Friday, 28 August 2015

CONFERENCE: Thinking about the future while reflecting on the past - IAG Conference 2015

Last month I attended the 2015 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference in Canberra.  This will be one of my last conferences before completing my PhD, and it felt like a valuable opportunity to reflect on my experiences.

Human geography is a complex, multi-faceted discipline that I must admit I'm still grappling with - particularly my place within it.  But even more-so, I'm starting to think about my place in the post-PhD landscape.  This year's conference had an excellent PhD day that provided the opportunity to think about how researchers can engage with, and plan for, a post-PhD life.  It's not all good news, and I've written about it in a bit more detail in a blog post.

Thankfully, my presentation was generally well received.  I presented some preliminary findings on my research looking at social influences on domestic solar energy adoption in regional communities.  While the findings will presented in full whenever I get around to writing them up, just briefly I can say that social interactions, and not just solely economic benefits, have a strong influence on the decision to adopt domestic solar energy.  Community members learnt about solar from their friends and family, and in Carnarvon the role of a charismatic individual to create an informal community organisation around solar led to rapid adoption of solar with broad financial benefits for participating households.  It's just a pity that the regional grid couldn't accept any more solar, otherwise it would be the solar capital of Australia, if not the world!