Monday, October 26, 2015

Pico Iyer on the meaning of home

I have a few Pico Iyer books. They are interesting and well-written explorations of movement, and the edges of the world, and the pull of home.
I enjoyed this Ted Talk where Pico starts with the simple question: "Where do you come from?"

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Free 'Doing Cultural Geography'

Follow this link for a PDF of 'Doing Cultural Geography', edited by Pamela Shurmer-Smith.

Fish and Chips

I've blogged many times before here and elsewhere about the cultural geography of food.
This Telegraph article provides some useful background on the history of fish and chips, which many associate with being our national dish.
Every village deserves to have a decent chippy, and I'm glad to say that we have one where I live.

Image: Alan Parkinson - click for biggery...

New blog...

Every now and again, I start a new blog on a particular theme as an extra place to share specific
resources and ideas.
This new blog will share my ideas on geography in / on film....

I'll share memories of particular films from the past, preview films that are coming up, talk about films I've seen recently, and explore their geographical significance.
Geography is tied in with all films: they are set somewhere, and their narrative is driven by characters engaging with places, and their own interconnections.
Each image in a film has been carefully chosen, and may appear on screen for just a short time, but linger in the memory for a lot longer.

I'll explore film posters and the landscapes they show, cultural geography in films, how cities and the rural landscape are (re)presented in film, film soundtracks and the stories that the films were based on, or the new worlds that they open up. I'll explore how maps feature, and where films are located in specific locations.

Check it out at Geography 24 times a second

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Back in time...

Back in July 1985, shortly after graduating (which makes me feel old), I went to Doncaster to visit my friend and contemporary Conor (now an award-winning author and Professor of Medieval History) and we went to the nearby cinema to see a movie about a character travelling backwards 30 years in time and then forward 30 years at the very end.
His time machine was a de Lorean car, and the date that he travelled to in the future will be reached next week...

Back to the Future day is October the 21st.

A few teachers on Twitter have been considering what they might do to mark this in lessons. I'm not quite sure what to do yet, and may actually run out of time to plan anything other than wear a gilet.... which isn't too creative.
That time is actually the very end of the school day, so I may just play the theme tune as students leave, or perhaps try to hide the flux capacitor into as many PPT slides as possible... or something else completely...

Any geography-related ideas come to mind?

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...