Exploring Fieldwork Futures: Staff experiences of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Fieldtrip provision before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


As society seeks to navigate a pathway forwards from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is, in many instances, an assumption that going back to the way things were before is the ideal scenario. Against this background, this paper forms part of a wider project that evaluates pandemic fieldtrip experiences of both staff and students in order to consider the future of fieldtrip provision in undergraduate Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences programmes. Whilst fieldwork is “fundamental to a geographical education” (RGS-IBG 2020) it is vital to ensure that fieldwork is conducted in a way that provides the best learning experience for all students whilst not compromising staff well-being and mental health. Focusing on the initial findings from an online survey conducted with UK-based staff on their experiences of designing and delivering undergraduate fieldtrips prior to, and during the pandemic, this paper will discuss the positive and negative experiences of a range of fieldwork provision. In doing so, we hope to provide an insight into whether a ‘return to normal’ is the best approach to fieldwork or whether pandemic-enforced adaptations should remain as part of fieldwork in the future to help ensure provision is more inclusive and environmentally and socially sustainable.

RGS-IBG, 2020. Principles for Undergraduate Field Courses. Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2020) Council of Heads of Geography in UK Higher Education Institutions. Available on-line at: https://www.rgs.org/research/higher-education-resources/fieldprinciples/ (last accessed 27th October 2021)
Period3 Feb 2022
Event titleRe(defining) Fieldwork
Event typeConference
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map


  • Fieldwork
  • Geography
  • Inclusion
  • COVID-19