As Geographers, we are concerned with developing research that has benefits to society both over the short and long-term, and amongst the different groups with whom we collaborate.
Our strategy is threefold: i) embed our work within knowledge partnerships that reach beyond the academy; ii) deliver research-led expertise to guide policy and practice; and iii) prioritise public engagement so as to learn from diverse communities and audiences.
The beneficiaries of our research are diverse, including community groups, non-governmental organisations, private sector businesses, think-tanks, government departments in the UK and abroad, cultural institutions, and various charitable and service recipients. The impacts range from shaping policy and practice, to enhancing public debate and cultural understanding, and improving management and utilisation of natural resources.
They are underpinned by research from across the Department’s three groups: the Centre for Quaternary Research (CQR), the Politics, Development and Sustainability Research Group (PDS), and the Social, Cultural & Historical Geography Research Group (SCHG).
Capacity building for communities, practitioners and professionals
Our research contributes to building the skills and knowledge of community groups, practitioners and professional organisations. We are helping to change practices for specific groups, influencing professional and practitioner standards and guidelines, and enabling community groups greater lobbying and advocacy potential.
- Our collaborative research with 6th formers of different faiths in a West London comprehensive school and an international architecture company to design a new multi-faith space for Ealing has stimulated new creative ideas, perspectives and professional practices.
- Our participatory action research with Indigenous communities in the Guiana Shield region of South America has increased their capacity to use films and photostories as powerful communication media to raise awareness on social and environmental issues within their own and other communities, civil society organisations, as well as to a wider national and international constituency.
- Our research on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is supporting the Department for International Development’s advisors and programme managers with evidence, relevant examples and practical guidance on how to address harmful social norms in the context of programming to prevent VAWG.
- Our research on architectural issues and phenomena have contributed to the successful campaigns of activist groups, such as the Twentieth Century Society to obtain listed status for the South Bank, and the Long Live Southbank campaign to stop the undercroft space of the South Bank being developed.
Challenging conventional wisdom
Our research aims to question the current socio-economic, political, economic and environmental system and their predominant paradigms, whether it be foreign policy, approaches to sustainability or historical events, so as to promote alternative, socially just and ecologically sound practices and policies.