The following approach has been developed and refined through previous meetings of the Summer Institute:
- A “catholic” view of economic geography is adopted, building upon its strength as a variegated field which spans everything from regional science to feminism and Marxism. The Summer Institute does not have an “editorial” position, but seeks instead to open up dialogues across the field (and indeed into cognate disciplines like Sociology, Economics, Urban Planning, Anthropology, Development Studies, and Political Science—all of which have been represented at previous meetings). The Summer Institute does not attempt to impose a particular intellectual project or favored methodology, but seeks instead to work within and strengthen subdisciplinary traditions of vigorous pluralism.
- A singular and sustained focus is placed on the needs and interests of the “rising generation” of early-career economic geographers, those who will make the field their own in the coming years, the intention being to facilitate mutual understanding across this variegated field; to enable emerging scholars to build networks, nationally and internationally; and to augment research capacity.
- There is an emphasis on the continued internationalization of economic geography, both as a community of practitioners and as a field of research practice.
- In contrast to the hurried and pressurized format of conventional, large-scale conferences, the Summer Institute seeks to establish relationships and extended conversations, reflected in (a) its format as a 6-day meeting, involving time for “off-program” conversations (e.g. during evening or social events, and during field trips) and (b) the practice of combining conventional research presentations with a range of alternative session formats (such as roundtable discussions, “practicals” on proposal writing and the deconstruction of syllabi, Q&A sessions with journal editors, etc.). In other words, the Summer Institute is not “just another conference.”