New Strategy for the Society: Continuity and development

New Strategy for the Society: Continuity and development Rob Johns
28 Aug
Following a year of consultation, the Council of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) has approved the Society’s strategy for the next five years

The new strategy sustains and builds on the breadth of the Society’s work, and retains the existing six objectives as the means for ‘advancing geographical science’.

These are:

  • Geography: promoting and sustaining a vibrant discipline
  • Knowledge and understanding: advancing, sharing and interpreting knowledge to help create a better informed world
  • Geography in practice: enabling professional and student communities
  • Growing our reputation: building on tradition, independence and contemporary relevance
  • Enhancing our membership: an important source of expertise, funding and enthusiasm
  • Securing the future: as one of the world’s largest and most active scholarly geographical societies

The Society’s core activities engage more than 3.5 million people each year – these will remain and, where appropriate, be enhanced. These include lectures, discussions and conferences in London and across the UK; expedition advice; grant giving for research and expeditions; online resources and training for teachers; access to the Collections; scholarly journals; professional accreditation; advocacy work for geography; Geography Ambassadors and Discovering Britain.

A number of areas for development have been identified, many of which will need to be fund-raised for. One example is the significant expansion of our work as the professional body for geography. Another is the Society developing – and better presenting – its range of activities across the UK. A third is engaging people knowledgeably on issues affecting their lives in the UK today. There will also be investment in supporting expeditions by developing Explore, while the completion and evaluation of the collaborative field research programme Migrants on the Margins by autumn 2020 will inform the development of future field programmes.

In education, there will be a focus on schools with the greatest need and on topics that teachers most need support with. The Society will work with the research community to place geography at the heart of the global challenges agenda. In policy, the focus will be on raising awareness of the applications of geographic information and big data, and other areas where geography contributes expertise. Digital improvements, starting with a new website, will provide better services for our Fellows and members. The building will benefit from a much-needed facelift on its south façade.

The coming few years will be both busy and exciting as the Society makes more of what it currently does and implements the planned new activities.

The strategy will be published in late September and will be available on the Society’s website:

This was published in the September 2017 edition of Geographical magazine.

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