Saturday, October 3, 2015

RGS update piece on Changing Place, Changing Places

The Royal Geographical Society have produced a very useful topic update for the new 'A' level Geography Changing Place, Changing Places topic.

It is written by Richard Phillips, Professor of Human Geography from Sheffield University, who was on the ALCAB (the 'A' level Content Advisory Board) and so was probably partly 'responsible' in some ways for the topic ending up on the new specification. It's also a topic that the awarding bodies have struggled to capture in a way that OFQUAL will accept is suitably rigorous.
PDF download from the above link

David Matless book on the Norfolk Broads

Thanks to Sharon Witt for the tipoff to this book, which I have now ordered.
It's about the Norfolk Broads, and offers a range of interesting short pieces on the nature of the landscape in that area. Written by David Matless.
Scope for using the approach to explore other regions with students...

The introduction discusses an injunction by Georges Perec to ‘see more flatly’ (wryly apt considering the landscape being seen), and the pieces do try to look beyond official accounts of place to draw on tiny concrete details, lived experience, historical perspective, technical boating matters, economics, and so on and so forth. Of course, unless you note everything, the very act of selecting details unflattens them, making (to mix my spatial metaphors horribly) salient features out of what had been background trifles. Similarly, the alphabetical ordering of the pieces is a way of insisting on the ‘non-hierarchical’ approach; I think Matless wouldn’t object if you read them in a random order, as if you were yourself wandering around the Broads, making your own way.
Matless is a geographer, and the introduction does frame the pieces as ‘geographical descriptions,’ but anyone coming to the discipline without a prior knowledge of cultural geography would be amazed by the lack of a ‘neutral’/’objective’ voice, lack of argumentative rigour and even of argument, and lack of traditional academic apparatus such as referencing. Of course, the move away from that rather chimerical lifebelt is one of the characteristic and exciting features of the contemporary cultural geographer. 
Got to love a book that starts with Georges Perec...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Star Wars returns...

I went to see the original back in 1978 in Sheffield...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

James Taylor is a geographer...

The track 'Montana' has been on the radio quite a lot the last week or so. It's a lovely track...

The lyrics are very geographical in nature too:

Who can imagine the scale of the forces
That pushed this old mountain range up in the sky?
Tectonic creation, erosion, mutation;
Somethin' to pleasure God's eye.

The world is a wonder of lightnin' and thunder,
And green of the ground as we fall from the sky.
The old and new faces, the tribes and the races...
Thousands of places to try.

There's also the track with Mark Knopfler 'Sailing to Philadepelphia' about Mason and Dixon who surveyed earlier America, producing the Mason-Dixon line: the cultural divide between the Northern and Southern United States.

Check it out below:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

700 posts...

A minor milestone
Thanks for reading my cultural geography postings: an area that's grown quite a lot since I started the blog...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alan Garner lecture

Would love to have gone to this event, and found out about it in plenty of time to get a ticket. Too far and the wrong timing though. A real literary hero of mine.

Conference in Toulouse

A few days ago, I picked up the news of a conference being organised by Russel Tarr at the International School of Toulouse.
I was due to go to the previous event in 2012 that Russel organised, but it clashed with something I was already committed to. This time round, that's not a problem
The focus is on pedagogy, and there's a keynote from Ewan McIntosh.

Good to see my name in the programme (though that's subject to getting permission to go from school as it's during term time)

It's a combination of Mission:Explore and GeoCapabilities....
Looking forward to the possibility of visiting Toulouse.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Earth Primer: now available on the App store...

A month or so ago, I picked up on an app that was getting ready for adding to the App store. I contacted Chaim Gingold, who worked on the game called SPORE some years ago, and found out more about it, and started to get excited about the potential for teaching the ideas that underpin geomorphology to a lower school audience, and those who may just be interested in finding out more about how the Earth works.

The app is now live on the App store at a cost of £7.99, and is called Earth Primer.
Take a look here.

It allows the user to explore the world in an exciting way and explore how processes that shape the earth work.
There are several sections which are possible to work through and these include a look beneath the surface of the Earth as well as the range of processes which change the surface.
Work through the book to unlock tools which can then be used in the Sandbox section of the app.

I'm working on some education materials for the app, which will be available in a few weeks time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cultural Geographies of Food...

The Office for National Statistics has released a great variety of visualisations in recent times, and the latest one is well worth a look.
I'm interested in the visualisation on how much households spend each week, for example. This is a useful basis for discussions about inequality and changing lifestyles.

Coincidentally, there was also this BBC article on the changing contents of the 'basket of goods' that is used to calculate inflation. Lots of cultural geography connections here...