We are pleased to announce that we are opening nominations for positions on the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum (PGF) Committee for the term 2022–23. Anyone (from any background in geography or related subjects) is welcome to run for any available committee position – you just need to be a current postgraduate (PhD or research masters) student! To stand for any of the roles on the committee, please complete the nominations form by 1 May 2022.
Do note that the new Chair and Secretary both need to be current Postgraduate Fellows of the RGS-IBG (or to apply for this status immediately after being elected); while for other roles, this is not compulsory, at least 50% of the committee need to be current Postgraduate Fellows.
The Postgraduate Forum (PGF) is a branch of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), which was founded to represent postgraduates in geography and beyond.
The PGF are made up of a vibrant group of students who are passionate about supporting and representing postgraduates in geography and related disciplines. Broadly, the PGF aim to:
- Represent postgraduates and their interest in the RGS-IBG, research and working groups, and in wider academic circles.
- Organise number of exciting postgraduate events throughout the year, including events at the RGS-IBG Midterm Conference and the PGR Annual International Conference Training Symposium (PGF ACTS).
- Encourage communication and engagement with the postgraduate community.
- Provide information about, events, activities, and opportunities.
Offer support for postgraduates to further develop their professional skills and credentials
Ten positions on the RGS-IBG PGF committee are currently open for the period 2022-2023. These are:
- Annual Conference Officer (up to two positions)
- Annual Conference Training Symposium (ACTS) Officer (up to two positions)
- Inclusivity Officer (up to two positions)
- The ‘PGF Online’ (Digital Officer) team:
– Website Officer
– Social Media Officer
– ‘Postgrad Life’ Blog Coordinator
Short role descriptions are provided below to advise potential candidates. These positions all have varying roles and responsibilities, to cater for a range of skills, abilities, and interests! All positions are voluntary and flexible, designed to fit around your existing commitments. If you have any questions please contact the current Chair of the PGF, Jordi Buckley.
To stand for any of the roles on the committee, please complete the nominations form by 1 May 2022. This will include your name, preferred contact details, institutional affiliation, and the committee position you would like to apply for, along with whether you are currently a Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS-IBG. You will then be asked to provide a short summary of why you are standing for the role (max. 250 words). This summary can include, but is not limited to:
- A brief description of yourself, your research, and why you’d like to become a member of the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Committee.
- A summary of why you think you’d be a good candidate for the role. This can include anything you feel is relevant – we encourage applications from all postgraduates from a variety of backgrounds.
- What you would bring to the PGF committee, if you were elected. This could be particular skills, any ideas you have, or anything else – feel free to be creative!
Committee members will be elected by online vote. Voting will open after the 1 May 2022. Details and a link to online voting will be added here after the 1 May 2022.
Newly elected committee members will serve for one term, unless they are re-elected at the RGS-IBG Midterm Conference 2023 (with the exception of committee positions associated with the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference – please see full details below). All newly elected committee members will be provided with a full induction to their new role, and continued support, from the 2021-2022 PGF Committee and the RGS-IBG.
Please read the descriptions below, and we look forward to receiving your applications – good luck!
The Chair of the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum sits on the RGS-IBG Council (Board of Trustees) in order to represent the voices of the geography postgraduate community. The Chair is invited to attend several meetings throughout the year, held at the RGS-IBG in London (currently being held remotely). The Chair must be a current Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS-IBG, or be ready to apply for this status once elected.
The role of Chair involves the following key responsibilities:
Leading monthly online committee meetings, which are usually held via Zoom. The Chair will be supported by the Secretary in the organisation and minute-taking of all meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to update the committee on any relevant business (this can include news from the RGS-IBG, from other RGS-IBG Research Groups, from other postgraduates, or any other information that is considered important to discuss with the committee); and to check that each committee member is happy with their role, answer any questions, and help to resolve any issues.
Producing the annual report of the PGF, in consultation with other committee members, for submission to the RGS-IBG.
Supporting the organisation and running of key postgraduate events such as the RGS-IBG Midterm Conference, and various events at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference including session sponsorship,
Attending the RGS-IBG Council Meetings, Research and Higher Education Committee Meetings, and Research Group Sub-Committee Meetings. These are held at the RGS-IBG in Kensington, London (travel expenses are provided).
Other than the above, the Chair of the PGF should feel free to come up with their own ideas to take the PGF forward. Each Chair will be different and have a unique style of organising the committee – bringing something different to the PGF each year!
Applicants for the position of Chair must be:
A current PhD student (i.e., this is the only committee position which cannot be filled by a master’s student).
A current Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS-IBG.
Ideally, the applicant should have served (or be currently serving) as a Postgraduate Representative (PG Rep) for a Research Group committee, or in a previous role on the Postgraduate Forum Committee. However, other similar experience will be considered.
The role of Secretary is a fantastic opportunity to play a key role in the PGF, and more broadly to represent the views of the wider geography postgraduate community. The Secretary’s responsibilities include:
Organising and scheduling monthly PGF Committee meetings (which are usually held by Zoom).
Liaising with the Chair and other members of the PGF committee to highlight key points of discussion, and to help put together an agenda for the monthly meetings.
Taking minutes during the meetings, and publishing these on the PGF Google Drive so that they are accessible for the whole committee to access.
Beyond the above key responsibilities, the Secretary will work closely with the Chair of the PGF committee to help organise postgraduate events and liaise with the RGS-IBG. Becoming Secretary provides an excellent opportunity to get to know a variety of other postgraduate students, to network and foster connections with a variety of organisations. Importantly, the Secretary helps represent the RGS-IBG and its postgraduate members at various conferences and events throughout the year. You will also have the opportunity to become involved in working with the organisers of the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Midterm Conference, which is held annually, and make contacts with a variety of people who will help support you in your career both now, and in the future. This position requires excellent organisation, communication, and teamwork skills, as well as the ability to efficiently take meeting minutes and communicate these to a wider audience.
The Secretary must be a current Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS-IBG or be ready to apply for this status once elected.
3. Annual Conference Training Symposium (ACTS) Officer
There are two positions available for ACTS Officer. The ACTS Officers play an important part in representing, and including, postgraduates in the Annual International Conference (which is held in London for two out of every three conferences, and then at another UK university for the third year). The role of the ACTS Officers is to coordinate the RGS-IBG Annual Conference Training Symposium (ACTS), which is organised jointly by the PGF and the RGS-IBG and is run the day before the Annual International Conference. ACTS is a half-day event, which aims to provide a training element for postgraduates attending the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference. It helps provide an opportunity for postgraduates to begin to network, develop skills and confidence, and to get to know the conference venue before the start of the full conference.
This role consists of two positions, who will work together (and with the wider PGF committee, and RGS-IBG) to organise ACTS which will be held at the RGS-IBG International Conference 2022. These roles include coming up with relevant and interesting topics for workshops (for example, previous years have included workshops on research dissemination, and getting the most out of conferences), which will involve networking, communication, and organisation skills. The RGS-IBG also offers support for finding potential contributors to organised workshops and activities, and the role of ACTS Officer will involve regular communication with RGS-IBG organisers. Overall, it is a fantastic way to become more involved with events such as the Midterm and Annual International Conferences, and play a role in shaping these events, while also enabling you to connect with geography researchers from across the globe.
4. Annual Conference Officer
We invite nominations for the role of Annual Conference Officer, who will work to coordinate PGF-sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference. The PGF sponsors a set number of sessions each year, presenting a variety of new and exciting research in geography – with a specific focus on sessions which include, or are geared towards, researchers from the postgraduate community. The Annual Conference Officers play an important part in representing, and including, postgraduates in the conference every year.
The role involves advertising the call for PGF session sponsorship (more details can be seen on the RGS-IBG website. New information will be published for the 2022 conference). The Annual Conference Officers are therefore an important point of contact for anyone wishing to have their session sponsored by the PGF. This role will also involve judging the quality of each submission in order to fairly grant sponsorship. Officers will continue to support the running and organisation of these sessions at the conference, working closely with the RGS-IBG and the rest of the PGF committee.
Annual Conference Officers require good organisation and communication skills, for liaising with session conveners and to meet key deadlines for session and abstract submissions. Overall, it’s a great way to become more involved with the Annual Conference and to play a small role in shaping the event, as well as enabling you to connect with geographers and other universities. It’s also a great opportunity to encourage and engage with more innovative conference session formats, and a rewarding role which helps other postgraduates to establish themselves at an international conference in a friendly and supportive setting.
5. Inclusivity Officer
This role involves ensuring PGF and wider RGS events are inclusive and representative of a diversity of different voices. The Inclusivity Officers work together and with the other committee members to capture and represent the voices of the diverse postgraduate community, find academic speakers for events, and help build connections across the discipline and beyond. This role is important to ensure that the RGS-IBG PGF are being inclusive and representative in all of their activities, and that the voices of the postgraduate community are being heard.
The Inclusivity Officers pay close attention to potential issues of inclusivity and the continuing structural oppressions that may shape the postgraduate experience and realities. This is an important role and is invaluable to the PGF and wider RGS-IBG. Moreover, the PGF is passionate about new Inclusivity Officers building on this role and taking it forward in any direction they wish, e.g., creating specific events, making suggestions and reporting on individuals working at the margins who may be considered as keynote speakers for events/conferences, and whatever else they consider as important!
6. ‘PGF Online’ (Digital Officer) team: Website Officer, Social Media Officer, ‘Postgrad Life’ Blog Coordinator
The Digital Officers – Website Officer, Social Media Officer, and ‘Postgrad Life’ Blog Coordinator, will work together (and with the rest of the PGF Committee) to coordinate all of the online activity for the PGF.
6.1 Website Officer
The Website Officer role involves the uploading of information/blogs and updating of the website, which is a WordPress site hosted by the RGS-IBG. Some experience of using WordPress or similar is beneficial for this role, but not essential as full training will be provided (and the RGS-IBG is always available for support). Key skills include some technical proficiency, good writing/editing skills, and a good eye for detail!
This role is dynamic and constantly changing and is a great way to regularly stay connected with the wider postgraduate community. It takes up around an hour or two every fortnite, however this depends on when items are ready to upload – for example, to update the web page with information for conferences and other annual events. Content is often decided on and discussed during the monthly PGF Committee meetings, and there is usually always a job to chase up! For example, the Website Officer will often find and upload relevant and interesting information regarding PGR events, funding, etc., throughout the year.
The Website Officer works closely with the Social Media Officer and Blog Coordinator, as well as the rest of the PGF Committee, in order to ensure that news and relevant content reaches as wide an audience as possible.
6.2. Social Media Officer
The Social Media role involves creating content for and managing the Postgraduate Forum’s Twitter and Instagram profiles which have a collective growing audience of over 3,500 followers. 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.
This role is ideally suited for an aspiring (or experienced) content creator, blogger, writer and/or marketer. Visual content creation is a key part of delivering the message. You may be wondering “what kind of content creation?” In 2020 #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 successfully relaunched from scratch and comprises 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 online events 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!
6.3. ‘Postgrad Life’ Blog Coordinator
The blog coordinator role creates original content for the Postgraduate Forum’s Website publishing a variety of short articles on subjects relevant to the PhD and wider postgraduate community. Blog posts can be written by one (or more) members of the PGF Committee, or by invited contributors from the wider academic community. For guest submissions, the blog coordinator acts as a copy editor. 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. 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.
This role is ideal for any creative blogger or writer. Previous experience is beneficial (e.g. having previously written and published a blog post), but not essential!
Topics can include anything which may support members of the diverse postgraduate community, and the Blog Coordinator can be creative with what content is include and promoted! The website 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. Our most popular posts have included this piece by Dr Catherine Oliver reflecting on her PhD experience, Top Ten Tips for new PhD Students, 5 Questions with Narrative Geographies’ Giada Peterle, and our Beyond the PhD series conversation with UKIE’s Dr Jo Twist. 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. The specific duties of this role are quite open, and there is space for a new Blog Coordinator to be creative with the running and organisation of the blog. It is hoped that the blog can publish 1-2 new post/s a month, including inviting submissions from the wider postgraduate community and also collaborating with RGS-IBG Research Group Postgraduate Reps to share and promote relevant content. The Blog Coordinator will also work closely with the Website Officer (to upload new blog posts to the website) and Social Media Officer (to publicise posts and create content).Reflections