David W. Smith Memorial Prize 2022

The Development Geographies Research Group (DevGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition. This competition is in memory of David W. Smith, an outstanding scholar committed to researching cities in the Global South. He died in 1999. This year, we invite Y12/Lower Sixth students from across the UK to submit their entries.

Theme: This year we are delighted to run a photo essay competition with the theme of ‘Repair, Recovery and Reparation’ specifically addressing the question – How do individuals, communities and/or environments repair, recover and seek reparation after a disaster? The theme for the competition engages with the RGS-IBG’s Annual Conference https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/chair-s-theme/.

We encourage all students to submit 3 images exploring the theme. Each image should tell their story clearly supplemented with a title and a description of no longer than 300 words. Please explain how the photographs interpret the theme.


All entries must be in PDF/JPEG/.jpg or word doc format (not more than 3MB) and appropriately cited. Kindly include your name, school/college, and contact details.

Please submit your entries (and any questions) to the DevGRG schools prize committee at developmentgeographies.rgs@gmail.com by 1st August 2022 at 23:59 UK time. Entries received after this time will not be accepted. Due to the volume of entries we receive, we will only contact you if you are selected as one of our winners.

By submitting your photo-essay to this competition, you acknowledge that you are the only author of your work and that is it your original work.


The judging panel will comprise of committee members of DevGRG. The panel will assess the entries and determine the winning entry based on theme, imagination and originality, quality of the photographs, and the development of ideas through the description of the photos.


The winner receives an RGS certificate and a book voucher of £100.

David W. Smith Memorial Prize

David W. Smith Memorial Prize, supported by Routledge Publishers

David W. Smith
David W. Smith

David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999.

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) runs an annual essay competition in memory of David W. Smith. Our prize is £100 cheque from Routledge Publishers.

A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the following title:
With reference to one city in the Global South, discuss the key opportunities and challenges that cities pose for sustainable development.

  • Essays should be word processed, 1.5 spaced.
  • The word count does not include the reference list.

Essays must be received by Friday 10 March 2017. Please include your name, school and contact details with your essay. Your teacher must confirm that the essay is your own work.

If you would like to acknowledge receipt of your essay please indicate this in your submission email.

Submit an electronic copy to the email address below:

Dr Jessica Hope Jch84@cam.ac.uk

Any queries can be sent to Professor Nina Laurie (nina.laurie@st-andrews.ac.uk)

Undergraduate dissertation prize

The Developing Areas Research Group in conjunction with Earthscan offers an annual prize for the most promising dissertation concerning ‘The Geography of Developing Areas’. The author of the winning dissertation receives £100 worth of Earthscan books of their choice, and 25% discount on any further Earthscan books ordered.

The prize is open to any student taking a first degree in Geography. Students taking joint degrees are eligible to enter for the prize, provided that at least half their course is in Geography. It is suggested that no Department of Geography submits more than one dissertation for this prize. Dissertations will be evaluated by three members of the DARG Committee.

Dissertations, along with a copy of the instructions given to students, should be sent by email as a PDF to the DARG Undergraduate Prize Committee at: S.L.Parker at livjm.ac.uk

Emails should include “DARG UG dissertation sumbission” as the email subject. Please also include student details, and who to contact to announce the winner.

Deadline: 14th July 2014

Cultural Geographies of Development: Politics, Approaches and Methods for Teaching Geography Undergraduates

Date: Monday 30th June 2014, 9.45-1.00

Venue: Room 311, Geography Building, School of School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT

This half-day event is organised by Dr Pat Noxolo, University of Birmingham, and is funded by the University of Birmingham Excellence in Teaching Fund, with postgraduate travel bursaries funded by the Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society

Description: There was a time in development theory and practice when ‘culture’ was seen as a collection of inconvenient local traditions that would be swept away by modernisation.  But culture has proved remarkably adaptable, so that globalisation has only increased cultural diversity and the awareness of difference.

This half-day event is for established, new and potential lecturers in development geography.  It is an opportunity to explore, through discussion, why, what and how we can teach students about what is meant by culture, its geographies, and its changing relationships with the spaces and places of development.  How can students understand processes of cultural change in relation to a range of development practices, and the challenges of living and working with cultural difference in an increasingly interconnected but still highly unequal world?  And what are the possible implications of the increasingly diverse cultures of development practitioners, organisations and institutions, for students’ future roles and responsibilities in addressing global inequality?

The timetable for the event is as follows:

9.45 Welcome and opening thoughts (Dr Pat Noxolo, University of Birmingham)

10.00 Discussions and experiences 1 (facilitator: Pat Noxolo): Cultural geographies of development: opportunities and dangers?

10.45 Break

11.00 Discussions and experiences 2 (facilitators: Drs Clare Madge and Jen Dickinson, University of Leicester): Curricular movements: whose geographies, what culture, which developments?

11.45 Discussions and experiences 3 (facilitators: Dr Susan Mains, University of Dundee, and Clare Newstead, Nottingham Trent University): Changing teaching and learning methods: changing geographers?

12.45 Closing thoughts (facilitator: Pat Noxolo)

1.00 Close and buffet lunch

The event is intended as an informal opportunity for discussion based on teaching and learning experiences, so please come prepared to share your thoughts and practices.

Participation is free, but please email Dr Pat Noxolo by Monday 23rd June for catering purposes.  To apply for a postgraduate travel bursary to contribute to travel within the UK only, please email Dr Pat Noxolo by Monday 23rd June, giving details of your postgraduate research, and with a short statement (up to 150 words) saying why your research and teaching/future career make this a relevant event for you.

Field courses in the Global South for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science students in UK higher education

This report identifies key issues and provides advice to new and established lecturers considering field courses in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. It includes case studies from successful courses and a database that can be used to contact colleagues who ran the case studies to gain more details about the opportunities and challenges.  You can download the report from here (opens new website).

DARG would like to thank Elsbeth Robson, Katie Willis and Helen Walkington for producing this resource!

Doing Development Dissertations: Undergraduate Dissertation Workshop

Doing Development Dissertations: Undergraduate Dissertation Workshop

Friday 21st February 2014 9:30-16:30 

University of Manchester, University Place 2.220, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

Planning to write your dissertation on a topic related to development geography?  This one day workshop is aimed at second year Geography undergraduate students considering doing their final year dissertation on a topic related to Development Geography whether abroad or in the UK. We will cover a range of practical and intellectual issues, such as choosing your topic, planning your fieldwork, the ethics of doing research on development, and how to finance your research projects.  In the afternoon we will have a range of interactive and participatory sessions on research methods, such as interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and using texts and images.


There is a cost of £14 to cover lunch, refreshments and a booklet.

Limited number of free places

If you feel your financial circumstances will prevent you from attending this workshop, we have a limited number of free places available.  To be considered for a free place, please send a one paragraph statement to the workshop organiser (see below) and ask your Personal Tutor/ Academic Advisor to back this up with a reference.  Your reference and the statement need to explain how you will benefit from participating and make a case for financial support.

The deadline for receipt of statements and references is 15th January 2014.

To register, please to make the payment to secure your place on this eventbrite page.  Please also fill in this workshop application form (opens word document) and send it to the workshop organiser, Tanja Bastia, IDPM, University of Manchester, Tanja.Bastia@Manchester.ac.uk.