Explore 2018

PhD student Matthew Tomkins collects samples from the Wicklow Mountains for cosmogenic nuclide dating PhD student Matthew Tomkins collects samples from the Wicklow Mountains for cosmogenic nuclide dating (Image: Matthew Tomkins)
27 Sep
The RGS-IBG’s annual Explore weekend is taking place from 9 to 11 November at the RGS-IBG in London

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. 

Explore 2018 takes place from 9 to 11 November at the RGS-IBG in London. Everyone is welcome. Tickets are on sale now and start at £75. Early Bird discounts end on 15 October, so book now to make sure you don’t miss out! If you can’t make it to Explore 2018 in London, then come to Explore South West at Exeter University on Saturday 9 February 2019 instead. Visit our website for more details: www.rgs.org/explore.

The Society offers three grants each year to support challenging and inspiring journeys and expeditions with a geographical purpose. Deadlines are coming up soon – apply now to make your journey with purpose a reality:

Journey of a Lifetime Award
This award, given in partnership with BBC Radio 4, offers a £5,000 grant to undertake an inspiring journey anywhere in the world, and gives you the opportunity to tell everyone about it in a memorable radio documentary. Deadline for the 2019 Journey of a Lifetime Award: 9 November.

Neville Shulman Challenge Award
Each year this award gives a grant of £5,000 to a challenging research project or expedition which aims to further the understanding of the planet – its cultures, people and environments. Deadline for the 2019 Neville Shulman Challenge Award: 30 November.

Land Rover Bursary
This annual award provides up to £30,000 and the loan of a Land Rover vehicle to a team undertaking a challenging journey that promotes a wider understanding or enjoyment of geography. Head over to our website to find out more about the next deadline and how to apply.

To find out more about any of these grants, visit our website: www.rgs.org/grants 

This was published in the October 2018 edition of Geographical magazine

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