Summer Institute in Economic Geography



“The 2014 Summer Institute in Economic Geography was one of the most important academic events I have had the fortune of attending. While every facet of the meeting was superlative, the opportunity to spend time with economic geographers from different parts of the world, working on diverse topics, was invaluable both intellectually and socially. These connections will bear fruit throughout my career and have already led to collaborative projects that would not have happened otherwise.”
Patrick Bigger, PhD, Marie Curie Research Fellow in Political Ecology, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester

“An extraordinary example of how an academic meeting with mutual learning should look like. The Summer Institute is the number 1 meeting for young scholars in economic geography. The most inclusive atmosphere and the most innovative programme I have ever seen in a scientific workshop. The Summer Institute was a very important stepping stone in finding my intellectual home in economic geography.”
Márton Czirfusz, PhD, research fellow, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography is a fantastic venue to engage with emerging debates and practices in the discipline and to network with both early career and established scholars. As a participant at the Institute (2014) I gained practical knowledge about teaching and professionalization that has greatly aided my development as a new faculty member. I also made academic connections that have led to collaborative research projects with colleagues from around the world.”
Theresa Enright, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

“The Summer Institute has become a right of passage in economic geography. It’s the can’t-miss, traveling genius loci where young scholars in the field can forge connections across continents that produce conference panels, special issues and other collaborations for years to come. It’s been less than a year since I attended and it’s already responsible for one conference panel, and a special issue is in the works.”
Mark Kear, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona

“Being part of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography in Zurich gave me a sense of belonging to a community of economic geographers, a better understanding of how my work fits into the discipline and confidence in knowing how to contribute to the field with my work. I have kept in touch with many of the people I met and have co-organised several sessions at international conferences since with several people, and we still do support each other. The opportunity to spend a whole week with an international group of people was priceless in establishing a mutual appreciation of our work and the building blocks of life long relationships. Please keep organising it!”
Ralitsa Hiteva, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit and Sussex Energy Group, University of Sussex, UK

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography is the ultimate alt-conference: it brings together a small, dynamic mix of early career scholars with geography’s leading voices in a way that allows for deep theoretical dives, methodological debates, topical discussions, and informal socializing. It was an experience like none other I've had in higher education, encouraging participants to feel at home amongst our peers and build relationships that will persist throughout our careers.”
Beth Gutelius, doctoral researcher, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Urban Planning & Policy

“The 2012 Summer Institute in Economic Geography is the highlight of my experience with conferences and forums. Whilst fortunate to practice geography in New Zealand it comes with isolation from other economic geographers and geography conferences, and this tends to be reproduced at large events such as the AAG and RGS-IBG. As a platform, the Summer Institute, constituted by a group of prominent and emergent economic geographers, provided five days to specifically come to know each other and our diverse work, and discuss perspectives of economy geography around a set of disciplinary debates. Rather than just giving a paper and/or attending a conference session, I came away from the Summer Institute with an enriched perspective of economic geography (and economic geographers), a new set of relationships and opportunities for future research collaboration, and importantly, a commitment to being an economic geographer and contributing to our discipline.”
Stephen FitzHerbert, doctoral researcher, University of Auckland; Senior Tutor, Department of Geography, Massey University

“I attended the SIEG 2014 in Frankfurt-am-Main. I really enjoyed the stimulating conversation and the friendly environment. I am thankful to organizers for their capacity to create a friendly environment facilitating creative scientific discussions. I strongly recommend the SIEG to all my colleagues.”
Nicola Francesco Dotti, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, Cosmopolis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

“I attended the 2012 Summer Institute in Zurich, and it continues to rank among the most important professionalization experiences I have ever had. Not only did I form enduring intellectual connections and personal friendships—often with economic geographers in other subfields whose work I would not have encountered otherwise—but I gained a far better sense of how my work might help advance the discipline as a whole. As an intensive, multi-day experience with a select group of scholars, the workshop spurred a depth of engagement and discussion not possible at most conferences—I have often referred to its design for ideas on how to facilitate more substantial, genuinely transformative academic exchanges.”
Sarah Knuth, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, University of Michigan

“SEIG spurs new conversations and collaborations between scholars working across a wide range of topics in economic geography. As an early-career faculty it allowed me to better situate my work in the field and inspired future research directions.”
Stephen Young, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“My experience at SIEG in Zurich was invaluable particularly as it came at a perfect time for me—I was ABD and starting to think about going on the job market. SIEG provided a space for me to connect with other economic geographers, engage in excellent conversations around the part of the subfield I know the best, and quickly expand my understanding of the other parts of economic geography I was less familiar with. It gave me a real sense of the breadth and liveliness of the subfield. I'm still in touch with people from that trip and always look forward to seeing them at AAG and other conferences.”
Abigail Cooke, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography has been a very rich experience for me. Its mixture of different perspectives on the field, involving productive debate and engagement between them, creates new and exciting inputs for theory, methods and practice which are especially important for those of us in the beginning of our academic trajectories. The spaces for informal interactions during the event also open up productive dialogues and help strengthen contacts between participants. In my specific case, working outside the Anglophone and northern academic circuits, it has been not only an opportunity to interact directly with researchers inserted in those contexts, but also with other global south academics, with whom we tend to have difficulties in engaging directly (due to still weak south to south connections).”
Felipe Magalhães, doctoral researcher, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

“The seventh Summer Institute in Economic Geography was one the most useful but also enjoyable academic experiences of my life. It was a great opportunity for an in-depth understanding of all the contemporary discussions inside the discipline, something extremely important for me especially in a period of economic difficulties in Greece.”
Thanos Andritsos, doctoral researcher, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

“As a Ph.D. candidate at a school with a small Ph.D. program, the Summer Institute In Economic Geography was a perfect way to develop a group of peers in the field. Everyone was capable and interesting, and someone you could talk with for hours. The sessions were engaging and the faculty terrific—and very supportive.”
Peter Wissoker, doctoral researcher, Department of City & Regional Planning Cornell University

“It is when you step outside of your cultural comfort zone that you are given the opportunity to learn the most about yourself. The Summer Institute was one of these opportunities for me. Bringing together participants and mentors from a range of theoretical cultures and backgrounds in a respectful environment, it offered a richness of alternative perspectives and ideologies. It encouraged me to interrogate my belief system, which in turn helped me to question and reframe my own research. As well, an even greater outcome was the chance to connect with a global network of colleagues and friends with whom I will continue to engage with into the future.”
Kirsten Martinus, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia

“As an early-career researcher I could not imagine a better event that would help me to learn so much about my chosen discipline and put me in touch with so many other scholars interested in economic geography. The opportunities to interact with other academics (both other young researchers and well-established scholars), to exchange research ideas and to initiate future collaborations which the SIEG event in Frankfurt offered to me are exceptional in every respect and cannot be matched by any other event which I have taken part in, or which I am aware of. The idea behind SIEG, the commitment with which it is organised and the benefits which it offers to its participants are truly invaluable. I would wholeheartedly recommend SIEG to every young economic geographer whose ambition is to become a high-quality researcher and academic. There’s surely no better place to start!”
Piotr Niewiadomski, PhD, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Aberdeen

“I had the opportunity to attend the Economic Geography Summer Institute in Zurich in 2012. The opportunity was perfectly timed for me as I was about to embark on my dissertation fieldwork in the Fall of that year. First of all, without the financial aid the Institute provided, it would not have been possible for me to attend and I am grateful to the organisers for making that happen for me. The Institute was very well organised and reflected the hard work that went into it by the organisers as well as the hosts. The faculty represented a whole range of perspectives within the field of economic geography. Their talks at the Institute not only provided a great history of the diverse set of past and ongoing research in the field but also provided an insight into the new and cutting edge theoretical explorations being engaged in. Personal one-on-one discussions with the faculty also allowed me to better focus and contextualize the research questions I was about to examine in my own work. Aside from theoretical engagements in economic geography, the discussions also focused on other interesting issues such as practical applications in policy, negotiating the precarious job market, and academic writing and publishing.”
Aman Luthra, doctoral researcher, Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

“The Summer Institute for Economic Geography merged intense yet protracted discussion on pedagogy, theory, and method with social events and field trips that made friends and colleagues of senior and junior scholars. As a political economist, for me its significance extended beyond building connections with economic geographers and immersion in the discipline of Geography, it linked fellow travelers and academic debates from across the social sciences. Attending the Summer Institute in Frankfurt (2014) as a postdoc was a highly rare and fully rewarding experience!”
Heather Whiteside, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography is an extraordinary event. It is somewhere in-between a state-of-the-art convention for economic geography (where it stands today and where it needs to evolve) and a rite of passage for early career scholars (once one gains a sense of “location” in something as fluid and difficult to grasp as an epistemic community). Valuable, indispensable, and highly recommended.”
Michiel van Meeteren, doctoral student, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Ghent University, Belgium

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography is a truly unique meeting that considers economic-geographical research as, first and foremost, a social process. It integrates vigorous intellectual exchange between early career economic geographers with the development of social connections that can only be attained through living and interacting within a broader community. Personally, the identity of being part of this community is the most valuable takeaway from the 2012 meeting in Zurich, and this has led to close dialogue with two fellow participants on potential collaborations today.”
Kean Fan Lim, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Geography, University of Nottingham

“As an alumnus of the first Summer Institute (2003), and a recent featured speaker (2014), I can say that it is one of the most significant and valuable professional events held regularly in the field of economic geography. Not only does the Institute provide participants with an opportunity to engage in intensive, stimulating, collegial, and highly substantive discussions about the field and emerging research agendas, it also serves a valuable role by helping current and recently graduated PhD students to understand the academic enterprise and the challenges of, among other things, navigating the publishing and professional worlds we work in. Several of the friendships and professional ties that began at the Institute I attended in 2003 have played a central role in my career development and I have seen many alumni emerge as leaders among the current and next generation of economic geographers. This is a vital initiative, one that strengthens and sustains the field by imbuing in its participants a sense of purpose, identity, and commitment to research and teaching that can deploy economic geography concepts and theories in ways that help us better understand the causes and potential solutions to pressing socioeconomic, political, and environmental issues worldwide.”
James T. Murphy, PhD, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

“The Summer Institute provided me with invaluable tacit knowledge. As a graduate student finishing my PhD, the program helped me not only to conceptualize the field of economic geography, but also to imagine my own place within it. Early conversations with peers that I met in Madison during that week in 2006 continue on to this day.”
Marion Werner, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, SUNY-Buffalo

“The Summer institute in Economic Geography provided me with a new analytical view towards the field. The expert faculty demonstrated how wide the theoretical base of economic geography is. The diverse student body was a true representation of economic geography. I recommend this experience to every young scholar interested in economic geography.”
Shiri M. Breznitz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

“It was an honor to participate in the Summer Institute in Economic Geography in Zurich! I have never thought that I could communicate face-to-face with those big names printed inside the top journals of economic geography. Over the years, the summer institute has built a bridge between western and non-western economic geographers, allowing me and other young participants have the precious chance to introduce our work. Most of all, I have built solid friendships with some young scholars with shared research interests, with continuing benefits for me. With best wishes for the future of our Summer Institute in Economic Geography!”
Juncheng Dai, PhD, Lecturer, Cultural Economics Research Institute, Central University of Finance and Economics, China

"Thanks to the summer institute got to know a bunch of fantastic young economic geographers from around the world, several of whom I'm still in touch with today. Since the summer institute I feel part of the economic geography research community—much more than before. It greatly broadened and deepened my understanding of economic geography. I wouldn't want to have missed it."
Karin Schwiter, PhD, research group leader, Department or Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland

"A fantastic six-day intensive all around economic geography, from discussing main lines of recent research, different methodologies, publishing strategies and career building, to connecting to peers and leading faculty from all around the world. The summer institute can be highly recommended to PhD candidates and postdocs.”
Melanie Fasche, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“The Summer Institute for Economic Geography (SIEG) is a one-of-a-kind event, bringing together researchers across a variety of themes around one of geography’s most dynamic subdisciplines. The SIEG had many strengths, but a few come to mind. SIEG was inclusive, meaning that participation was equally split between quantitative and qualitative researchers, as well as between men and women. SIEG included perspectives from around the globe (literally), and even the “expert panel” of senior scholars comprised a diversity of intellectual traditions and methodological approaches. Another strength was that delegates were evenly divided between PhD students, post-docs, and junior faculty, which made conversations about publishing, grantsmanship, and careers quite useful. The personal interactions were the most worthwhile aspect for me, and my work on gentrification was recently published in Urban Studies with a co-author that I met at the Summer Institute in Zurich.”
Thomas Sigler, PhD, Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Management, University of Queensland

“The Summer Institute in Economic Geography, which I attended in Frankfurt in 2014, was a particularly meaningful and memorable academic and personal experience. It was truly a unique event that enabled both the intensive exchange of academic ideas and perspectives as well as the building of lasting community bonds. Going well beyond the script of a strictly academic conference, the Summer Institute’s sessions, meetings and social gatherings cut to the multifaceted heart of what it means to be an economic geographer. It has been inspiring to see that so many people remain in contact, and that the generative process that began at the SIEG has flourished into social as well as collaborative networks. For my part, I would like to remain involved with this project and contribute in any possible way to ensure its continuation, since I consider it an institution that plays a key role in building the present and future of Economic Geography.”
Luis Felipe Alvarez León, doctoral researcher, Department of Geography, UCLA

“I participated in SIEG as assistant to the organizing committee as well as panelist in one session. Besides the organizational tasks, I had the chance to build lasting friendships but also a professional network, which stretches far beyond the SIEG meeting. It proves valuable when it comes to future job plans and open career positions, not only because the participants come from everywhere but also because there is a good mixture between PhD researchers, postdocs and Assistant professors that enables an inspiring exchange of ideas and experiences. It was a great opportunity indeed at all levels: academic, professional and personal.”
Dorothee Niebuhr, doctoral researcher, Department of Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt

“Attending SIEG 2012 was a unique opportunity for me. In addition to the thoughtful discussions with all the important scholars that organized the event, it has offered me a more integrated global perspective of critical economic geography.”
Stelios Gialis, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Aegean, Greece

“I already knew that Economic Geography is a heterodox and highly diverse field before attending the Summer Institute. But these six days of intense input and exchange helped me a lot to make some sense of this diversity, to feel better equipped for navigating it, and to see my own position within it more clearly. For me, this was a unique opportunity for engaging with scholars and students from a variety of backgrounds beyond the often rather hectic conference gatherings, and to learn and benefit from their rich and diverse experiences.”
Alexander Vorbrugg, doctoral researcher, Department of Human Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

last revised August 3, 2015