Call for Participation/Attendance: Teaching Justice Pre-Conference 1st September, Pre-RGS-IBG Conference 2015, Exeter

I’m co-organising a Pre-Conference before this year’s RGS-IBG conference in Exeter – the details are below, and the deadline for people wishing to present and/or organise workshops for the Pre-Conference is on the 26th of June.


Call for Participation/Attendance: Teaching Justice Pre-Conference 1st September, Pre-RGS-IBG Conference 2015, Exeter


Organised by the Geographies of Justice Research Group of the RGS-IBG

One of our key roles as academics is as teachers and educators, yet, this is often neglected or rendered less-visible in comparison to our research activities. This is despite a number of interventions by geographers into ‘critical pedagogy’ – the ability to use teaching as a tool for creating, promoting and advancing social justice (see Askins, 2008, Rouhani, 2012). This pre-conference aims to bring to the fore the various approaches geographers have adopted to teaching about – and with the goal of achieving – justice (broadly conceived). We are interested in how ‘justice’ is taught by geographers (and other academics/teachers) and how teaching is one of the key ways of engaging people in projects that seek to develop a more just world. However, we are also aware that teaching in this way involves negotiating a number of practical and ethical challenges, and as such we are interested in the practises adopted when teaching and how these associated challenges raised have or have not been addressed.

This pre-conference brings together academics and educators actively involved in teaching issues of justice, particularly by encouraging the development and exchange of ideas about how to teach (and to teach about) ‘justice’. It would provide a space of co-learning amongst teachers, but would also act as one of the first attempts by geographers to map out the range and scope of teaching about justice as it is pedagogically practised across the discipline. The pre-conference will provide a space for mutual exchange of ideas, innovations and good practice in teaching various aspects of justice. Additionally, the pre-conference will allow a focus on the intersections between teaching and research on justice, exploring how the practice of teaching is often informative of our own research practices and behaviours, which will also allow a combined teaching/research agenda to be established.

We seek to ground the day in practical discussions based on problem solving rather than discussions of pedagogic theory. Questions which could be addressed during the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Are there potential overlaps between different aspects of justice that could be usefully explored (e.g. what teaching techniques may be useful for both environmental justice and food justice (to name only two)?)
  • What are the challenges and opportunities offered by teaching using approaches to justice which are emanicipatory in nature (e.g. feminist/postcolonial/radical)?
  • How do we advance  – and work with – justice – when employing anti-oppressive pedagogies?
  • What strategies and techniques have been successful in teaching justice, and which have been more problematic? (and how do we judge this level of success?)
  • How do we seek to engage students in projects/studies that seek justice in ethically sound ways? What is the feasibility of getting students to ‘practice’ justice through fieldwork, practical classes etc. and what are the potential implications of this?
  • Does teaching practise differ across undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts? And relatedly, how do postgraduate teachers deal with these issues given their often limited time and financial renumeration?
  • What are the links between teaching and research on justice?


We are interested in receiving either: abstracts for short, c. 10-15 minute papers/interventions, or; ideas for c. 90 minute workshops which deal with practical issues/challenges involved in teaching.

Papers: We are not necessarily interested in formal academic papers, rather, short pieces exploring practical, ethical and pedagogical concerns/issues which affect how justice is taught, including how these issues were, or were not, resolved.

Workshops: We aim to run a series of small workshop sessions during the pre-conference which will focus on specific areas/issues related to the teaching of justice (e.g. one session already arranged will focus on issues of ‘trade justice’). These sessions will be guided by individuals or small teams who will be responsible for designing the session (e.g. choosing an appropriate approach and circulating any reading material in advance to the Pre-Conference team) as well as running the session on the day.

We seek short abstracts (200-300 words) for both of these forms of participation outlining which aspects of teaching justice the paper/workshop would engage with, and/or details of the challenges faced as a part this approach.

Please send paper abstracts/workshop proposals to Andy Davies ( by 5pm on June the 26th 2015.

Registration: There will be a charge for registration of £10 to cover the costs of lunch/refreshments. This will be waived for unfunded/unwaged participants.


Askins, K. (2008), In and beyond the classroom: research ethics and participatory pedagogies. Area, 40: 500–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2008.00827.x

Rouhani, F. (2012), Practice What You Teach: Facilitating Anarchism In and Out of the Classroom. Antipode, 44: 1726–1741. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01030.x

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