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The 6th Global Conference on Economic Geography

7 - 10 June, 2022, Dublin, Ireland

Presentation on labour regimes in African Special Economic Zones (Photo by Cathrin Wiedemann)

Full lecture hall for the keynote speakers at the 6th Global Conference of Economic Geography 2022 (Photo by Carolina Kiesel)

For an economic geographer, participating and presenting at the Global Conference on Economic Geography is a huge opportunity: to meet the experts you only know from the literature (especially when a pandemic hinders you to travel), connect with fellow PhD students, to disseminate your work and exchange ideas about it, and get valuable feedback and inputs. I was very happy to do all that in Dublin, where I attended the 6th Global Conference on Economic Geography.

My presentation titled “Paths to Social Upgrading in Public Special Economic Zones in the Global South: Industrial choices and Labour regimes” covered the contents of my second paper I was writing as part of my dissertation. Although it was already at a very advanced state, the feedback I received at the conference was very valuable for me to adjust and sharpen some important arguments. This feedback came from renowned economic geographers that I quote frequently in my work, but also from one member of my Doctoral Committee, Dr. Padraig Carmody, who was one of the organizers of the Conference. He also advised me on some important topics regarding my focus as a researcher and the overall PhD project. This was my first time actually meeting him in person and I was glad to have a more pleasant frame (than a zoom meeting) to chat and get into details.

The session I presented in dealt with “From New Industrial Path Development to Regional Development Outcomes” and did not only fit very well to my current research, but also gave me inputs for the next, third paper I am currently preparing. Sometimes, conferences offer the possibility to contribute to a special issue in a high ranked journal, on the topic of one particular session. Although it will not be possible for me to take part (because my project will end long before the planned submission date), it is awesome to get invited to hand in an abstract to contribute to the planned special issue. Beyond networking and feedback on the contents, participating at the conference also helped me to finally realise that I am in fact doing valuable research and part of a huge research community – especially after (pandemic) years of working seemingly alone and only limited experiences and possibilities to connect through online conferences.

Carolina Kiesel
PhD student
Institute of Geography
PhD project: “Between Enclaves and Integration – Chinese and African Special Economic Zones in Sub-Sharan Africa” 
Presentation title: “Paths to Social Upgrading in Public Special Economic Zones in the Global South: Industrial choices and Labour regimes”