Friday, July 24, 2009

RIP John Ryan

Sad news of the death of John Ryan, who was famous for creating Captain Pugwash.
He was also involved with the production of the classic urban geography resource called Mary, Mungo and Midge that was part of my childhood...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bridgeman Art Library Project

I have been involved on the margins of a new project with geographical connections which is being developed by the Bridgeman Art Library.
Here is some further information on the Bridgeman Art Library and the project itself...

The Bridgeman Art Library founded in 1972, is one of the leading sources of cultural heritage imagery, working with museums, private collections and art collections in the UK and internationally. Over a million high quality resolution images cover subjects such as art, archaeology, architecture, history, geography, science and medicine, manuscripts, society, photography, religion and politics. We also have portraits of all the leading personalities throughout history from Archimedes to Obama. These images have traditionally been licensed to educational publishers (in a wide range of materials), fiction/non-fiction publishers, TV/Film companies, electronic producers and the media. We support museums by returning 50% of our fees back to them, enabling them to conserve and exhibit their works.

In 2005, The Bridgeman Art Library introduced an innovative educational image resource (Bridgeman Education – for scholars, universities and schools. The database is a subscription-based, annually renewable website, drawing from the Bridgeman Art Library’s own archives and permits students and staff to keyword search, download and use over 300,000 images, copyright-cleared for educational use. The emphasis is on simplicity, rapid access and organisation. Bridgeman Education is currently working on several educational programmes and one of them is called the SILVER project.

The project:
SILVER ( is a government-funded research project (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills - DIUS) that investigates the development of new e-learning technologies for use in education and training. The SILVER project comprises a consortium of three organisations: Bridgeman Education; Lexara (technology partner); and the Knowledge Media Institute, which is part of the Open University.

Prototype 1:
The SILVER team has already developed a first prototype. This prototype is on the topic of Women and the Vote (with a focus on Suffragettes), and is aimed towards KS3 History and Citizenship students and teachers. In order to have a look at this prototype please click on our SILVER website - and register.
A Suffragette selling newspapers to two soldiers, c.1914 © Bridgeman Art Library
Prototype 2:
Currently the SILVER project team is working on the second prototype which is focused on the sustainable development topic (sustainable buildings) a subject relevant to KS3 and KS4 Geography and the Environment and Land-based Studies (sustainability) Diploma.

This prototype is divided in two parts, the first one will explore the topic by tagging and annotating the Bridgeman Art Library sustainable buildings images and the second part will incorporate the use of new technology with a UGC (user generated content) section in which students will upload their own images and comments from their local area.

If you would like to participate on the prototype 2 (sustainable development module), please contact the SILVER E-learning Specialist Susa Rodriguez-Garrido at
It is this second project which I am involved in....
One to watch as it develops...

Monday, July 13, 2009

SAGT Conference 09

This annual event takes place this year on the 31st of October at the Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh.

This year's SAGT keynote speakers include the mountaineer and author Andy Cave, and Ollie Bray. The theme is "Today's Geography , Tomorrow's World".

I will be doing Workshop 10: "A Different View : what's your view ?"

Go HERE to download your conference programme and book a place. (PDF download)

The conference costs £60 for non-SAGT members, and £35 for SAGT members

The description of my workshop is below:

A Different View”: what’s your view ?
Presenter Alan Parkinson
Secondary Curriculum Development Leader, Geographical Association
In April 2009, the Geographical Association published its ‘manifesto for geography’. Called ‘a different view’, it explores the nature of school geography, and suggests an approach to teaching the subject called ‘living geography’.
The manifesto takes the form of a booklet with stunning images and text, a poster and postcard set, and a website packed with resources including a range of multimedia content. It is entirely self-funded by the GA. As with the last four years at SAGT, I would appreciate some interactivity from delegates (whether or not you opt for my session). Please take the time to visit the manifesto website at: and e-mail your ‘views’ to me at aparkinson AT

The seminar is designed for all levels from S1 upwards: as the manifesto is applicable to all phases. Delegates attending the workshop will go away with a range of materials to use immediately, as well as some suggestions for encouraging students to develop their own ‘different view’ of the
world – the manifesto is intended to provoke debate, and support engaging teaching.

You can also catch David Rogers. Come along to the GA stand too, and meet John Halocha.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sheffield: no place like home

Sitting on my colleague's desk today at the GA was a copy of Carl Lee's intriguing new book, which I went out to get a copy of later that day. Called "Home: a personal geography of Sheffield"
Have also been invited along to a conference that Carl is organising in September on Inequality.
Article in the Sheffield Telegraph gives a flavour for the background
"I wanted to write a geography book for people who wouldn't normally read a geography book.
"I also wanted to try and get to the heart of why Sheffield was such a great place to live. I've thought the city is one of the best-kept secrets of Britain. I've had a go at exploring the ingredients that make up the city and contribute to it being such a great place to live. "I hope that Sheffield can continue to be the radical city that shaped its creation, now more than ever we need to think about alternatives to the discredited status quo. "Sheffield was one of the first industrial cities in the world, one of the first to de-industrialise, and hopefully the city which leads us into a greener, more equal and more sustainable future."
Another connection with the city came today when I was told that my old mate Pete Rawlinson is one of the directors of the new Sheffield Brewery. The names of the beers that they brew have plenty of geographical connections.
Brewing and distilling is an area that I have long meant to develop as the context for a teaching (or learning) resource - got a growing collection of materials now. Perhaps a trip to the brewery would be a good idea...

One and Other

Me on Crosby Beach, 2007

Antony Gormley is an artist whose work I have come across in numerous locations, from Crosby Beach to the O2 and even on a friend's wall (a long story).
His latest project ONE AND OTHER involves the vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The website has a live web feed of the activity.
Was considering applying to go on the plinth in October. There's still a chance to get an hour of Geography up there... Anyone else got a place ?