Human Geography Seminars - Autumn 2017

The new seminar series starts on Monday 27 November

‘How much Chardonnay can fit into a backpack? Reflections on wilderness encroachment and backcountry decadence’

  • Prof. Philipp Vannini, Canada Research Chair and Professor in Human Geography at the Royal Roads University, BC.
  • Monday 27 November 2017
  • Estimated start: 12noon (but exact time and room to be confirmed)

Drawing from audio-visual ethnographic fieldwork in the Galapagos, Tasmania, New Zealand, South Tyrol, Canada, and Belize this video-enhanced presentation focuses on the multiple ways in which the ongoing development of mobility assemblages are enabling access into spaces widely believed (and marketed) to be home to wild nature. From expedition cruise ships to luxury backcountry lodges, from wooden boardwalks to aerial flightseeing, from skywalks to chairlifts, more and more tourist mobilities are enabled around the world's wilderness areas every year. As the comfort and convenience typical of the urban world encroach into remote corners of the planet new and more sophisticated discourses to justify such development become common currency. In this presentation I will reflect on how such encroachments are accounted for and defended by powerful stakeholders, offering reflections on the environmental (and cultural) sustainability of backcountry decadence.    

Lieux de mémoire through the senses: memory, state-sponsored history and bodily experience at Camp des Milles’

  • Dr Shanti Sumartojo (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Australia)
  • 1pm-2.30pm, Tuesday, 12 December 2017
  • Faraday room 314

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). Her research investigates how people experience their spatial surroundings, including both material and immaterial aspects, using ethnographic and practice-led methodologies. With a particular focus on the built environment and urban public space, this includes ongoing work on memorials and commemorative sites. She is author of Trafalgar Square and the Narration of Britishness (2013), and co-editor of Nation, Memory, and Great War Commemoration (2014) and Commemorating Race and Empire in the Great War Centenary (2017). 

‘Geopolitics and the event: rethinking Britain’s Iraq war through art’

  • Dr Alan Ingram (Department of Geography, UCL, London, UK)
  • 1pm – 2.30pm, Wednesday, 31 January 2018
  • Glyndwr room A

Dr Alan Ingram is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography, UCL. He is interested in geopolitics, biopolitics and aesthetics. His current research looks at how geopolitical events are encountered, negotiated and contested through art. Focusing particularly on artistic responses to the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, his work explores how artists experience and respond to geopolitical events and how artworks are used, exhibited and discussed in the context of broader debates about aesthetics, politics and space. This work has been developed through a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship awarded to research artistic responses to the Iraq war in Britain. There is a blog on this project at and a website for the exhibition based on the research can be found at