OpenSpace – Tuesday 9 December 2-4pm

We would like to invite you to the next OpenSpace meeting of the semester on Tuesday 9th December at 2-4pm in room G.017 in Arthur Lewis Building (number 36 on the University of Manchester campus map).

For this session, we are very pleased to have:

1) Daniel Slade from Geography&Planning, University of Liverpool, speaks on “Interrogating the reform of planning practice, and the practice of planning reform, in central government“.
“To date, there has been strangely little work examining the significance of contemporary planning practice in English central government. This is despite the discipline’s growing awareness of the need to study processes of urban governance from the perspective of everyday practice, the English system’s highly centralised structure, and recent key planning reforms aiming to reconfigure this level. In response, this study aims to go inside ‘the black box’ of planning practice in central government and: “…explore the key characteristics of planning and ‘planning practice’ in English central government, and examine the forces shaping and shaped by these, in the context of recent waves of reforms and the longer term process of restructuring these reforms relate to.”  To this end the study deploys a mixture of genealogical/narrative, case study and interview-based methods, within an overarching ‘phronetic’ methodology. The Coalition Government’s Planning Practice Guidance Review 2012-2014 comprises the case study.”

2) Creighton Connolly from Geography speaks on “Malaysia’s Swift(let) housing boom: A landscape political ecology of urban ‘swiftlet farming’ in Malaysian cities“.
“Along with increasing levels of urbanization and the deepening of globalization processes often comes intense social conflicts sparked by the clash between ‘traditional’ natural resource based production and new forms of economic and agricultural production, where competing ideas of ‘appropriate’ landscape aesthetics and the use of urban space clash. This presentation examines one case of such conflict in Malaysian cities and towns, which are now being transformed by the relatively new practice of urban birds’ nest farming in order to meet surging global demand for this lucrative commodity. Traditionally, these nests were harvested in the caves of Malaysian Borneo and other similar environments across Southeast Asia, but a variety of factors lead to the widespread shift towards urban ‘swiftlet farming’ throughout Peninsular Malaysia. I will draw on material from recent multi-sited, ethnographic research, in tracing the material and discursive effects stemming from this industry, and their impacts on the urban landscape in the Malaysian context. In doing so, I utilize a ‘landscape political ecology’ approach, which considers how both ‘glocal’ political-economic as well as socio-ecological changes have colluded in shaping the physical and discursive landscape in my case study areas.”

We look forward to seeing as many as of you there for what looks to be a fascinating discussion.

OpenSpace is an interdisciplinary forum for PhD researchers in SEED and beyond to discuss ideas and present their research in a critical but friendly and relaxed environment. The typical format is two presentations of approximately 20 minutes without powerpoint followed by questions and open discussion of ideas. We also provide a little food and drink to help us get into the spirit! You can find a little more info here on our website:

We are still looking for presenters for some of the meetings, so if you are thinking about presenting or would like to know more about it then please do contact us with any questions. Invitations to present are open to anyone in the mid to final stages of their PhD and we encourage presentations from across a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Looking forward to seeing you on the 9th!


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