Keynote Speaker

Professor Jonathan D Rigg, Chair in Human Geography, School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol

Keynote Title: “Out of the Blue:  Paradigmatic Blinds Spots and Explanatory Catch up in Southeast Asia”

Jonathan Rigg is the Chair in Human Geography, School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol, affiliated with the Bristol Poverty Institute, Cabot Institute for the Environment, and Migration Mobilities Bristol. He has also been recognized with the prestigious Victoria Medal from the Royal Geographical Society.

Jonathan’s work has focused on understanding – and judging – the effects of agrarian transformations on rural livelihoods in Asia, especially on poorer sections of rural society. The aim is to reveal the connections that have emerged over space, across genders and generations, and between farming and non-farming activities. Jonathan’s research began in Thailand in the early 1980s and expanded geographically to include fieldwork in Laos, Vietnam, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Work continues to the present day in Thailand.

Professor Rigg’s publications include books such as More than the Soil: Rural Change in Southeast Asia (2001), Unplanned Development: Tracking Change in South-East Asia (2012), Challenging Southeast Asian Development: The shadows of success (2015), and More than Rural: Textures of Thailand’s Agrarian Transformation (2019).

He is currently contributing to the global COVID-19 research effort, interviewing coronavirus-affected international labor migrants from India, Bangladesh, Laos and Myanmar who are working in Singapore and Thailand. This work seeks to understand how the effects of covid are rippling back from countries of work to places of origin. Another area of focus in Jonathan’s work has been in disasters and resilience. This followed the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami but has developed since to include earthquake preparedness.