In our fast-paced and interconnected world, is there still a place for scientific expeditions and journeys with a purpose? Does field research still offer valuable, timely contributions that increase our knowledge and understanding? At the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) we certainly think so and our annual Explore weekend in November helps make such expeditions and fieldwork projects happen.
As the Society’s Director, Professor Joe Smith, points out: ‘At a time of change and challenge in this increasingly interdependent world, there is an urgent need for people to travel with a sharpened sense of purpose, inquisitiveness and respect, and an appetite to share what they learn as they go.’
Bringing together over 90 leading field scientists and independent travellers, Explore 2018 is an excellent opportunity to gain advice, inspiration and contacts for your own research project or scientific expedition. Whether you have a fully-fledged plan and are ready to set off, have the beginnings of an idea, or aren’t entirely sure what you want to do, Explore is the place to be.
The weekend includes a variety of specialist workshops from field research skills and working in remote locations to planning research projects and communicating your discoveries. There will also be the chance to pick up expert tips on fundraising for your project, social media use in the field, mapping technologies and keeping safe. Whatever your query, there’ll be someone at Explore who can help. Speakers at this year’s event include TV presenter, Paul Rose, one of the world’s most experienced divers and polar guides; senior lecturer in marine biology at Exeter University Ceri Lewis; filmmaker, blogger and entrepreneur Tom Allen; writer, poet and land artist Harriet Fraser; and conservation scientist and science communicator James Borrell, among many others.
The weekend will begin with the Peter Smith Memorial Lecture on Friday evening, this year delivered by explorer, geography teacher and 2017 Land Rover Bursary recipient, Fearghal O’Nuallain (see page 16). Having cycled round the world, crossed Rwanda on foot, followed the Indus River from Tibet to Karachi and driven across Jordan, Fearghal is no stranger to travel in remote places. Drawing on his experiences, including his most recent project, The Water Diaries, he will share lessons learned from his journeys and explain why he believes adventure is a valuable tool for overcoming challenges and learning about not only ourselves, but also the world around us.
This was published in the October 2018 edition of Geographical magazine
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