Post-Doctoral Opportunity: Mental Health Impacts of Climate Change, Glasgow Caledonian University. Deadline: 4th Feb.

The Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University is looking for a post-doctoral researcher (one year fixed-term, with a potential for renewal subject to funding availability) to lead the Centre’s research portfolio on the mental health/psycho-social impacts of climate change. Candidates will be expected to possess specialist knowledge and expertise in psychology, social psychology, and social justice, and have research interests on the mental health impacts of climate change.

The application deadline is 4th February, 2019. More details on the position and the application process can be found at https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BPR662/researcher-1a

Please direct any inquiries regarding this position to climatejustice@gcu.ac.uk

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CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: Whose wellbeing? The challenges of doing sensitive research

Doing research sometimes involves thinking about or performing sensitive work. These sensitivities might be methodological, emotional, practical, or emergent elsewhere. Feminist scholars make prominent arguments around reflexivity and positionality when doing fieldwork (Rose 1997; McDowell 1992; Haraway 1988). These may be especially complicated when doing sensitive research through the emotive, practical and temporal challenges this work imposes. While formal research ethics committees govern institutional care and protections of harm, the practice of doing research is often less predictable. Work which is conceived to be emotional or sensitive poses distinct challenges around wellbeing, position, reflexivity and care (Bondi, 2005; McGarrol, 2017; Darling, 2014; Laurier and Parr, 2000).

This double session aims to interrogate what it means to do sensitive research. Through a paper panel followed by a workshop, it intends to open up discussion around experiences of doing work which, at times, may be difficult, sensitive or pose unexpected dilemmas. We welcome abstracts (max 300 words) for the opening paper panel, and abstracts for research vignettes (max 100 words) which will be presented and discussed in the workshop. These papers or vignettes may consider any aspect of performing sensitive work; these could include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical engagements around what constitutes sensitive and/or challenging research
  • Experiences of doing sensitive and/or challenging research across any topic
  • Care, well-being, positionality and reflexivity emergent in doing sensitive and/or challenging research
  • Strategies employed to manage difficult research

 

Please send abstracts (for papers and/or vignettes) to both Rosalie Warnock (r.e.warnock@qmul.ac.uk) or Gabrielle King (gabrielle.King@ed.ac.uk) by Tuesday 5th February. Decisions will be given by Friday 8th February.

Session organisers: Rosalie Warnock (QMUL) and Gabrielle King (University of Edinburgh) with Professor Jo Little, (University of Exeter) as chair

CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: Hopeful, troubled or both together? New geographies of mental health and wellbeing

The decade since the publication of Hester Parr’s seminal volume Mental Health and Social Space (Parr, 2008) has been troubled, and troubling. A global recession and the rollout of austerity have contributed to worsening public mental health (Barr et al., 2015; Mattheys, 2017) and declining service provision (Gilburt, 2015; Power and Bartlett, 2018). Rates of suicide and self harm among young people have soared (Morgan et al., 2017) and antidepressant prescriptions have more than doubled in a decade (Campbell, 2017).

Yet at the same time, a stated commitment to parity of esteem for mental health in NHS (Gilburt, 2018) has been accompanied by the roll-out of the IAPTS programme, with 900,000 people per year now receiving talking therapy for anxiety and depression (NHS, 2018). Nationwide surveys report a significant decline in stigma, linked to national campaigns such as the Time For Change campaign (Evans-Lacko et al., 2014), and Heads Together.

Do these positive trends indicate ‘hopeful adaptation’ (Power et al., 2018) to straitened times? Or are they only masking the emergence of ‘less-than-human geographies’ (Philo, 2017) of doubt and despair in a neoliberal world? This session sets out to ask how the geography of mental health and wellbeing should respond to these seeming contradictions, and invites papers on the following themes:

  • What are the theoretical innovations that can help us to stay with the trouble (Haraway, 2016) in troubling times?
  • How can we continue to move beyond the dualisms (mind/body, researcher/service user, hope/despair) that have long framed mental health research?
  • What role should lived experience play within our research?
  • How should we respond to growing evidence of a mental health crisis within academia itself (Grove, 2018)?

Session convenors: Chloe Asker (University of Exeter) and Ed Kiely (University of Cambridge)

Please send 250-word abstracts to emk31@cam.ac.uk and ca409@exeter.ac.uk by Friday 1st February.

We welcome proposals for non-traditional formats of presentation, such as film, audio or visual images. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss the session further.

CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: The geographies of loneliness and solitude

This session seeks to provide a critical, geographical reflection into the so-called ‘epidemic’ of loneliness. Loneliness has been positioned as a pressing health concern, depicted as a risk to both physical and mental wellbeing, but also as a socio-economic issue of inequality. The rise in solo living, geographically distant kinship networks, and declining community bonds are all seen as potential factors that have resulted in this rise in loneliness. People are seen to be living increasingly isolated and detached lives, and this is something which people may increasingly be reflecting on and working to mitigate in their everyday lives. In this context, in 2018 the UK government published the first ‘strategy for tackling loneliness’, which set out ‘to build personal and community resilience’. Yet missing from this strategy is the role that austerity measures may have had in intensifying loneliness. Austerity has resulted in the closures of social infrastructures that offered the potential for connection, such as libraries and children centres, and has also led to housing and welfare reforms that have displaced people from the communities in which they once lived.

The session will also seek to move beyond framing loneliness as a ‘problem’, to examine what Denise Riley has termed ‘the right to be lonely’. Central here is the idea that to be alone is not the same as to be abandoned. What might it mean to desire solitude, and what if our problem might not be disconnection, but too much closeness? In the context of the remaking of domestic and local spaces in austerity, for example, some are being expected to share everyday space in ways that are experienced as uncomfortable or undesirable. This session will reflect upon how solitude may be an integral part of people’s mental wellbeing and ask how this broader discussion of the geographies of solitude might speak back to dominant policy concerns around loneliness.

In these ways, this session seeks to think about geographies of loneliness and solitude both as spaces of trouble and as spaces of hope. We welcome submissions that explore geographies of loneliness and solitude, connection and disconnection, at a variety of scales and in a range of geographical contexts.

Please send 250-word abstracts to all three convenors (e.k.wilkinson@soton.ac.uk; sarah.m.hall@manchester.ac.uk; alison.stenning@ncl.ac.uk) by Monday 4th February.

CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: Hope for geographies of care and support in times of austerity

The provision of care and support for disabled people, older people, and others, has been severely impacted by a decade of austerity (Power and Hall, 2017). Local authority facilities and support have been scaled back or closed, and budgets and welfare benefits reduced. Voluntary organisations and families have had to pick up the pieces and seek to stitch together patchworks of care and support.

In the midst of these troubling times, there are, however, some signs of hope (Power et al., 2018). In local communities, advocacy groups, voluntary organisations, families, and peer networks, people are beginning to build new, innovative, positive forms of care and support, albeit in challenging circumstances.

This session invites papers to discuss and debate the existence and potential of such innovations, and the very real challenges of sustainability, institutional and regulatory constraints, and local social and economic resources. Where are the new initiatives emerging, and where are there gaps? How are they being developed, and who are the individuals and organisations involved? What role are those requiring support playing in the initiatives? Is there evidence of co-production, empowerment and learning? How can these emergent practices and organisations care for and support people, and what are they not able to do? Are they producing new spatial arrangements, forms and relations, and broader geographies, of care and support? Are they challenging dominant conceptualisations of care and caring? Is a new ethics of care emergent? How can such hopeful signs help us to ‘trouble’ often negative representations of care and support, and challenge the ongoing withdrawal of state responsibility for care?

Papers are welcomed from researchers who work with diverse groups of people who typically draw on care and support within the post-welfare era, and who are involved in new initiatives, including: disabled people, older people, those with chronic illness or mental health conditions, first-time parents, carers, homeless people and long-term unemployed.

Convenors

Ed Hall (University of Dundee); Melanie Nind (University of Southampton); Andrew Power (University of Southampton)

Please email abstracts (250 words max) to Ed Hall (e.c.hall@dundee.ac.uk) by February 8th 2019.

CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: Making space for nature: spaces of hope, trouble and contest

Part 1: Spaces of hope, spaces of trouble

Part 2: Connected spaces: geographical perspectives on nature, health and wellbeing

Anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation can be mitigated in urban greenspace. Recent years have seen renewed interest in the potential for nature-based solutions to deliver ecosystem services that support health and wellbeing. Examples include the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Reid et al., 2005), the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (Watson et al., 2011), and 25-year environment plan (DEFRA 2018).

Emerging findings from the three-year Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature project (www.iwun.uk) confirm that everyday experiences of trees and birdsong, interactions with other users of parks and woodlands, or places to sit or drink a cup of tea can change urban residents’ quality of life. Such everyday infrastructure is overlooked in policy and devalued in practice.

The first part of this session builds on these findings to investigate the spatial, social and political importance of the everyday, and the challenges mundane experiences present in terms of constructing evidence-based policy in a climate of sustained austerity. This session will be a mix of experiential on-site engagement with urban nature, provocation, and presentation of emerging evidence.

The second part of the session widens the discussion, inviting theoretical and empirical papers that foreground spatial perspectives on the connections between nature, health and wellbeing.

To discuss possible contributions to part 1 of this session, please contact Julian Dobson (j.r.dobson@sheffield.ac.uk) and Nicola Dempsey (n.dempsey@sheffield.ac.uk) at the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield; to propose papers for part 2, please send an abstract of up to 250 words to Dr Frances Harris, University of Hertfordshire (f.harris@herts.ac.uk) by 28 January 2019.

CFP, RGS-IBG 2019: Spatial discourses/Geographies of fertility, reproduction and family planning

As new developments in contraception, fertility treatment and self-monitoring technologies continue to transform the nature of reproductive management and family planning, these trends offer opportunities to explore how knowledge, expertise, uncertainty and control play out in different contexts. In particular, the development of biomedical technologies, alongside discourses of neoliberal politics and individualised notions of risk, have reinvigorated critical attention to the regulation of gendered bodies, roles and responsibilities of reproductive citizens (Lupton, 2015, 2016; Waggoner, 2015). Whilst our call is intentionally broad, the aim of the session is to critically engage with the hopeful gains and troublesome developments made in fields of fertility, reproductive management and family planning. Geographers are well placed to examine the multi-scalar nature of fertility and reproduction, extending across the individual body to global movements and discourses, and contribute to related debates on rights, responsibilities and governance. We invite abstracts, which relate but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Fertility monitoring, fertility treatments and other technologies of reproduction
  • Family planning beliefs and education
  • Reproductive management and strategies
  • Reproductive hopes and desires
  • Reproductive health and care
  • Contraception use, developments or side effects
  • Embodied experiences of trying to conceive or become a parent, pregnancy or loss
  • Sexual and intimate relations surrounding fertility and reproduction

We intend to run a double session with presentations lasting around 15-20mins each. Sessions will be organised depending on selected papers and chaired by Dr Tim Brown (Queen Mary University London).

Session convenors are Ailie Tam (University of East Anglia) and Josie Hamper (Queen Mary University London). Please send abstracts of a 250 words (max) to Ailie Tam a.tam@uea.ac.uk by the 10th February 2019.