About the GA

What is the GA?
What does the GA do?
Who runs the GA?
Who are the GA's members?
How did the GA begin?
Where is the GA based?

GA chronology

What is the GA?

The Geographical Association (GA) is a subject association with the core charitable object of furthering geographical knowledge and understanding through education. It is a lively community of practice with over a century of innovation behind it and an unrivalled understanding of geography teaching. The GA was formed by five geographers in 1893 to share ideas and learn from each other. Today, the GA's purpose is the same and it remains an independent association.

What does the GA do?

As outlined in the associations Strategic Plan (2014-19) the Geographical Association has the following three strategic aims

  • Strategic aim 1 - Meet professional and educational needs
  • Strategic aim 2 - Demonstrate the value of geographical education
  • Strategic aim 3 - Use our resources efficiently and sustainably


Who runs the GA?

The GA is a registered charity (number 1135148) and its core activities are financed principally by membership subscriptions, but also by the sale of resources, conference and CPD event delegate fees, and externally funded curriculum development project work.

The GA existed as an unincorporated association from its formation in 1893 until 2010 when it was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee (Company No. 07139068). A dedicated body of professional staff, based at headquarters, run the GA under the leadership of its elected officers and appointed Chief Executive.

At its heart the GA is a 'membership organisation'. Its activities are often driven by members, many of whom freely volunteer their time and expertise in support of the GA. The GA is overseen by two main committees, which provide strong representation to the membership. These committees are the Governing Body and the Education Committee.

  • Governing Body (GB) - This committee has overall responsibility for the GA and its current and future well-being. As charity Trustees and company Directors, the 14 Members of the Governing Body are responsible for the prudent stewardship of the GA’s financial resources in accordance with current law and the GA's charitable objects. From within the GB a Presidents Group (comprising the four Presidents and Honorary Treasurer, with the Chief Executive by invitation) provides a mechanism for the Presidents to gain experience, prepares items for full discussion at GB (for example by providing a sounding board for the Chief Executive) and makes recommendations on some matters for approval by the full GB.
  • Education Group (EG) - This committee formulates the educational policy of the GA and ensures that provision is made for all aspects of geographical education. It oversees three Phase Committees, along with a number of other Special Interest Groups and Communications Boards.

The GA also welcomes the guidance of its Honorary Vice Presidents and the support of its Strategic Partners: Ordnance Survey and the Field Studies Council (FSC).

Who are the GA's members?

The GA has approximately 5500 memberships including both personal and institutional members. These include primary and secondary teachers, PGCE students, teacher educators, academics, geography students, infant, primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, academies, libraries, societies, museums and businesses. Despite being a UK based organisation, we have members in more than 60 countries and have strong links with geographical organisations in the USA, Australia and Europe.

How did the GA begin?

The Geographical Association was formed by five geographers in 1893 and remains an independent association. The first members got together to use and exchange lantern slides, a leading technology of the day. Today, the GA's purpose is the same - sharing ideas and learning from each other, using the best available technology.

Download this Chronological History of the GA for an overview of the key people, achievements, places and events between 1893 and 2011.

Where is the GA based?

The GA has a single Headquarters building in Solly Street, close to the centre of Sheffield. The GA has been based in Sheffield since 1950, at first in offices in Duke Street public library, generously provided free of charge by Sheffield City Council. In 1964 the GA moved to a large house in Fulwood Road, rented from the University of Sheffield. The GA moved to its present building in 1997, initially renting from a private landlord. The GA bought 160 Solly Street in 2010 and thus became the owner of its own Headquarters building for the first time.

Find out more

Please feel free to download and share the PowerPoint Presentation below which outlines the work of the GA and the benefits of becoming a member:



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