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Worldwide celebrations of geography on GeoNight 2022

A worldwide event aiming to highlight geography and geographers, gives the public a chance to familiarize itself with geographic concepts and studies, and to make geographical research more accessible.

ISC Member the International Geographical Union (IGU), alongside the Association of Geographical Societies in Europe (EUGEO), are promoting the international “Night of Geography” which will be held on 1 April 2022. Launched in 2017 by the French National Geographical Committee (CNFG), with EUGEO support, the GeoNight is a night dedicated to the promotion of geography as a discipline. From 2018 onwards, the initiative has expanded internationally, first in Europe, thanks to EUGEO, and then beyond, thanks to the IGU. Over the years, more and more countries, towns and cities, and geography departments around the world have participated in the organized events, gathering several thousand people together. This year’s edition will be the sixth to date.

“GeoNight has spread throughout the world at an impressive pace. Having started in France, the original “Nuit de la Géographie” has rapidly crossed borders and has since been a great success, particularly in countries such as Italy, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain. We thought that the COVID-19 crisis would impact the GeoNight’s dynamic, but we can now say that this has not been the case and that event organisers have still shown the same determination to promote our wonderful discipline.”

– Alexis Alamel, CNFG international event coordinator and member of the organising committee of the GeoNight

The proposed events should, whenever possible, be free and open to the public. Indeed, the events should take place in the evening and/or during the night, to welcome the general public, not only academics. Organizers are invited to put forward unexpected and possibly playful aspects of geographical sciences. Organizers can, for instance, present their work and/or fieldworks, students’ activities tied to geography, jobs linked to geographical education, GIS software, new technologies used in research or teaching, original geographical projects, etc.

“Our project is still growing and we’re hoping to reach many more countries, particularly in Africa and South America. But we’re proud of the success that GeoNight events have had year after year in many other countries. The public also seems to appreciate the diversity of these organised events. I mean, what other scientific discipline other than Geography can offer urban walks, escape games, wine and cheese tasting, lectures, photo exhibitions, movie screenings, comedy clubs, collaborative mapping, and so on? Long live the GeoNight!”

– Alexis Alamel, CNFG international event coordinator and member of the organising committee of the GeoNight

Events can also be held outside. For instance, small fieldtrips and urban walks can be organized for a variety of purposes: perception analysis, benchmarking, drawing and mapping, interviews, photography… At night, geography changes! In some cases, sanitary restrictions could make the organization of “face-to-face” events difficult or impossible. However, this does not mean that GeoNight events cannot be organized. Various online activities can be considered, such as lectures, virtual urban walks (using Google Street View, for instance), quizzes (using a video-conference platform), among others.

The GeoNight Organizing Committee is composed of Alexis Alamel (CNFG – International events coordinator), Zoltan Kovaks (EUGEO President), Antoine le Blanc (EUGEO EC member), Nathalie Lemarchand (IGU Vice-President) and Massimiliano Tabusi (EUGEO Secretary General and AGEI National Secretary) with the support of geographers Sara Carallo, Arturo Gallia, Daniele Mezzapelle, Sara Nocco, and Andrea Simone.

Featured image by Ruthie on Unsplash.

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