Impact in Sexualities and Queer Research: One day event in Leeds

Sponsored by the Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Citizenship & Belonging Research Cluster, University of Leeds

Date and time: 8 September 2015, 10 AM – 3.30 PM
Location: University of Leeds, UK
Organising Committee: Robert Vanderbeck (University of Leeds), Martin Zebracki (University of Leeds), and Alexandra Fanghanel (University of Bedfordshire)

Confirmed keynote panellists:
Dr David Bell, University of Leeds
Dr Gavin Brown, University of Leicester
Prof Ruth Holliday, University of Leeds
Dr Jacqui Gabb, Open University
Prof Paul Johnson, University of York
Prof Nina Laurie, University of Newcastle
Dr Joanna Sadgrove, Research and Learning Advisor, the United Society

The notion of ‘impact’ has become increasingly central to the practice of research in the U.K.  Research councils now expect research to have clearly defined ‘pathways to impact’, while the Research Excellence Framework (REF) has made the evaluation of impact central to its assessment of the research activity of universities.  Questions about the ability of researchers to generate demonstrable research impact have now become a commonplace feature of the appointment process for academic positions, with implications both for aspiring academics and those already in academic posts.  In some academic departments, it is a mark of prestige to have one’s work be the focus of an ‘impact case study’ for the REF, with internal competition between colleagues taking place over whose research will be seen as the most ‘impactful’ for the REF.

While many critical geographers and other social scientists have long stressed the importance of conducting research that has relevance outside the academy, the current drive for impact has triggered a range of critical discussions regarding the definition of impact, the implications of the ‘impact agenda’ for curiosity-driven research, the effect of the ‘impact agenda’ on how researchers work with external partners and organisations, and a range of related issues (see, for example, Pain et al. 2011; Phillips 2010; Rogers et al. 2014; Slater 2012).

This one-day event provides a forum for discussion of the theme of research impact as it relates to sexualities and queer research (broadly defined) in human geography and the social sciences.   Issues for discussion include:

* the prospects for, and challenges of, working with non-academic partners and research users to generate impact
* ethical issues and dilemmas related to generating research impact
* interacting with the press and other news media
* using blogs and other media as tools for research dissemination and public engagement
* the career implications of the impact agenda for sexualities and/or queer scholars
* the influence of the ‘impact agenda’ on the future trajectories of sexualities and queer research in the U.K. and beyond
* strategies for challenging the instrumentalisation of impact within the academy

The event will combine two keynote panels with smaller, interactive discussions where participants will reflect upon issues related to impact as they relate to their own research endeavours.  Early career researchers and postgraduates are especially welcome to attend.  Some funds for travel bursaries are available for postgraduate students and unwaged individuals to contribute towards travel expenses (see below).

The cost of registration is £15 (£5 for students and unwaged).  This includes a light lunch and refreshments. Students and unwaged individuals can apply for bursaries (below).  The registration cost can be waived for research user organisations with limited resources (please contact Robert Vanderbeck:<>).
Please visit the following site to register:

Bursary applications are available on the SSQRG website.  Students and unwaged individuals are welcome to apply for bursaries.

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