We’re Having a Pop-Up Seminar: Discourses of Place

In February, I will be holding a Pop-Up Seminar with some like-minded colleagues, namely the bright and enthusiastic trio of @jennacondie, @sarahlonglands, and @lovestoke.  The theme of the seminar will be discourses of place, a topic for which the four of us share a passion and interest. We want to meet others who think the same way.

Pop-Up Seminar?

The inspiration for a Pop-Up Seminar came after I attended a Pop-Up Tea Party/underground tea room organised by @nouveaucakes. I’ve since learned of the Pop-Up Art Gallery movement, also. Is there any reason why academics and similar interested parties can’t borrow the model and make it work for them?

The premise of the Pop-Up Seminar is that the only important aspect of attending any seminar or conference is the exchange of knowledge. I envisage it to work like this: the attendees will each give a short, informal presentation (around 6-8 minutes) of their research, practice, or interest in the themed topic. Once all the presentations are completed, the group will be able to ask questions and discuss the topics inspired by what they have heard. It’s a very simple format.

The philosophy of the Seminar will be to maximise the return on the time and effort invested in organising and attending the event. This will be achieved by:

  • Organising only what is necessary (i.e. a room or space to meet in)
  • Attendees having a close interest in the topic
  • A small maximum group size (8 people)
  • Offering the opportunity for feedback, inspiration, and information from others with similar interests

The obligations of attendees are to:

  • Deliver a short, informal presentation (powerpoint optional!)
  • Offer constructive feedback to others
  • Enter into the spirit of the event, which is one of mutual support and benefit

In the Pop-Up Seminar, there will be:

  • No long wait for the event to happen
  • No cost (except for individual travel cost)
  • No registration and form filling (just email me: g.j.morris@salford.ac.uk)
  • No keynote speaker
  • No hierarchies or expertise
  • No awards
  • No formal dress
  • No delegate pack
  • No badge
  • No catering
  • No abstract or paper submissions

The only concern is to create a space in which people with a mutual interest can talk to one another.

The Seminar Theme: Discourses of Place

Among those of us that will be attending the Pop-Up Seminar, at least three are PhD researchers with a mutual interest in discourses of place. We’re interested in not what places ‘are’, but how we talk about them and use language to create them. It’s about how we give meaning to places and why we do this. We don’t see descriptions of places as being fixed in any way, but flexible in the sense that language is fluid and used by speakers to achieve their particular ends. You can read more about Jenna’s research here, Sarah’s here, and mine here. In contrast, Bret Shah will talk about his ‘Love Stoke’ project and his aims to change the city’s image of itself. You can find out more about Bret here.

If these are topics you are interested in and would like to take part in the Seminar, we would love to meet you. Get in touch with me at g.j.morris@salford.ac.uk to let me know and I’ll send on further contact details.

The Pop-Up Seminar will be held at Media City, Salford on Wednesday 22nd February from 4pm to 6pm. There is a tram that goes direct to Media City from Manchester Piccadilly train station, and a bus that goes there from the University of Salford/Salford Crescent train station. There is also a car park at The Lowry which is opposite Media City. Hope to see you there.

*** UPDATE – 2nd FEB ***

We now have a full house for this seminar; it’s taken just five days a little bit of promotion to find enough people who want to participate – this is really good news. Unfortunately though, this means that we won’t be able to take any more people for the seminar at this time. I’ve promised to make it a small, intimate affair so participants can get maximum contact with each other and this is something I’m very keen to deliver on.

However, it’s very encouraging to be able to find people who share our interest in discourses of place and I’d still be keen to collect some details of people who may want to get together in future and perhaps stay in touch using social media. So please still contact me and say hello and hopefully we will build on what is happening here. We may well be able to find convenient ways of exchanging knowledge and establishing an informal network which will benefit us all.

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2 thoughts on “We’re Having a Pop-Up Seminar: Discourses of Place

  1. Judi Ebbrell says:

    I think this sounds like a great way to get a group of interested parties to debate and discuss ideas and concepts! Although it is not a particular area of intrest I am interested in the way your pop-up seminar works. Would like to attend one just to see hwtehr I could run one myself – let me know if you have any more – thanks

  2. Hi Judi,

    I’ve never done anything like this before either! I do intend to blog about it once we have had it so other people can learn from our experience and decide whether it is a model they would find useful for themselves. However, inviting a group of people together who haven’t met before to talk and exchange ideas about something they’re all interested in doesn’t seem to be a high-risk thing to do. But, we’ll find out….


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