At this year’s Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Conference in Manchester (26-28 Aug 2009), Fair Tracing’s Dr Dorothea Kleine teamed up with Dr Ian Cook (Exeter University) and Dr Mark Graham (Oxford Internet Institute) to host three sessions on “Follow the thing: New Cultural and Economic Geographies“. The idea of the session was to bring together value chain research conducted from cultural geography and economic geography perspectives (see also the full programme).
Our sessions had 13 papers (one of which was on the Fair Tracing project) running from 09:00 to 16:50. Thanks to the great interest in the topic, sponsorship from two research groups, the quality of the papers (and the lucky coincidence that our session info was printed in the front section of the programme at a busy, multi-strand conference with several sessions in parallel) we had audiences of over 30 people throughout the day, consisting of mainly cultural, but also some economic geographers.
The quality of questions were outstanding. One question on the Fair Tracing project was whether we had spoken to workers directly, or whether we had, just like much of the Fair Trade research, merged the categories or producers and workers. I was glad to be able to explain that our focus groups in Chile had been conducted with vineyard owners, bodega employees and workers separately. I also remarked how at the time one of us (ie Dr Ann Light) succeeded in involving the foreman in conversation and distracting him sufficiently while Macarena Vivent and I had unsupervised focus group time with workers…
Ah, we were a great team!