This blog is based on an event report co-authored with Briony Turner.
The Intrepid Explorer launch event at the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) on 16 June was a huge success, involving over a dozen fieldwork presentations and many more amazing photographs from across the School. The Intrepid Explorers model is based on the principle that inspiring stories are best shared, and challenging or illuminating fieldwork experiences in one context may benefit another researcher in a very different context.
Intrepid Explorers at SoGE
Briony Turner (ECI) opened with an overview of the underlying concept and evolution of the Intrepid Explorers model at Kings College London, where she co-founded the project. It is now well established and supported by the department and run by students from all degree levels. Briony also kicked off the fieldwork showcase with her presentation ‘How many kilometres would you walk for a warm Coca Cola in Maasailand?’!
Stories and photographs presented by members of SoGE ranged from women’s work in Tajikistan, to invasive plants in Hawaii, swinging on lianas in Bolivia, and the lives of people working in small scale waste recycling in Beijing. Speakers worked on vastly different systems, used a wide range of approaches and came from all sorts of backgrounds – united by a shared interest in the variety of cultures and landscapes around the globe. Check out some of their incredible photos in the photo gallery below.
Benefits for all!
A welcome element of these events is the breakdown of divides between experienced and newer researchers, and different research communities within the school. The forum also provides an avenue to practice story-telling, as opposed to traditional academic presentations.
Most importantly, the Intrepid Explorer model has been demonstrated to result in real impacts – on Wednesday 22 June, Briony was named the 2016 Impact Champion by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council for her work establishing Intrepid Explorers.
How it could work at SoGE
The launch event attracted around 30 people, and attendees were enthusiastic about rolling out the Intrepid Explorers event at SoGE. Given the number of people keen to contribute photographs this time, it shouldn’t be difficult to find presenters in future!
Future Intrepid Explorers events could range from 20-30 min lunchtime seminars featuring a single presenter, to rapid fire presentations from a large number of different researchers, similar to the launch event. Photographs and stories entered can be about almost anything to do with fieldwork or conducting research – with the condition that no tables or figures are allowed!
We are in discussions with the Head of School and hope the program can be formally endorsed and established at SoGE in 2016/17. Watch this space!