By Marie-Claire Jalaguier (Geography undergraduate student)
I was so lucky to have been able to attend the Royal Geography Society (RGS) (with IBG)’s annual Explore conference where scientists, researchers, and explorers gather to share advice, contacts, and experiences on field research. I applied to attend as the conference would be a great addition to my experiences in the field of Geography and being in second year, I am in the process of developing my dissertation (IGS) proposal, as well. Attending Explore gave me valuable insight into the logistics and planning of field research and I left the conference so inspired and motivated after the two days.
On the first day, the main lectures I attended consisted of determining a meaningful purpose and aim behind an expedition, and how to organise, budget and plan for risks and safety, which are the fundamental skills to building a strong foundation for any research project. I attended an afternoon session on marine environments where I listened to a panel of speakers with a wealth of experience to do with expeditions and research in marine ecosystems. Through this workshop, I learnt about the logistics behind ocean expeditions, the various locations and topics that current research is most focused on and even met people who recommended different organisations I could work with for potential overseas research having to do with the marine ecosystem.
Marie-Claire Jalaguier at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Explore 2019
On the second day, the main lectures further developed our skills in planning and logistics, and research design, which will continue to be indispensable for my dissertation preparation. I attended a workshop on field research and skills in the Biological and Natural Sciences and heard from different expedition leaders on their past projects and how to best communicate our field research findings to a range of different audiences. I also attended a writing workshop to learn a bit more on how to best communicate the data gathered in the field and to apply the skills to dissertation writing.
Other than the lectures and workshops, another valuable part of the weekend was the networking and meeting so many incredible people. The best way for me to come up with concrete dissertation ideas was by talking to people with experience and passion and who were also willing to offer feedback and advice. I met so many experienced scientists and researchers who are experts in their fields but also many fellow university students who have gone beyond their educational curriculum and classrooms and took the time and effort to plan and carry out overseas field research.
The energy at Explore was the most memorable part of the weekend for me. Every speaker and delegate in attendance were actively engaged in discussions and so supportive of one another. It was an incredible experience not only academically but also personally as I could further explore my interests in Geography and develop new skills and career ideas. I look forward to keeping up with the amazing people I met and to use what I learnt to pursue my research interests! I am so incredibly grateful to the King’s Department of Geography for awarding me a bursary to attend this conference. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be more engaged in Geography within King’s but also on a larger-scale in London.