29-30 March 2012, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford


The 2nd Oxford interdisciplinary desert conference brought together UK and international researchers interested in dryland people and environments. The aim of the conference was to stimulate debate and collaboration across academic departments, share knowledge and expand desert paradigms. With the theme of 'Progress and integration in desert research' the conference's papers and discussion brought together the different approaches and perspectives applied to desert research. The conference took place 29-30 March 2012 with a field trip on 'T.E. Lawrence's Oxford' on the afternoon of the 28th.

Following the successful 1st Oxford Desert conference in 2010, the 2012 event expanded on the issues and themes discussed. These have been brought together in the volume Changing Deserts (White Horse Press) which was published in 2012. The diverse range of topics reflects the intricacies and multidisciplinary facets of deserts research and the volume aims to be a stepping stone for further desert conference publications.

The conference highlighted the multiple disciplines that work in desert environments and presented original research combinations through including social and natural scientists working in shared topics or environments in different dimensions and timescales. Session presentations were in fields from the social and physical sciences; these included Archaeology, Geography, Earth Sciences, and International Relations through History, Anthropology, Development and Zoology. We also encouraged desert perspectives beyond academia to present the NGO / business / government view that makes use of, and funds, academic study and can have major dryland impacts.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to visit Oxford, to enjoy the vibrant surroundings and to learn more about desert research.

T E Lawrence's Oxford

A pre-conference afternoon field trip was organised on 28 March 2012 around "T E Lawrence's Oxford". The program included viewing the original manuscript of 7 Pillars of Wisdom in the Bodleian Library and a guided tour at the Ashmolean Museum of Lawrence artefacts that are on display and in the Special Collection.

How to find us

The School of Geography and the Environment is located in the University Science Area, South Parks Road, Oxford. For directions, please see the School's contact information.

For further queries please contact the Conference Team:

Dr Troy Sternberg or Dr Lisa Mol
Oxford Interdisciplinary Desert Conference
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1865 285070