Burn the thermals and pack your bags

January 3, 2003

It is set to be a happy new year for the country's geographers, who will no longer have to put on double layers of thermals or endure unpredictable transport and freezing lecture theatres to attend their annual conference.

For more than two decades, the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers has held its conference in January on campuses across the country from Exeter to Belfast.

But this year the conference will be held in September at the society's London premises, which are undergoing a £7 million Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment to make its work more accessible. "We've noticed difficulties of transport round Britain in early January," said Lorraine Craig, head of the RGS-IBG research division. "People were taking three-quarters of a day to get there."

Geographers also complained that institutions only just put on the heating in time for the conference. The exception was Strathclyde University - when a particularly hostile Scottish winter froze the pipes and the heating could not be put on at all.

Alan Werritty, chair of the conference and RGS-IBG vice-president, said that the conference, "Geography, Serving Society and the Environment", to be held on September 3-5, would include more plenary sessions "intended to bring people together to address some of the most interesting and exciting issues geographers are engaging with".

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