Sustainability Environment and Resilience: TCP Fieldtrip to London
By Martin Watts and Ilda Dreoni
This month for the meeting of students in the SER (Sustainability, Environment and Resilience) thematic pathway we organised a 1-day fieldtrip in London, the ideal halfway point between the three universities of the SCDTP. We often discuss our research and links between our projects through video call, which does not provide the same quality of interaction as in person. So from time to time we try and meet all together. We met in January in Brighton, and this time we chose to walk around central London to discuss our PhD research and capitalise on a relaxed environment to facilitate exchange, group cohesion and collaboration among us. Each student chose a landmark or environment that resonated with their research project in order to immerse us in their topic.
We started at Parliamentary Square, a landmark associated with important national decisions, and Ruth who is a second year PhD in Geography at University of Southampton told us about her project looking at meat consumption reduction policies. She is interested in developing a conceptual framework that can be used to improve the design and effectiveness and help the achievement of Paris Agreement GHG emissions reduction targets.
Next we moved in front of the statue of Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist campaigner, where Patience, a student on the 1+3 masters programme from University of Portsmouth, talked us through her project looking at the role of women empowerment in development projects. Using Millicent Fawcett to introduce her topic, Patience explained how gender inequalities could be reduced through careful planning of development interventions.
Moving into Victoria London, Kate Rawlings, a third year Geography PhD student at University of Southampton, chose Victoria train station to introduce her research – the station has previously been affected by flooding. Kate described how transport connections are disrupted due to flash flooding, her research applying spatial-temporal modelling of population, flood modelling and network analysis.
Our walk took us into Chelsea where Ellie Ataie, a University of Southampton student currently on the 1+3 masters programme, selected a vegan eatery to inform the group what she will be studying during her PhD. Ellie will be researching the perceptions towards veganism in the Jewish, Islamic and Christian religious communities. She hopes to discern how the vegan diet resonates with people’s underlying religious beliefs and values.
We finished our trip at Chelsea Physic Garden where Martin, a first year Geography PhD student at University of Southampton, used the garden’s tropical vegetation to introduce his research on agroforestry (integrating trees into farmland). Here he explained how he studies agroforestry as a food production and adaptation to climate change strategy for rural farmers, and uses the elevation gradient of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to test the effects of different climate conditions on food production.
Next, Francesca, a 1+ 3 masters student from Brighton University, presented what she will begin researching next academic year about global climate change discourse. Francesca described how she will look at how the new securitised policy environment responds to climate activism, and whether activists are changing their behaviour as a result.
Finally, Ilda, a final year student in Geography at Southampton, told the group about her project regarding distributive justice views and management of natural resources in Malawi. Ilda got us all to play a game inside the greenhouse where we had to imagine to be rural villagers and choose how to redistribute natural forest resources between all members of the community, to help the group understand how economic theory is tested.
Overall, despite the monsoon conditions, we enjoyed hearing about each other’s research. It provided a great opportunity to gain fresh perspectives from different disciplines all interlinked under the SER theme. And we had a lot of fun!