The AGM of the Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the RGS-IBG will be held on Wednesday 21st April during the virtual RGS-IBG Postgraduate Mid-term conference. Ahead of our AGM, we would like to open invitations for ALL committee positions for next year. Everyone is welcome to attend and to run for any available committee position, the only requirement is that you are a postgraduate student! We especially welcome applications from women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ and disabled scholars.
Applications open from 22nd March and close on the 30th of April.
These positions will run from May 2021 to May 2022 but committee members are warmly invited to stand for election in the subsequent year (April 2022-April 2023).
Short role descriptions are below to advise potential candidates but if you would like to know more please contact the outgoing chair of the PGF Aimee Morse (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are interested in applying for any of these roles, then please submit your application through our Google form.
Applicants for the chair position:
- Must be a current PhD student – i.e. they cannot be a masters student
- Should have already served as or be currently serving as PG rep on one of the other Research Group committee
As Chair, you’ll be responsible for bringing the committee together (virtually) on a monthly basis to discuss events and engagement and update everyone on any RGS-IBG related business. You will oversee events to ensure materials and schedules are ready on time and you will provide support to the committee through checking over media content and proof-reading website copy, surveys and more. You should be prepared to attend both the Mid-Term and Annual Conferences to support these events, and be on hand to answer any questions around their organisation. You will also work closely with the RHED team of the RGS, keeping them up to date with the latest developments and collaborating to ensure events run smoothly. The PGF Chair is a member of the RGS Board of Trustees and therefore, you will be required to attend RGS Council Meetings, Sub-Committee meetings and Research Group meetings. These are a chance to learn more about the wider work of the RGS and upcoming opportunities which may be relevant for the postgraduate community.
This next year will, once again, be one of change. As Chair, you will have the opportunity to work with your committee to build on the successes of previous committees, develop new ideas and deliver a range of events to take the PGF forward.
The role of Secretary provides a fantastic opportunity to play a key role within the PGF, as well as being able to represent the views of post-graduates to the RGS. At its most basic, the role involves organising/scheduling meetings, taking minutes, liaising with all members of the committee, and putting together agendas. Beyond this, you will work closely with the chair of the committee, in more broadly organising the committee and dealing with official liaisons with the RGS-IBG’s Research and Higher Education Division (RHD). Being secretary provides an excellent opportunity to get to know a range of other Post Graduate students from the UK and internationally as you represent the RGS, and its PG contingent at a range of events. You may also have involvement in working with the organisers of the Post-Graduate Mid-Term Conference – held annually – and build a list of contacts that will not only serve you well during your time in the role, but also in the future.
Annual Conference Officer
As the name suggests, the annual session conference coordinator organises the PGF-sponsored sessions at the RGS (with IBG) Annual Conference. This means advertising the call for sessions, accepting sessions proposals, providing a point of contact for anyone wanting a session sponsored by the PGF, and finally supporting those sessions at the conference. The role is not difficult; it just requires good organisation, communication with session conveners and adherence to key deadlines around session and abstract submissions. It is a great way to become more involved with the conference and play a small role in shaping the event, as well as enabling you to connect with geographers in other universities. It is also an opportunity to encourage and engage with more innovative session formats. It is a rewarding role, often helping other postgraduates to establish themselves at a big international conference in (hopefully) a less intimidating setting.
As ACTs coordinator, it is my role to organise and coordinate the RGS ACTs conference that happens the day preceding the end-of-year RGS conference. To give some more background on ACTs, this is a half day separate conference from the end-of-year RGS conference that encompasses workshops targeted towards geography PhD students. My role this year has been to come up and help design the workshops relevant and useful for this target audience, which I achieved with a little online ‘market’ research and networking. This role also requires you to find, contact and gain the suitable speakers to administer the workshops, though the RGS offers plenty of support in doing this if preferred. These workshops and talks will need to be organised into a feasible and logical conference timetable that also permits for networking and drinks breaks.
This role will involve ensuring PGF and wider RGS events are inclusive, finding speakers and building connections across the discipline and beyond to ensure we are being representative and that all voices of the postgraduate community are being heard. Having a new visible committee member taking the reins with the role, paying closer attention to potential issues of inclusivity and the continuing structural oppressions that may shape the postgraduate experience and realities, would be invaluable both to us and the wider RGS. Moreover, the PGF is passionate about building this role and taking it forward in any direction they wish, e.g. the creation of specific events, suggestions and reporting on individuals working at the margins who may be considered as keynote speakers for events/conferences. We especially welcome applications from women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ and disabled scholars.
Social Media Officer:
The Social Media role involves creating content for and managing the Postgraduate Forum’s Twitter and Instagram profiles. It is by far more than an admin role! This role is responsible for communicating and advertising our events and opportunities; creating content; and sharing relevant content from RGS-IBG research groups, organisations and PhD accounts to our postgraduate community. You may be wondering “what kind of content creation?”
This year #PGFHOME, our digital events initiative, was launched in response to the pandemic and that has involved creating content (social tiles, schedules, posters) and organising social media schedules for our themed events from Creative Research Week, the first ever Twitter Conference, Local Geography Week, National Geographic’s Geography Awareness Week, and #lovegeography. Our Instagram account was also relaunched from scratch this year comprising of regular posts with a #geography spin. A picture speaks a thousand words so have a scroll through our many pictures on our Instagram feed to get an idea of the images and content we post week by week and event by event. There are visual vignettes reposted of natural and urban landscapes captioned like a #geographer on Instagram. #throwbackthursday posts have centred around the history of the RGS-IBG Headquarters in London as well as in line with themed days like International Women’s Day.
This role serves as a link between the PGF Committee and our online community of geographers. Through the content we put out and monitoring the response received, you actively learn what our audience finds engaging and, as the role goes on through the year, you learn what to put out. The role requires actively communicating with committee members to figure out what’s going on and being able to answer questions from our audience. Naturally, this means that the periods surrounding conferences or themed days are particularly intense for this role. However, planning in advance and sharing responsibility for social media management during events amongst committee members is very helpful. So while there is the opportunity to be very active, the PGF social media role is definitely not supposed to take over anyone’s life and some time management is necessary. You can take out 5 minutes out of every day. You can check in after a few days. If you are going through a busy period with your PhD, that is okay – your work comes first and an inactive week or two is not an issue. Plus the rest of the Digital Team and Chair are always on hand to help keep an eye on things!
The Website Officer role calls for the regular uploading of information/blogs and updating the website, which is a WordPress site hosted by the RGS/IBG. It’s always really interesting reading what people have sent in to post; it’s a great way of feeling in touch with the postgrad community. Spending an hour or so a week – most weeks – is usually enough except when it’s busy or when there is urgent items to upload. You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of web design, but a methodical attention to detail helps! There’s scope to play around with the site, and WordPress offers different themes with which to experiment. The site itself is pretty reliable, and when it does go down it’s a big help being able to call on the RGS/IBG for some support, so you’re not struggling in the dark. There are spam filters installed which need periodic updating, but the site itself lets you know when that’s needed. Content is often decided on and discussed at the committee meetings, but there’s always chasing up to do…. There are also sections that need regularly updating, such as funding opportunities, and at certain times of the year different sections need adding, particularly for events, which then need moving afterwards. The Website Officer and Social Media Officer work closely together to ensure news and content reaches as wide an audience as possible.
The blog coordinator role aids in creating original content for the digital team. Through writing their own posts around topics they are interested in and by recruiting fellow geographers to write guest pieces. The blog coordinator also summarises events held by the PGF committee to provide a record of activity that is publicly available. The role provides an ideal space for a postgraduate to develop their voice and write about issues that are relevant as a geographer in the early stages of academia. In 2020/21 blog posts generally centre around the experience of being a postgraduate during Covid-19. However, the website now holds tens of posts that cover a broad range of issues and advice that postgrads can search through. From how to write a journal paper, tips for fieldwork and personal accounts of the PhD experience among many more. The aim is for two blog posts a month – although as mentioned previously these do not need to be written by the blog coordinator. As mentioned previously, recruitment of diverse voices is an important element to being a blog coordinator. From the experience of 2020/21, fellow geographers are generally enthusiastic to be involved with RGS-PGF and enjoy the experience. For guest submissions, the blog coordinator acts as a copy editor. Each blog coordinator will be different from the last and is a fun way to meet other people, find joy in writing and build connections for your future.
“As the first blog coordinator for RGS-PGF, I found the role helped me to practice writing away from my thesis. I started with the premise that the blog should be the ‘extra student in the office’, the one who has gone through everything you are worried about. I am so thankful to have had the chance to develop the blog and invite others to share their experiences. In particular, seeing how a post from Dr Oliver resonated with so many people on social media and being able to conduct an interview with Dr Twist – CEO of UKIE.“
Helen Johnson, current blog co-ordinator
As Communications Officer, you will work with the Chair and Secretary to monitor emails and create copy to advertise opportunities and events. You will work closely with the Digital Team, collaborating with the Social Media and Blog Post Officers to create a media and communication schedule and liaising with the Website Officer to ensure all news is posted on the website in a timely manner. You may wish to develop a Postgraduate Forum Newsletter to communicate developments in the postgraduate community and encourage those who have not engaged with the PGF before to do so. This is a new role for 2021-2022, so there is scope for its development during your time on the committee.
On behalf of the existing committee, we look forward to hearing from you.
Aimee and the current PGF committee