies group (which sounds like something that more people would feel they could belong to), and the exnography blog could be migrated over the creative geographies site, to which everyone on the exnography email list has been invited to contribute anyway. So access is already being sorted out. I’ll do this ASAP…
– other: Helen G mentioned that the RSS feeds from the site aren’t working. I’ve now added a META box to the right hand column through which you can sign up for these feeds. HELEN & ANYONE ELSE – PLEASE TRY THIS AND GET BACK WITH THE RESULTS…

3. the event organisation/ideas so far.
– responses?
– rooms: Hatti is sorting this out. Details will be posted on the site as soon as we know.
– timetable: this was adjusted a bit, the new version is below, and on the updated organisation page.
————————-

Proposed schedule:

Thursday 2nd October:
12.00-1.30: Lunch and Introductions
1.30-3.00: Authors session 1
3.00-3.30: Coffee
3.30-5.00: Authors session 2
5.00-5.15: Nibbles
5.15-6.00: Summary session.
7.00- Evening event.

Friday 3rd October:
9.00-9.30: Coffee
9.30-11.00: Editors session: Q&A
11.00-11.30: Break.
11.30-1.00: Concluding discussion: what next?
1.00-: Lunch and close.
————————-

4. discussants quizzers.
Discussant is a scary word and not what the volunteers will have to do. Each needs to read their paper and ferret around it to find questions to ask of the author. I was asked to set up a new page called ‘general questions for authors’ on the right where I would summarise the kinds of questions/issues raised at today’s meeting and others could respond, chip in, etc. The pages for the individual papers could then be used to think through specific questions for their authors. It may not be a bad idea for the conversations to have begun here before the event takes place…
– absent volunteers:
>Louise: “Happy to volunteer my services depending on what is most needed”
>Kerry: “If there are arrangement type things that I can do from home let me know”

>Leila: ” can’t get down this week but definitely would like to be involved and happy to be part of organising/administration. More than happy to lead discussion or chair a session as well”
See allocations below. I have put your names in the spaces. We agreed that it probably didn’t matter how close the papers were to your research interests, as we’re interested in the creative process in general. All present at the meeting chose their papers and we filled in the gaps with people who had been in touch showing willing. There are still two places to fill (see below) so volunteers please. Hope this makes sense. Let me know if you want to switch (and arrange that switch with someone…).

– can’t make the ‘event’: Helen Griffiths, Emily Quinton.

– allocation of quizzers (two postgrads per paper)

Author: Hayden Lorimer
Quizzers: Lynne Sealey, Louise Rutt.

Author: Caitlin DeSilvey
Quizzers: Agatha Herman, Helen Scott-Daniels

Author: Kathryn Yusoff
Quizzers: Justin Pollard, Liz Roberts

Author: James Evans & Phil Jones
Quizzers: Huw Vasey, Emma Whittingham

Author: Ian Cook et al
Quizzers: Richard Wells, AN Other

Author: John Wylie
Quizzers: AN Other x2. (Hatti and/or Ian will meet with John to confirm participation, select paper, then find quizzers. We agreed at the meeting that it wasn’t appropriate to allocate anyone here until we know that John’s definitely taking part and then with what paper).

5. AOB

The Chatham House Rule
There was some discussion about the ethics/politics of recording the whole event and who could do what with the transcripts. I went to a workshop recently that was recorded according to Chatham House Rules. I’ve copied them onto the organisation page. See what you think / let me know.

The fringe:
Kerry asked “Would anybody be interested in creating some space at the CG event for a few creative interventions; photographs, artifacts, collaborative outputs…beyond the journal article type stuff?
Jules said she was “interested in helping on the ‘fringe’ creative seminar/ exhibition.” Richard was also interested. Can the three of you liaise about what this might involve? I’ve created a post where this can be discussed called ‘the fringe’. Others may want to join in when they see what you’re up to..?

The meal
Hatti suggested a tried and tested Moroccan restaurant, suitable for mingling, vegetarians and we agreed to see how many people we could squeeze in and to book it. Author, editor, quizzer and organiser meals (no booze) will be paid for…

The Sheep?
People asked why I chose that picture for the header. It’s taken from a first year fieldwork project which I used to do where students take picture frames and polaroid cameras to frame and photograph picturesque and non-picturesque landscapes, framing them, showing what’s included and excluded, etc… So, creative and geographical…

Notes written and updated by Ian Cook et al