Population Geography at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2022

The research group are pleased to have been able to sponsor a number of sessions at this year’s RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, which is being hosted by the University of Newcastle.

The research group are sponsoring five sessions and have organised a special session to celebrate the contribution of Tony Champion to population geography. Details of these sessions can be seen below.

1. Celebrating Tony Champion’s contributions to Population Geography

11:10-12:50 Friday, 2 September, 2022

Organiser: Francisco Rowe (University of Liverpool, UK)

Discussants: Darren Smith (Loughborough University), Rachel Franklin (Newcastle University), Tony Champion (Newcastle University)

This session aims to celebrate and discuss Tony Champion’s contributions to the field of population geography. It will involve an assessment by Tony Champion about his past work and the future opportunities it may offer, and a panel discussion by established population geographers.

2. Families and ‘privileged’ work mobilities: conflicts, disruptions, connections and recovery

14:40-16:20 Wednesday, 31 August, 2022

Organisers: Aija Lulle and Sophie Cranston (Loughborough University)

This session (re)examines the relationship between family ties and transnational work migration by focusing on the movements of relatively privileged groups. Relatively privileged migrants are often associated with an ease of mobility because they are considered “highly skilled” and, as such, “desirable” workers in the contemporary knowledge economy. However, accounts of the ease of movement are contested by accounts of migration that consider the wider influence of the family.    

Our session invites an investigation into the consequences and lived realities of family ties in transnational work migrations.  Such groups may include academics, IT professionals, employees in multinational corporations, diplomats, military personnel, those working for charities and NGOs, students and others. Pandemic further disrupted work and home relations, and people introduced new ways of recovering balance between work and family across borders. To examine the tension between the institutional push towards transnational mobility and the importance of rootedness and family ties, this session invites presentations that explore, among others, one or several of the following themes:  

  How do regular semi-permanent long-distance mobility interact with family ties?  

  • How do various institutional settings envision and treat family relations?  
  • How are the networks of relatedness influenced by different provisions (or lack thereof) for the employees’ family needs?  

How is mobility experienced by ‘accompanying’ spouses, children and other relatives?

3. Geographies of COVID-19: from individual to social recovery (1&2)

14:40-16:20 and 16:50-18:30 Thursday, 1 September, 2022

Organisers: Mark Green (University of Liverpool), Richard Harris (University of Bristol) and Karyn Morrissey (Technical University of Denmark)

Co-Sponsored by Quantitative Methods Research Group

Through Government dashboards, online portals and other sources of administrative, survey and ‘big’ data, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided historically unparalleled monitoring of which places and populations are most infected by the virus at cross- and sub-national scales. These data shed light on the structural inequalities and socio-economic geographies that shape who is more at risk from the virus, as well as revealing where vaccine uptake has been greatest and where the roll-out has been slower, whether that be due to supply (which populations are prioritised) or demand (e.g., anti-vaccine skepticism). This session invites papers measuring, modelling or mapping such data to aid understanding of the syndemic nature of the disease – what Horton (2020), after Singer et al. (2017) describes as the biological and social interactions that are important for prognosis, treatment, and health policy: for social not just individual recovery. Topics include but are not limited to geographical communication of who the disease is in-/affecting, when and where; measuring the scale of the disease and evidencing whether spatial context matters; applications of machine learning, statistical models or novel approaches to illuminate the spatial patterns in the data; modelling spatial diffusion; and shedding light on social behaviours and attitudes, such as anti-vax sentiment and conspiracy belief. Underpinning the session is a belief that understanding the geographies of COVID-19 evidences associated socio-spatial inequalities that have to be tackled alongside other health interventions if a post-COVID geography of recovery is to be fully achieved.

4. Mapping uneven roads to recovery: Methods, tools, and data for understanding spatial inequality (1&2)

09:00-10:40 and 11:10-12:50 Wednesday, 31 August, 2022

Organisers: Caitlin Robinson, Francisco Rowe (University of Liverpool) and Rachel Franklin (Newcastle University)

Co-Sponsored by Quantitative Methods Research Group

Responding to wider calls for a more socially-impactful approach to geographical analysis (Delmelle, 2019), this session seeks to advance discussions about both how we understand and map both emerging and ongoing challenges of inequality at the individual, neighbourhood and regional scales, using novel (primarily) quantitative spatial methods and data. The session incorporates a range of abstracts that apply analytical approaches to understand, visualise, or explain spatial inequalities or disparities. This includes: 

  • Interrogation of new data sources as well as more traditional data sources to further understanding of inequality;
  • Studies that combine a multitude of types of data together to perform geographical analysis (including mixed-methods approaches);
  • Methods for describing and characterising neighbourhood and regional inequality;
  • Shrinking cities and depopulating places;
  • Identifying “Left Behind” places;
  • Neighbourhood change and trajectories over time;
  • Tools and methods for understanding local pandemic impacts and post-COVID “recoveries”;
  • Spatial analytic approaches to “Levelling Up” and regional policy;
  • Urban structure, morphology and intra- and inter-urban inequalities;
  • New approaches to mapping uneven climate futures.


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