Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hans Rosling at GA Conference 2011

There was some exciting news earlier this week !

Hans Rosling is the Director of the Gapminder Foundation, and produced one of the most exciting tools for geographers in recent times: GAPMINDER (now in a desktop version too)

Thanks in part to some work by our colleague Bob Lang earlier in the year, it is now confirmed that Hans will be doing the keynote lecture at the Geographical Association's conference at the University of Surrey in Guildford in April 2011.

One for your diaries: for the chance to see Hans in action - get a flavour of his presentations by watching this TED TALK.

Online booking for the conference is now available!

GA members get substantial discounts!
Full time and PGCE students get FREE registration!
Delegate fees have been frozen to 2009 levels !

Follow the GA on Twitter (@The_GA) with the hashtag: #gaconf11

This year, the conference will also be raising money for ACTION AID: the President's chosen charity.

On the Road

An excellent photo project by Sam Mellish.

On my travels up and down the 'A' roads (and quite a lot of the 'B', 'M' and 'C' ones as well...) of Britain, I've often thought about the roadside vans and cafes that spring up in laybys at the side of the road. Often named after some eponymous owner, or girlfriend, and offering "credit crunch breakfasts" or "big baps"...

Sam has been documenting some of these places in East Anglia, in an exhibition, which can be seen HERE. Sadly I just missed seeing the exhibition of actual images just down the road in Ely.
A book of his WIDER wandering is also available, which I notice focuses on the A303 which I've driven along 4 times in the last few months too...

The one I pass most frequently, which is just north of Sam's main area of focus, has a table with a nice view across the Nar Valley towards Castle Acre. I saw the owner packing up in the rain the other day - probably not a good day for custom... Also drove past Wendy's Bus Cafe earlier today.

Thanks to Joe Moran for the tipoff via his blog...

There are some nice geographies to be explored here in terms of:
Territory: who 'owns' a particular pitch or layby - is there conflict over these ?
Customers: what range of social groups use the cafes, are they inclusive/exclusive ?
Location: what views are offered ? what are the interactions between the customers ?
Sourcing of ingredients - local ?
Cultural links... the rules of the road... groups of people using the road for different purposes...

What else can you think of ?

Something I particularly like is Sam's use of a "tube-map" style diagram to summarise his travels. This will go into a collection of similar tube-map remixed images that I'm collecting for an event in London later in the year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Postcards from the edge...

...of Yorkshire

Thanks to my psychogeographical contact from Leeds... @concretepost on Twitter...

A very nice looking project in SCARBOROUGH.

The project has involved the local population working with Electric Angel to produce a rather excellent POSTCARD SET. Local people worked with a poet and photographer to explore places that had a particular "meaning".

There is some excellent work coming out of the CREATIVE COAST partnership which fits very nicely with the idea of representing and relating to a place : all part of the Mission:Explore philosophy too, of course...

I am going to be in Scarborough later in the month and will certainly see how many of these cards I can track down...

Will also be picking up the CHART SCARBOROUGH map from the Tourist Information Centre. (Can be downloaded from here in PDF format)

Description of project:

In the past, people came to Scarborough because they saw something special in the town. Now you can follow paths around Scarborough to experience the diverse range of culture, art and heritage that the town has to offer today. Discover paintings, sculpture, murals, ceramics, digital media, photography, theatre, film, live music, spoken word and more. Take in the scenery that inspired renowned poets, writers and artists to produce some of their best work.

The map and the trails which you can find on this website provide exciting new ways to access Scarborough’s local arts scene of today and help you discover the quality and diversity of its cultural roots. You can even share favourite places and events by submitting your own trail.

From the classic to the contemporary, take a journey of discovery through some of the high points of Scarborough’s thriving and growing creative scene. This is YOUR journey. Whatever path you take will offer a new way of experiencing England’s very first seaside resort.

Images and more details HERE.

While we're on the theme of postcards, I enjoyed reading this Daily Mail article on the postcards of Donald McGill: the father of the 'saucy postcard'....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brandscapes in London

Just started to write something on this scheme which will emerge at the end of the year. There's lots of geography in the mapping of the usage of the scheme which has started to emerge, and also in the impact on London of the Barclays blue branding which has started to appear in lots of locations...

This has led me to quite a few cultural geography links, such as the culture of travelling around London, and the impact of the Barclays blue "brandscape" on the landscape of London...


Image thanks to WanderingWhitehorse and shared under Creative Commons license

An interesting tweet I read today said that apparently Walmart is the number 1 tourist destination in the USA.
I have heard before about the large number of people who 'holiday' in Walmart car parks by parking up overnight in them, but have been unable to find more clarification on this claim. It seems that Walmart allow RV's (motor-homes) to park up overnight which has apparently created some issues with other businesses.

As it happened, I then caught up some back-episodes of "Family Guy" and there was an episode on a huge store called Superstore USA... very good...
One scene involved the characters discussing protesting about the growing power of the shop: they needed board, paper and pens to make placards.. "well, Superstore USA stocks all of those things!"

Save money... live better...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Avast behind...

Yesterday was the big day for the launch of our Mission:Explore London iPhone app.
The app was developed in association with the WORKSHOP.
If you don't have an iPhone / iPod touch / iPad (and if not, why not ?) you can see all the missions on our MISSION EXPLORE WEBSITE and also remember to BUY THE BOOK...

If you have an iPhone, download the app and give us a review / rating please...

We had the Golden Hinde booked for the event.
Here's a slideshow of the first part of the event.
Thanks to everyone who came along and enjoyed the evening...