Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Talk by Tim Butcher in Stirling

Author and explorer Tim Butcher will be speaking at Stirling University’s Logie Lecture Theatre on Thursday 22nd May.  He will talk about the story behind his new book The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War, the story of history’s most influential assassin: the man who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparked the First World War.

Nearly 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, former Balkan war correspondent Tim Butcher retraces the journey of Gavrilo Princip – the teenage assassin who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting the war in motion – and illuminates our understanding of one of the most misrepresented figures in modern history and how his Bosnian homeland continues to impact global history.

Tim trekked across Bosnia and part of Serbia on the trail of Gavrilo Princip, making a number of discoveries missed by a century of historians.

This talk has been organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

In a summer morning in Sarajevo a hundred years ago, a teenage assassin named Gavrilo Princip fired not just the opening shots of the First World War but the starting gun for modern history, when he killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Yet the events Princip triggered were so monumental that his own story has been largely overlooked.

Born a penniless backwoodsman, Princip's life changed when he trekked through Bosnia and Serbia to attend school. As he ventured across fault lines of faith, nationalism and empire, so tightly clustered in the Balkans, radicalisation slowly transformed him from a frail farm boy into an assassin.

By retracing Princip's journey from his highland birthplace, through the mythical valleys of Bosnia to the fortress city of Belgrade and ultimately Sarajevo, Tim Butcher illuminates our understanding both of Princip and the places that shaped him.

The talk takes place at 7:30pm on Thursday 22nd May at Logie Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA. Tickets are £8 for adults, £5 for RSGS Members and £3 Students and will be available on the door.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Geology in Verse - book of poetry by RSGS Member

An RSGS member, Norma Allan, has produced a book of humorous poems on geology called Geology in Verse.  Here Norma explains the book and its genesis.

“My book consists of 25 poems covering a wide range of topics ranging from schistosity and solifluction to granite, volcanoes and earthquakes.  Each poem is accompanied by text and photos provided by Angus Miller, an Open Studies geology tutor at Edinburgh University. There are also short pieces on famous figures of geology and a few witty geo quips from various sources."

Norma Allan: Geology in Verse

“For those unfamiliar with geology, my book is a great introduction to some of the basics and an enormously enjoyable way to learn a bit about the subject.  Through the word-play and humour are woven accurate facts on each topic, and the accompanying texts are user-friendly without much complex detail."

“I first started writing poems on geology when I was studying it as part of a training as a Blue Badge Scottish Tourist Guide.  I was captivated by the language, as I hope you will be.”

Cost:  £10.00 per copy + pp £2.00   Please contact Norma  if you would like a copy sent to you: norma@snowgoose.eu               

Royal Scottish Geographical Society Logo

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Job Opportunity at RSGS: Temporary Office Assistant

We're looking for a Temporary Office Assistant to join our small team at our Perth HQ for three months, full time. See the details of Main Duties, Specific Tasks and Person Specification below.

Please send your CV and Cover Letter detailing your suitability for the role to Mike Robinson at mike.robinson@rsgs.org

Main Duties
·        Responding to telephone, postal and e-mail enquiries
·        Welcoming visitors and answering door enquiries
·        Co-ordinating volunteer rota
·        Managing meeting room bookings
·        Diary management for office and CEO
·        Helping set up for meetings, events & room hire
·        General administrative duties including filing, typing, correspondence and record keeping
·        Maintaining membership database and producing membership cards
·        Issuing papers and minute taking for Board Meetings and other committees

Specific Tasks & Responsibilities
·        First point of contact for membership, groups and general enquiries
·        Administration and co-ordination of Membership records, & correspondence
·        Maintaining central computer and physical filing system

Person Specification

Good verbal & written communication skills
Computer literacy (Microsoft Office)
Experience of database software (Access)
Flexible attitude to work
Good customer focus
Administrative experience
Experience of working in a small team or for a charity
Good at dealing with public, polite manner







Temporary Full Time position for 3 Months. Salary £12,000 - £16,000. Normal working days Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, though some flexibility may be required for specific events.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Historiographer Royal awarded prestigious Geddes Environment Medal by RSGS

Profs Roger Crofts, T.C Smout and Iain Stewart
Professor Christopher Smout, Historiographer Royal in Scotland, has been awarded the Geddes Environmental Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The Geddes Environment Medal is named after Sir Patrick Geddes, an innovative town planner and early RSGS Council Member. Professor Smout has used Geddesian principles throughout his career. He has used maps, topographic views and photographs - tools promoted by Geddes, a visual thinker - to illustrate Scotland’s changing landscapes.

The medal was awarded to Professor Smout at a special ceremony in Perth Concert Hall on 24 March 2014. Professor Smout is pictured here (centre) with RSGS chairman Professor Roger Crofts (left) and RSGS president Professor Iain Stewart (left).

Professor Iain Stewart handed over the award In recognition of Professor Smout's contribution to environmental history and the great value of the inter-disciplinary nature of Professor Smout’s work.

His inter-disciplinary research and writings have been concerned with issues of conservation and sustainability. His recent publication 'The Firth of Forth' contextualises such matters using case studies of herring fishing, oyster beds, pollution, seals, seabirds and the Bass Rock from Mesolithic times - a historical study of ‘place, folk and work’ reminiscent of a Geddesian ‘Valley Section’.

Previous recipients of the Award include photographer and filmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the crew of the Plastiki and the couple behind the Fife Diet, Mike and Karen Small.

Dr Catherine Delano-Smith Awarded with the Bartholomew Globe

We were delighted to award Dr Catherine Delano-Smith with our Bartholomew Globe award on Monday 24th March.

Dr Delano-Smith with RSGS President Professor Iain Stewart and the Bartholomew Globe

Dr Delano-Smith is a leading geographer and historian of cartography and has done a great deal over the course of more than thirty years to deepen and widen research in the history of cartography, within the UK and across the world, becoming a lynchpin of the cartography community.

She has been one of the foremost activists behind the resurgence of the critical history of cartography, not only in her own works which have been many and influential, but also in her organisation of meetings through The International Society for the History of the Map, in her support of a bespoke and well-respected lecture series and, vitally, in her role as the editor of Imago Mundi, the world’s leading journal for the history of cartography.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Royal Scottish Geographical Society Logo


You may have spotted that we have started using a new Royal Scottish Geographical Society logo.

It was noted at a Board meeting last year that the RSGS crest we have always used is difficult to read or identify, especially when used in a smaller format. Since profile is critical for a small charity like ours, and a clear, distinct and recognisable logo is helpful in achieving this, we were tasked with coming up with a solution. Oh, and we couldn’t spend any money on it.

I am delighted to say that, after some brainstorming and discussion, and some experimentation with different designs, we have arrived at a finished logo, based on our Finance Officer Pam’s idea to reflect this quarterly magazine, in terms of its colours and the fact that geography has many layers and aspects to it. With four component parts, the logo has references to the collection and historical geography (old map and compass), environment and nature (leaves), human geography (people), and physical geography (pebbles). The logo also has a sense of depth and perspective, again subtle reminders of the value of geographical thinking.

We hope you like it; Board have certainly been fulsome in their support for the new design (possibly because it only cost £48 plus two packets of biscuits), and first reactions from further afield have been very favourable. It does not mean losing the crest, as this will continue to appear on more formal documents, medals and other materials, but we now have a lively modern logo which is clearer and more distinct, which will allow us to become more identifiable, and which can be used more flexibly on the new website and other media.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ed Stafford Receives Mungo Park Award

The RSGS was delighted to award Ed Stafford with our Mungo Park Medal after his talk at Perth Concert Hall on Monday 24th March

RSGS President Prof. Iain Stewart and Mungo Park Medal Winner Ed Stafford FRSGS

Ed completed one of the world’s last great adventures when he walked the entire length of the South American river, probably the world’s longest river.

Ed Stafford’s journey down the Amazon River was an inspiring example of the sort of feats an individual can achieve when they really put their mind to it. 

Ed used his journey to inspire others by filming and blogging his two and a half year adventure, gaining followers worldwide, and forming the basis for a documentary series and book. He wanted to create an adventure that would excite people about the Amazon and to discover both its wonders and its problems. He had first gained expedition experience with Trekforce Expeditions and carried forward their slogan “adventure with a purpose” as his guiding principle.

However, Ed would insist that Walking the Amazon was a world-first expedition first and foremost, but that he hoped that an ecological message would spread in tandem. He was personally concerned with the issues surrounding deforestation in the Amazon, and hoped that by enthusing people about the Amazon they might start to share his concerns. The big aim of his adventure was to get people so involved with the Amazon that they would start to care about its future.

With this in mind, and in recognition of Ed’s outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge through exploration in potentially hazardous physical environment, RSGS President Professor Iain Stewart presented Ed Stafford with the RSGS's Mungo Park Medal and honorary fellowship of the Society.

The Mungo Park Medal has been awarded since 1930 in recognition of outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge through exploration in potentially hazardous physical and social environments. Previous recipients include Thor Heyerdahl, Freya Stark, Kate Adie and John Simpson.