Sunday, November 25, 2018

Brexit Pop-up shop

Looks like we have reached another stage of the Brexit negotiations...

This weekend, a spoof pop-up shop opened up to connect with the Black Friday sales, and Danielle Majid kindly allowed me to use some of the photos she took. I love the creativity of this sort of 'shop' (you may remember the shop full of knitted products I blogged probably a year or so ago...)

Image credit: Danielle Majid

Sunday, November 18, 2018

TeachMeet GeographyIcons 2019

Good news - just announced on Twitter.
I was proud to have been asked to be the teacher keynote at the first event, and will hope to be there for the 2nd event too... but perhaps just with a short input.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

GA Presidential election bid - some details here

Instead of spending phone credit on voting for the X Factor favourites, I'd like you to consider whether you might want to support me for the role of GA President.
This starts with an election for the Junior Vice President, which would be from 2019-20.
This is followed by the position of Vice President from 2020-2021, President for 2021-2022, and Past President for 2022-2023.

I was asked to submit a 200 word statement as part of the process, which will be placed on the GA website, and the voting will open early in the New Year and close towards the end of February.
You have to be a GA member to have a vote.

Here's my statement:

I have been a GA member since PGCE days in 1986. In 2004, I joined the Secondary Committee and am currently Secretary.
Between 2008 and 2011 I worked as the GA’s Secondary Curriculum leader: part of the team delivering the Action Plan for Geography. I have led many GA CPD events and talks at GA branches across the country. I wrote a significant proportion of the GA website, worked as liaison with GA strategic partners, worked on the Young People’s Geographies project and authored several books for the GA.
I’ve written the GA’s Webwatch column for 12 years, contributed articles to all GA publications and worked with numerous publishers and companies.
I am a Primary Geography Champion, consultant to the GA, worked on European projects on behalf of the GA, and also for the Open University. 
My work during the Action Plan helped change the nature of the GA’s support for teachers , and my Presidential ams would be to revisit this powerful work, refresh connections with RGS-IBG, and promote geographical exploration in various guises.

I’m a full time Head of Geography, blogger, author and tireless supporter of colleagues at all levels, promoting the value of Geography, and received the RSGS’s Tivy Medal in 2013.

I've done far more for the GA of course than can be put into a 200 word statement.

A few more additions for you to consider (not an exhaustive list):

I've presented sessions for the Princes' Teaching Institute Teacher Days.
I set up the GA Ning and GA Primary Champions Ning and supported Champions through their launch event, as well as working as a Champion since.
Took part in the Young People's Geographies project which was an early co-construction project, based around the OCR Pilot GCSE project partly, and which introduced me to Ian Cook and other academic geographers.
Supported the work of the Making Geography Happen project.
Introduced social media aspects to the GA: the Twitter feed now has around 18000 followers.
Served on working groups at previous times of curriculum change, including sessions with HMI OFSTED, SSAT, Awarding bodies and others to shape the GA offering for teachers, the development of the website, and changes to journals.
Member of OCR Geography Consultative Forum group, which meets in Cambridge and Coventry and helped inform specification change, and the support for teachers in the first few years of the new specifications.

Ran the Open University's Vital Portal between 2011 and 2013, producing resources for fellow teachers.
Worked for the GA, along with representatives of other subject associations, to develop courses and assessments for the Diplomas, which ended up not going ahead after a year of work - along with my work on BBC Jam, which never saw the light of day.
Contributed articles to 'The Guardian' and TES on technology in geography.
This was also connected with early work representing the association in the development of Functional Skills materials which were disseminated nationally.
Attended Geography Teacher Educators' Conference and presented four times.

Worked with Follow the Things, TUI, Google, BBC, Royal Geographical Society (numerous projects), Digimap for Schools, Digimap for Colleges, EDINA and other too numerous to list here...

Won a number of GA Silver Awards and Highly Commended Awards for Mission:Explore, Frozen Oceans, and other projects.

Helped judge the GA Publisher's Awards, and review publications for GA journals.
Attended the Association at Work Day on numerous occasions and contributed to Policy discussions.
Work in a school which has held the Secondary Geography Quality Mark, and Centre of Excellence
Mentored other schools to take part in the award - here we are receiving it from Iain Stewart.
Images: Bryan Ledgard

Chartered Geographer
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Winner of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Tivy Education Medal - a rare honour

Working as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion into 2019, working to encourage over a million people to become more physically active.
Visited and spoken to many of the GA's Branches, and was previously President of the Norfolk Branch of the Geographical Association.

Some contributions to the GA website:

CPD Units on Geographies of Food and others.
Numerous sections from the Resources page
Contributed to the Top Tips of the Secondary Phase Committee
CILT Resources on Transport and Logistics.
Regular contributor to the ISSIG's excellent 'Notes and Queries' newsletter

I've written articles for all 4 of the GA's journals, and presented well over 200 events on behalf of the GA in various locations including the Finnish Ministry of Education and numerous Universities.

I'm part of the group working to deliver the Critical Thinking for Achievement project to schools across the UK.

Also co-founded Mission:Explore along with Daniel Raven Ellison, and have co-created our books including the original National Trust award-winning book, Mission:Explore Food, Camping, On the Road, Water, Iceland and National Parks.
Blogging: LivingGeography has had over 5 million views, and one of 10 blogs I've written which have attracted a large readership.

I believe I'm fairly well known, and have contributed literally thousands of resources free of charge, and supported thousands of teachers in their professional development either face to face or virtually. I would hope to leverage my networks and hubness for the benefit of the Association.

I'm a full time Head of department, and have teaching experience in Primary / Secondary / FE settings in both State and Independent sector.
And my Presidential lecture will be unlike any you've seen before...
As it says in my statement...

My Presidential ams would be to revisit the powerful work we carried out as part of the Action Plan for Geography, refresh connections with RGS-IBG, and promote geographical exploration in various guises.

My current interests reflect my work on Mission:Explore, and the power of geographical stories to shape curriculum making. I aim to leverage my networks and connections to attract a diverse audience and some wonderful speakers to conference, and support teachers throughout the year, visiting GA branches and other relevant events.

But apart from that...

If you felt you could give me your vote I'd be grateful for the validation of three decades of work in geography education.
Don't worry, I'll give you some more reminders nearer the time, and during the voting period which starts early in the New Year...

Update
I've been blown away by the support shown on Twitter particularly... so many kind comments and people promising their support. I won't let you down if elected, and have already jotted down some of the people I've worked with over the years who I hope I can persuade to join us for conference....

Friday, November 9, 2018

Iceland Christmas ad - it was banned....

Interesting tweet this morning...
Advertising wasteful commercialism is fine, but alerting people to the environmental impact of their consumer choices isn't. This Guardian piece explores the reasons why it deserves to be shown, and why we need to stop using palm oil.
Take a look

Monday, October 8, 2018

Aral Sea: Fast Fashion

When I first started teaching back in the 1980s (I know), a key case study for environmental change, and also the management of water resources, was the decline in the Aral Sea. I had an old VHS tape which followed the tale of the sea's shrinking, with details of the canning factories which were closed, and the ships which were left stranded in the desert that consumed the area. Nick Middleton later visited during his 'Going to Extremes' series, which we also used to show (and there is a matching book also)
He visits Voz Island, which is contaminated due to its location where salt has been exposed at the surface as the sea evaporated....



A Global Oneness project resource explores the latest ideas relating to the Aral Sea too, and there are some useful resources here.
Images by Taylor Weidman are used in this resource.

The tourism aspects of the Aral Sea were picked up in a recent Guardian article too, which shows the possible rehabilitation of this environment, which also could be used as a venue for a music festival. This sounds like an interesting opportunity for the region, and moves away from the idea of dark or disaster tourism.
Interesting description of the area though:
Visitors to Moynaq, a forlorn Uzbek town, are usually disaster tourists coming to gawk at the desolation of the apocalyptic landscape, where the carcasses of ships rot on sand once covered by the world’s fourth-largest lake.

You can see the changing Aral in NASA images from the Earthshots website.
A quick check on ESRI StoryMaps library reveals this map too.


Also in the recent (and rather wonderful) William Atkins book on deserts, there are some alternative perspectives on the area, with a fantastic chapter on the Aral Sea, which is really worth reading.
The area could be turning round, and there are hopes that the sea may begin to grow again in the future.

And the Aral Sea came back to TV tonight with its inclusion in Stacy Dooley's Fast Fashion documentary.

Stacey Dooley travels the world to uncover the hidden costs of the addiction to fast fashion. She sees for herself how toxic chemicals released by the garment industry pollute waterways that millions of people rely on. She witnesses the former Aral Sea, once one of the largest bodies of fresh water, now reduced almost entirely to dust.
These are shocking discoveries likely to make you think twice about whether you really need those new clothes.

A lot of people on Twitter were amazed that an entire sea could disappear just to provide cotton. Just ask a geographer if you want to know more...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

New poetry from Rob Hindle



My good friend and poet Rob Hindle is back with a new collection, and this time he has turned his attention to the Great War, as we approach the centenary of the Armistice.
The book is called 'The Grail Roads'
Some details on the poems, with a mention for Edward Thomas are included

I've been in the footsteps of Edward Thomas several times, when heading down to Bedales School for my annual visit.

Via Longbarrow Press.

The ribbon of land that runs through north-west France and into Flanders is always being turned over. Each year, the ploughs of French and Belgian farmers uncover shrapnel, bullets, barbed wire and artillery shells; an ‘iron harvest’ that takes in the jumbled debris of the Hundred Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and, in particular, the First World War.

The Grail Roads digs deep into the cultural strata of these conflicts, and is haunted by their correspondences and echoes, from Agincourt to Arras. The poems reimagine the ‘quest’ of Galahad, Gawain, and other knights of Arthurian legend, displaced from their familiar mythology and recast as British soldiers on the Western Front. As the war turns attritional, the vision of the Grail darkens; one by one, the men are gathered into a dream of ‘a first and final home’ beyond the wrecked landscapes.

The Grail Roads is a story of loss and reclamation, estrangement and fellowship, in which we read the human cost, and human scale, of every journey and battle.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Michael Palin on 'Erebus'

It was down to the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday this week to see Michael Palin launch his new book, which tells the story of the HMS Erebus. It was a sell out event, and all there received a signed copy of the book. HMS Erebus had a varied career. I knew quite a lot about the ship already from my reading of Polar exploration, with the tales of James Clark Ross, Barrow, Franklin et al very much on my shelves.
The Erebus made some of the earliest and most successful Antarctic voyages, and found the Ross Ice Shelf, and a volcano (named after the ship)
It then made its way north, as one of the ships used by Franklin as he attempted to find the North West Passage. He told the story of the discovery of the ships, and the work of Owen Beattie, which I'm also familiar with from my reading, and previous news reports.

I was particularly taken by the fact that Michael Palin was able to visit Beechey Island, where three of the crew of 'Erebus' were discovered. This is a place that I would love to visit, along with neighbouring islands which were visited by Barry Lopez in his books.

Michael also showed images of Erebus taken by divers, and told the story of the discovery of 'Terror' too. It was good to see a packed Ondaatje theatre with around 700 people captivated by the story, and the speaker...
A late trip back home, but fortunately unaffected by the strong winds. En route, I read the first 80 pages of the book, and it's excellent. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TUI Better World Detectives

Before the summer, I worked with a talented group of people to shape some new resources for KS2, adapted from earlier iterations, for Geography / Science focus.
The theme is on the impact of tourism, and ensuring this is minimised, so that tourism is more sustainable.
Follow this link, provide an e-mail and you can download the pack of resources.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Fortnite in Geography

May be of interest to some of you :)


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dan Raven Ellison's new film premiere...

You can order your ticket here. Some excellent speakers as well as the chance to be provoked by Dan.


It’s difficult to get a picture of what the United Kingdom really looks like. Imaginations and assumptions can distort decisions that affect our lives. We often hear the idea that there is simply no more room in the country. In reality, just six per cent of the UK is built on.

The UK in 100 Seconds is a provocative and thought provoking film that rearranges the United Kingdom's land into 32 categories and divides them over 100 seconds. Each second equates to 1% of what the country looks like from the air.

Made by guerrilla geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison and filmmaker Jack Smith, the film was made by travelling from Tongue in the north of Scotland to the New Forest in the south of England. Each second of the film covers roughly one metre of Raven-Ellison's walk through moorland and peat bogs, down a runway and over a dump.

Made in collaboration with Friends of the Earth, the film gives an honest reflection of what land looks like and how it is used in the United Kingdom and raises some challenging questions. A major inspiration for Raven-Ellison making the film is the amount of space that is used for feeding livestock and the question - what if we made more space for nature?

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers and a series of six micro-talks and a forum with the audience. We'll be discussing what the UK could look like in the future and what the effects would be if we made more space for nature.

Confirmed panellists include:
Alasdair Rae, a geographer and expert on land use at Sheffield University
Andrew Simms, author of the books Cancel the Apocalypse and Ecological Debt
Beth Collier, a nature-based psychotherapist

More panellists to be announced.

Join the discussion using the hashtags #UKin100Seconds and #MoreSpaceForNature.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Edible Histories

Thanks to Justin Woolliscroft for the tipoff to this site, which has the stories of some of the things we eat (and drink)

Thy include fish and chips...



The sandwich...


And the curry...


This will go into the list of resources for my 'You are what you eat' topic...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tony Walsh on the Lake District

Via Val Vannet
Working out a way to make use of this...
Poetry by Tony Walsh 

We have collaborated with northern poet Tony Walsh to create this unique short film, ‘Reflecting On The Lakes’. The unique film and poem celebrates what it’s like to live, work and love the National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and will inspire viewers to help us protect and care for this truly special place. The film sets out to shine a light on the real Lake District; celebrating all there is to love about the National Park, and declares: ‘it’s where farming shaped the landscape and where landscape shaped our lives, it’s now honoured by UNESCO with a badge we’ll wear with pride'. ‘Reflecting On The Lakes’, features scenes from across the Lake District which form the backdrop to a passionate piece of poetry written and performed by leading spoken word poet, Tony Walsh.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A is for Angel of the North

The first in a new series of coins has been released by the Royal Mint. They represent the letters A-Z.

There is a collection card, and you can buy the coins as they are released or hope they turn up in your change...
It's called the Great British Coin Hunt.

A is the Angel of the North.

What landmarks or cultural icons would you choose for your UK A-Z of places and objects?

I've used this idea before, and showed some of the designs that are put onto 50p coins, and then provided a blank 50p outline for students to design a coin which represents the landscape of 'The Fens', having spent some time exploring it.