International Citizens Service: Liberia, Oct 2017-December 2017.
I’ll be heading out to Liberia in October to take part in an ICS placement with Y Care International. I’m looking forward to learning more about a country that gets negative reporting in the Western media, and I have no doubt that nearly all of my preconceptions will be blown away. I’ll be contributing whole-heartedly to Y Care International’s established projects in either Monrovia or Kakata, and I can’t wait to get some experience of international development firsthand. On the side, I’ll be assessing how valuable improved geospatial data quality and access could be to the people of Liberia, with an eye to future projects. I’m particularly interested in the positive role drones could play in mapping dynamic populations in informal accommodation. I’ll also be taking a camera, of course, and I hope to get some good shots of Liberia that offer a different angle to existing work. As part of my action at home, I hope to shoot a few vlog segments, whilst I may also be in a good position to write about the upcoming elections in due course. It’s a really exciting and equally daunting opportunity, but it’s an opportunity I’m not willing to miss.
FxPedition Perhentian Islands (2016)
Following the earlier ‘Perhentian Ecology’ project, this expedition was a far bigger undertaking. I led a team of 7 students from the University of Exeter and Falmouth University back to the islands in order to complete meaningful herpetological research, and produce a documentary. A lot had changed in the short period since the reconnaissance expedition, and this made the research significantly harder than anticipated. We enjoyed financial support from the Royal Geographical Society and Gilchrist Educational Trust, together with numerous supporters of our various fundraising drives.
The research was tricky, and conditions in the field trickier. Expedition members struggled with the heat, the humidity and the food (especially me for the latter), but we all still put a huge effort in to produce the data that we did. We’re still waiting for the right time to write-up the final report, but it will occur in the following year. The film should be released around the same time. I poured my heart and soul into this project, putting hours and hours of hard graft into to get us there and then doing my level best to keep the expedition moving when things got tough in the field. I’m still a little disappointed that this project didn’t work as I’d hoped, but considering the issues we had in the field, I’m proud of how we did. It did, at least, give me an interesting dissertation- using a drone to map a coral reef.
Marginal Perceptions: Queer Voices in and Beyond Conventional Disciplines (2015)
A really cool conference that my partner and I organised in 2015, attracting a really good number of people and being run as a major LGBT liberation event. The conference was very successful, with academics and attendees making positive remarks over the high level of organisation. It was one hell of a lot of work, but also very rewarding, given Cornwall’s reputation as a very socially conservative area. We received funding from the FXU and the Exeter English Department, and were jointly awarded the FXU award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Voice.
Perhentian Ecology (2014)
The first reconnaissance trip to the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia in order to see if there was the potential for future research there. There was- the three of us found an abundance of great research topics, research locations and projects to be done. The Monitor Lizards were my highlight for sure! The report for this project can be found here. This was a formative experience in my early university years, and I’m so, so glad I did it.