OpenSpace Seminar: Geography in space and time


Central Meeting Rooms CMR01, The Open University, Milton Keynes Campus

1:30-2pm: Refreshments

2-4pm: Discussion

The seminar will broadly highlight the importance of spatio-temporal approaches in geography in diverse contexts

Jacob Obodai


Jacob Obodai is undertaking his geography PhD research at the Open University and his talk will focus on the impact of artisanal and small-scale mining activities on food security in Ghana.

The key resources on which artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and smallholder farming (SHF) activities hinge on are land and labour which are sometimes in fierce competition. The nexus between ASM and SHF in different countries has been explored and documented in literature. Nevertheless, the impacts (positive, negative, intended or unintended) of this relationship on food security in particular have not been explored in depth. For instance, the few studies that have reported on food security have done so either superficially or looked at only one dimension of food security. Moreover, a great number of the studies that have sought to explain this relationship particularly within the Social Sciences have done so using ethnographic methods overlooking the spatio-temporal dimensions of the relationship. Recently, these dimensions have been captured by some authors in the Physical Sciences albeit exclusively using geospatial methods. This study seeks to bridge this gap in knowledge and contribute to the methodological rigour of future studies by employing both ethnographic and geospatial methods in holistically understanding the nexus between ASM and SHF and the impacts of such relationships on all the four dimensions (availability, access, utilisation, and stability) of food security. The study is guided by a novel blend of the political ecology and the capability approaches, in understanding the relationships from both the individual and multiple scale (local, national and global) perspectives.


Ben Newman


Dr Ben Newman recently joined the Open University as lecturer in geography and will be talking about his research. His interests have focused upon historical geographies of the nineteenth century and primarily the mobilisation of people, objects and knowledge throughout that period, seeking insight into the circulation and reception of ideas within geography and the nature of the discipline’s dialogues throughout time and space.

The title of Ben’s inaugural OpenSpace talk will be Making and mediating knowledge at the Royal Geographical Society.

Taking the development of British geography in the nineteenth century as its focus, Ben will illustrate the role of the humble periodical in shaping the discipline in this period. Reflecting on the emergence of scholarly practices, we will recognise the impact of institutional procedures on the nature, scope, and content of knowledge produced under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society (f. 1830). Whilst monographs and atlases have been well used by historians in their efforts to reveal the intricate and often hidden processes of knowledge production, in geography, at least, the periodical’s role in forging disciplinary identity, scholarly practice, and institutional prestige has been underacknowledged. Using the recently digitalised archival holdings of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), unpublished correspondence, manuscripts, and minute books will guide us through the intricate, contested, and at times amusing paths to publishing knowledge in the nineteenth century.