It seems like a long time ago now, but I served five years on the UGRG (2003-08) – technically one year beyond the normal four year term – first as a postgraduate committee member and then as the website and communications editor. Then, just as now, the UGRG was notable for its real mix of post-graduate students, early career and established researchers – and the equitable relationships engendered between these differing groups of researchers. In a sense, being involved in this research group was one of the main channels through which I initially ‘grew up’ within academia, conceived more broadly. That is, beyond the narrower, slightly myopic pursuit of the PhD, and into the broader sets of urban-related debates, idea and concerns that were out there. It put things in perspective. In the course of my time on the committee, I helped organise conferences and events through which I ended up meeting geographers and urbanists I probably would not have otherwise met at that stage in my intellectual career.
This is just to say that I thoroughly recommend that anyone with interests in the academic study of urban geography or cities consider applying for these posts. More broadly, of course, it’s a good idea to get involved in other subject-specific research groups, specialist groups, sections, or whatever your chosen professional association likes to call them.
Note that elections for the UGRG posts take place at the group’s AGM, to be held at the 2012 RGS-IBG Conference in Edinburgh, 19.30 on Wednesday 4th July (room TBA). RGS-IBG asks that nominations for named posts be in writing, including the names of the proposer and a seconder. Nominations can be accepted up to (but also at) the AGM. For further information, get in touch with the UGRG Chair, Tom Slater.