The Geography of Beer: GEOG-CAST-ERST-SAFS -3760H-A
Dr. Roger M. Picton
Designed around a long-term research project, The Geography of Beer, a third-year course taught by Dr. Roger Picton brings together craft beer and history exploring tourism, built heritage, and post-industrial design associated with the production of craft beer. In the course, which places emphasis on class participation and experiential learning, students are provided with hands-on opportunities to examine land-use patterns, built form, and branding techniques while being able to approach and understand geographic theories through “real, tangible landscapes.”
“We cover themes such as terroir [a collection of environmental and cultural factors that define place], branding, rural amenities, historic built form, and post-industrial design,” shares Professor Picton. “By exploring how industrial heritage has intertwined with shifting consumption tastes in towns and villages across Ontario over the past decade, students learn about post-industrial sites and how various municipalities have experimented with different policy approaches to urban redevelopment projects.”
Analysis of a cold one
Centered around fieldwork-based research, The Geography of Beer helps students learn primary methods of data collection to assess specific sites within the urban landscape.
Case studies, small break-out groups, directed observation activities, and a series of workshops help students build skills to analyze breweries.
“Armed with both background knowledge and research tools, the final three weeks of the course are reserved for group-based, fieldwork activity,” explains Prof. Picton. “Each group visits one local brewery they selected from a curated list. While on site, students conduct detailed observation of the brewery and the surrounding area using a site analysis template.”
Although all fieldwork activities have been halted due to the pandemic, Prof. Picton made significant efforts to adapt the course for remote delivery. In-person breakout sessions are now Zoom breakout rooms and in-person fieldwork are now case studies explained in great depth and detail.
Importance of fieldwork-based Geography
Fieldwork in geography provides students with the opportunity to identify their learning interests, contextualize their academic materials, and garner practical world experiences essential in pursuing a career in the field.
“Fieldwork on craft breweries provides students with an opportunity to create their own learning trajectories, to anchor ideas in place, to foster feelings of belonging, and to build social networks,” shares Prof. Picton. “It is perhaps these contributions to overall student well-being and resilience that provides the strongest argument for geography programs to incorporate student-led, semester-based fieldwork in all stages of a degree.”
Learn more about Geography at Trent. Applications are still open for fall 2021!