Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas blogging break...

I'm about to take my annual break from blogging for a few days...

Thanks for reading Cultcha this year.
I've managed to add 46 posts this year, around one a week.

Image: Ronald Lampitt, who also illustrated 'The Map that came to Life' and many Ladybird books...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Current listening...

Quite apt…

A world of music

"Online radio is this ancient technology in a way. So we decided to use it as a sort of navigational tool."

This is a neat map and music project: Radio Garden.
Click the map and find radio stations all over the world.

Drag the map and hear the static as the radio retunes to the next available station….
This was my local one that it started playing straight away…. Radio West Norfolk.
The website uses ESRIs mapping and was produced by Jonathan Puckey at @studiopuckey

Why not provide a list of cities, and ask students to find them (reinforcing geographical knowledge as to where they are) and also assess the extent to which the music they find there is global and recognisable. What language is spoken by the DJ?
If there is more than one station in a city they are listed in the bottom right, and clicking switches between them.
Where are the 'quiet parts' of the world where there are few stations?
Do they correspond to a map of population density? Use the wonderful CityGeographics map that I blogged about a few days ago.

This Atlantic article also makes the connection with the Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft, which I have used as a motif in my work with the Global Learning Programme. It also describes the idea of connectedness.

Perusing Radio Garden, you begin to imagine the people listening to music as they make coffee, the people sitting in offices and in waiting rooms, the people dancing at the bar after last call, the people cooking dinner for their families, and the people driving to work before dawn. Some of these people look like you. Some do not. Some of them know different truths and have different values. Some live in the lands of your ancestors, but speak languages you cannot understand. Though you may never meet these people, you can begin to know them this way—by listening to what they hear.

Thanks to Fred Martin for reminding me of the potential of this interesting map project. Find out more about it here.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Teachmeet at the GA Conference

David Rogers has revealed the details and signing-up form for the Teachmeet which will be held to coincide the GA Conference in 2017.

The timing is not ideal for some as it is after the Easter holidays, but this remains the essential CPD for teachers of Geography, and is worth seeking special permission to visit.
Hope to see lots of you there.
I'll put myself down as a deputy speaker in case there are gaps, or people who have to withdraw at the last minute. Will be good to see lots of new speakers and attendees.
Also get your ticket from the Eventbrite page if you are wanting to attend.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Emojiography

A few weeks ago, partly coinciding with Practical Pedagogies (see recent posts), I came across a really nice idea using emojis.
For a while, we've had an emoji sheet by the classroom door where students can choose a quick feedback on what they felt about the lesson that had just finished.
This post used the emojis as a resource and a stimulus for discussion during a lesson, and reflection on themes, by providing a symbol with several meanings - a simple semiotic stimulus...

It was the work of Jonathan Taylor, who tweets at @HistGeoBritSec. He'd shared his ideas for megacities.


There are plenty of posts on the twitter feed, and quite a few teachers seem to have been using the idea following Jonathan's session at Practical Pedagogies.

I created a bespoke set of emojis to related to the work we are doing on the Nepal Earthquake. This goes alongside the resource that I wrote for the British Red Cross, which has been well received by lots of people.

I decided to try it with this context, and came across this website where you are presented with a list of emojis and selecting a particular symbols adds it to a tweet box, which can then be sent, and therefore screenshotted...


There's also the Emoji Copy website or Get Emoji, which allows you to build up a list by copying and pasting the icons into a box once again...

A few colleagues then tried the idea having seen it on my twitter feed, and had the idea of perhaps building up a 'library' of emoji boards for use in Geography.
And I came up with the name of 'emojiography' for this sort of activity....

Have you tried this? Share an emoji board...

Image: Alan Parkinson - example of student work

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New GA CPD course - updated for March 2017

Updated with a new date

For a period between 2007 and 2013, I ran regular courses for the Geographical Association, including the Living Geography courses, NQT Conferences, GIS courses with ESRI, New Fieldwork courses and plenty of others. In that time, I worked with hundreds of teachers, and learned a lot about my own practice.
When I returned to teaching full time in 2013, I didn't have time to do them, and stopped, and a 'new' generation of presenters has taken over including Catherine Owen, Ben Ballin, Garry Simmons and Becky Kitchen.

Now, I'm back leading an event for the GA, with a new course, which has the added advantage of being 'my old favourite price': FREE. So you can come along for an afternoon discussing technology and global learning, and networking with other colleagues, and leaving with some new ideas for you I hope.

Now rescheduled for March 2017

It's being put on in Bury St. Edmunds, so it's a handy location for those in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and S. Norfolk, and perhaps even parts of Essex.

It's on the theme of the GLOBAL LEARNING PROGRAMME, (which is funding the course) and has the context of a global village.

It also connects with an online course which I wrote last year for the GA, and is called Exploring our GLOBAL VILLAGE.

There is a connection with the golden record that NASA attached to the Voyager spaceships before they headed out to the edge of the universe. I was interested in a recent Kickstarter project to create replicas.

I hope to see some of you there...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Are you a citizen of the world?

Behind the desk in my classroom is one of Richard Allaway's display posters, with quotes linked to geography. There are several sets of them, and they are recommended for your classroom.
They can be downloaded from here.
It's the one opposite, featuring Socrates.

In a recent speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May said

"...if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what citizenship means."



Theresa May studied Geography at one of the world's great universities (rated number 1 in the world in fact at the moment) and one would expect that she might have come across the idea of scale, and that it is possible to have a connection with a place in numerous ways simultaneously, and that all places are essentially transitory and in constant motion in any case, whether that be by cultural shift, or the slow crawl of the tectonic plates on which they sit. We are all citizens of lots of places. The person who perhaps explained this best was the late Doreen Massey, who has featured many times before on Living Geography.
There is a useful piece on the Royal Geographical Society website which references Doreen's work on Kilburn 

Read this document too (PDF download)

Dr. Mary Gilmartin says this is:

‘a pretty ordinary place’, that is so connected to Ireland and India and Pakistan through colonialism and migration that it is ‘impossible even to begin thinking about Kilburn High Road without bringing into play half the world’ (Massey 1991). The same, Massey claims, is true for any place you can think of. If places are connected in this way, so too are people, which gives a new sense of possibility to the concept of a global citizen. 
Writing in 1885, geographer Petr Kropotkin expressed his version of global citizenship: ‘we are all brethren, whatever our nationality’.

Of course Doreen's work on Kilburn came after Theresa May graduated...


The Washington Post has a pertinent article here.
And this David Shariatmadari piece in The Guardian earlier in the week connected this notion of citizenship with the Brexit vote, which will remove one element of all UK residents 'citizenship' and also means that when I go to Toulouse over half term I'll be forking out rather more for my cold French lager...

I don't understand a lot, but I understand what geography means...

Why not discuss this idea, and the words of Theresa May with students who are exploring citizenship, or global governance or similar themes in the new 'A' level perhaps?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Moana.... cultural appropriation discussion

The latest Disney film features characters from Polynesian mythology...
This Guardian article suggests it's not the first film to engage in this cultural appropriation....

Monday, September 5, 2016

New British Red Cross resource...

A new resource that I wrote for the British Red Cross has now been published, and placed online for download. It's taken almost a year from the original start of the project, which John Lyon asked me to do before he retired from the GA. During that time it has grown and become a major resource.

It's 130 pages long, and packed with ideas for teaching about natural hazards and humanitarian aid.

Free to download from the British Red Cross website.

“We urge all geography teachers to download this free resource and encourage young people to think about the humanitarian impact of natural disasters. This invaluable resource pack has been created with the technical input from the British Red Cross combined with the expertise of GA teacher consultants.”
Rebecca Kitchen, Secondary Curriculum Leader at the Geographical Association

Introduction and curriculum links

Learn about how the resource has been designed to support your teaching and how the content maps to the geography curriculum for KS3, GCSE and A Level.

Session 1: Natural disasters

Session 1 is an introduction to the Natural disasters: earthquakes resource. It sets the scene by introducing the topic of natural disasters alongside general ideas of risk and hazard.
  • What do we mean by natural hazards and disasters and how can they be classified?
  • Which natural hazards are the most common?
  • What impacts will different natural disasters have on individuals and communities?

Session 2: Earthquakes

After a general introduction to natural hazards and disasters, this session moves on to look more specifically at earthquakes, with a focus on tectonic hazards.
  • Where do earthquakes happen, and why?
  • What were the causes of the Nepal earthquake?
  • How can people who live in areas prone to natural hazards prepare themselves for future events?
  • Could the Nepal earthquake have been predicted?

Session 3: The impact of a natural disaster

Session 3 focuses on the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster like an earthquake and the work of local and international Red Cross teams to support people affected.
  • What was the immediate impact of the Nepal earthquake?
  • What was the immediate humanitarian response to the earthquake?
  • How were local and international communities involved in this response?

Session 4: Recovery and resilience

After a natural disaster the Red Cross supports the people affected as they start to recover and rebuild their lives.
  • What are the longer term impacts of a natural disaster and how do people recover?
  • How resilient were individuals and communities in Nepal to the earthquake?
  • How can communities increase their resilience – what about the school community? What might make a community more or less resilient?
  • What lessons can be learned from each event so citizens are better prepared for them in future?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Canterbury Tale

This is in my top 3 films (if I have one...)
There is something about it which grabbed me the first time I saw it, and continues to do so now decades later...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Media literacy and geographies of consumption...

Here's the latest resource that I have worked on (a little - I gave some guidance on the contents and Finnish translation and activities)

It's been developed by Eeva Kemppainen and Ian Cook, who I've worked with previously.

Developed for Pro-Ethical Trade Finland

This guide sets out an approach to teaching media literacy and the geographies of consumption that has been developed by the NGO Pro Ethical Trade Finland (Eettisen kaupan puolesta ry), with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.
A subvertisement workshop involves interpreting and subverting the messages made in product advertising.
With their teachers, students are shown how to critically read advertisements brought into the classroom and encouraged to work out:
• How images and texts are designed to convey a message about a commodity
• How advertisements convey relationships between people, places and things
• What claims advertisements make about the origins and uses of commodities and what information and imagery is missing
• How advertisements can be altered to convey alternative messages
• How and where subvertisements can encourage critical readings of advertisements?

Children and young people are bombarded by diverse commercial messages on social media, on the street, on TV, in movies and in games. Teachers can help students to learn the differences between journalism and marketing as well as develop their capacity to critically interpret what they see and hear.

Would be useful for Cultural Geographers and also connections with Changing Places units as well.




You can download a copy of the whole guide in English (unless you want it in Finnish) as a PDF file.

For more on the previous work that I have done with Ian and Eeva check out the Follow the Things education page.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pole of Cold Exhibition

If you are heading to the Historic Dockyards at Chatham over the next few months, you can check out a specially expanded version of the Pole of Cold exhibition which has been to several other locations over the last few years.


This is the expedition which I got involved with in a small way by writing the educational resources, funded by the RGS-IBG (as was the expedition).

The resources won a Scottish Association of Geography Teacher's (SAGT) Award in 2014.

Read more about it in earlier posts on this blog.

Further details of the exhibition:

Discover the mystical world of the Arctic and the people who live there.  From Shamanism to ice cream. Kent’s very own polar explorer Felicity Aston MBE presents a diverse and exciting exhibition, which combines the natural world, adventure and art.  This compelling exhibition gives an insight into the coldest place on earth.
Pole of Cold explores what life is like in some of the coldest permanently inhabited places in the Arctic.  The photographs and words are from the expedition led by Felicity Aston and are visually stunning.
This exhibition mixes stunning photography with a number of interactive elements:
  • Try on a pair of snow goggles or mittens worn to protect against the cold
  • Design your own polar clothing in our own version of a Siberian house
  • Listen to traditional chants known as ‘joiking*’
  • Discover a series of little known facts about the peoples of the Arctic through your journey in the gallery
  • Tell us what winter means to you!

New 'A' level book now published...

Breaking into the summer break for some important news

The AQA 'A' level Geography textbook that I worked for over 2 years on editing and co-writing (and re-writing) is now in stock at the publishers! Order your copies now.

Thanks again to everyone who helped with the project!

Image: Caroline Walton from CUP

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Crystal Serenity - cultural opportunities...

This post has been in draft for a couple of months, and the story has evolved since it was first announced. This would now be a useful idea for exploring fragile cold environments.

I'm going to try to develop this as an evolved case study piece, but ran out of time… will come back to this I think

I've just read a Jonathan Franzen piece on Antarctica in the Times which was excellent and worth hunting out...

The Crystal Serenity is a large cruise ship, which is going to boldly go on a voyage this summer, setting off in August 2016… and it's one that all geographers should be fascinated by. The ship is going to sail around the north of Canada, and go through what would have been referred to in the past as the Northwest Passage.
The ship's website has a range of detail on the voyage, which includes the itinerary and the route that the ship is going to take. I won't put it here due to copyright, but it's well worth hunting out and taking a look.

The voyage is rather expensive too (at over $20 000 per person), as all Polar voyages are, and apparently all the places have been booked.

This has attracted a lot of interest given the size of the ship, and also the nature of the voyage, which is a commercial voyage through an area which is being changed by human activity, and the ship may well cause other interruptions to daily life for people who live in the area.

The ship will be accompanied on the voyage by the BAS ship Sir Ernest Shackleton.
This has a heavily armoured hull which can withstand ice, and will also be able to have a
range of additional equipment and potentially help with an evacuation if there is a problem with the cruise ship. There has been some criticism of a scientific ship being used in this way.
There is a Canadian radio show here which includes a useful 30 minute report on the proposed voyage, although it won't be there for ever.

The Guardian has published an article on the voyage, which provides some useful additional information.

However, Klaus Dodds, who specialises in geopolitics has pointed out that there are lots of different perspectives at play in the Arctic, and this is just one of them. This is excellent on how Nunavut and Cambridge Bay is preparing for the visit.

And via Twitter, I came across a useful few tweets with ideas that are relevant, including from people living in the area.

A Pew Trust research report also contains some very useful diagrams and data on the growing changes in the Arctic.

There's a splendid infographic on this National Post article.

And finally, there was a report published recently on the sustainability credentials of cruise holidays, and the impact of these large ships on the sea through which they sail.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony

Cultural geography was at the heart of this really enjoyable Opening ceremony.

There were images of the rainforest, the arrival of European migrants, slavery, the changes in the landscape, and the growth of the cities and the favelas.
There was a major element of the environment about the event, with some visualisations on climate change being displayed prominently...

I enjoyed the city scenes with amazing projections on the floor of the stadium, and the fireworks were good as well.

The ceremony was shown with a delay in the USA apparently, and according to an article:
NBC responded to online criticism by saying that its team needed time to edit the ceremony and put it into context for viewers in the US.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: "It's not a sports competition.
"It's a cultural ceremony that requires deep levels of understanding, with numerous camera angles and our commentary laid over it.

"We think it's important to give it the proper context. And primetime is still when the most people are available to watch."

Pixar Piper

Out to see 'Finding Dory' today which is excellent - I preferred it to 'Finding Nemo' as there's more humour and invention, and of course the familiarity with the characters helps...
The short film that went with it was also wonderful. It's called 'Piper' and has exploration and overcoming fear at its heart... and of course it looks beautiful...
Are you ready to brave the waves?


Well done to Ollie Bray

Ollie has just finished an amazing 4228.5 mile unsupported ride across the USA from West to East. A really inspirational ride, and look forward to reading the book.

TransAM Miles: 4228.5 miles

Getting Lost / Accessing Services off-route miles: 36 miles

Total Miles: 4264.5 miles

Total Time: 28 days, 2 hours and 46 mins

Average miles per day: 152 miles

Longest Mileage Day: 202 miles (who even thought that was possible!)

Shortage Milage Day: 73 miles

Normal time cycling each day: 16/17 hours

Total punctures: Six

Tires worn out: Five (three back and two front)

Brake Pads worn out: Two sets

Crashes: One (Day 14 - all healed now but week three was pretty sore!)

Lowest Point: Sea Level 0m/ft at Astoria and Yorktown

Highest Point: 3617m / 11,539ft at Hoosier Pass, Colorado

Tubes of Chamois Cream used: 2.5

Favorite State: Wyoming (Can’t beat Yellowstone and the Tetons + good to re-visit some of the places that I peddled on the 2008 Divide Route)

Least Favorite State: Kentucky

Total Beers consumed: Three (yes, three in 28 days… that's how tough / little time there has been!)

Bikes for sale: One (well used but loved and with full service history from one careful male owner…)


Ollie at the start:
On the continental divide:
And at the finish....

Friday, August 5, 2016

Google Favela Tour

Google has been working in the favelas of Brazil to produce a virtual fieldtrip experience which, with the Olympics about to start in earnest (some events have already started) is well worth taking a look at. Thanks to Ben Hennig for the tipoff to this resource.

Favelas are being mapped because "a big part of having an identity is having an atlas".
They are not just a place, they are a people, and to fully understand them, you must go inside...

This is colourful and is well worth experiencing (make sure that you wear your headphones when you do)


Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokemon Go - a cultural phenomenon...

Pokemon Go has been receiving a LOT of media attention.

This is now being described as a cultural phenomenon, and I will be blogging about the geographical aspects of the app here and over on LivingGeography.

Let me know if you have any articles that you come across relating to the use of the app.

We already have plenty written about the way that young people are spending time outside, but are they taking notice of where they are going?
Are they looking at the nature around them, or just the screen and their pokedex?

This article describes the idea that young people perhaps know more species of Pokemon than they know species of native plants and animals... You can also download the Phylo(mon) Card Game.

National Parks Week

National Parks Week is the National Parks family's annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain's breathing spaces.
It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016.

The theme for National Parks Week 2016 is adventure
. With diverse landscapes, activities and events there's an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you! 


One way to ensure that adventures take place is to get hold of a copy of Mission:Explore National Parks.
Available from all National Park shops for £5 or 500p....

I'm off to the Norfolk Broads later in the week for my National Park adventure...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

'A' level book gone to print

After two years and thousands of hours of effort, the 'A' level textbook for the new AQA specification has now gone to print. It will be published by Cambridge University Press. This is great news, as it means that the book will now be out several weeks before other similar books, and also ahead of the end of the summer break, so teachers will be able to have access to it in the crucial few weeks before the start of the new academic year.

I was the series editor for the book, and also the associated materials. You can see the names of the author team on the cover image below - a great team, helped by a large team from CUP.


You can find out more about the book (and order your copies) here.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

50 fondest childhood memories from East Anglia

According to a survey carried out recently…

How many do you agree with?


1. Family trips to the beach


2. Watching Top of the Pops


3. Hop scotch


4. Hide and seek


5. Fish and chips


6. Pic n Mix sweets


7. Collecting shells on the beach


8. Ice cream van music


9. Sports days


10. Playground games (British bulldog etc.)


11. Watching children’s’ TV


12. Kiss chase


13. Recording the music charts on a Sunday


14. Paddling in the sea


15. Pencil cases


16. Climbing trees


17. Collecting toys/ cards/ collectibles etc.


18. Going to Woolworths to buy records


19. Dinner ladies


20. Fighting with my siblings


21. Ice creams from the ice cream van


22. School dinners


23. Egg and spoon race


24. Going ‘back to school’ shopping at the end of summer holidays


25. Playing outside until it was dark


26. Visiting cousins


27. Reading magazines


28. Fishing for tad poles in a pond


29. Sleepovers with friends


30. Your teeth falling out and putting them under your pillow


31. Ice cream floats


32. Exploring rock pools


33. Making daisy chains and wearing them around your head


34. Using jumpers for goal posts


35. School field trips


36. Staying up late for New Year’s parties


37. Playing in the paddling pool


38. Running around bare foot outside


39. Playing on a rope swing in the woods


40. School packed lunches


41. Having a weekend job


42. Scratch and sniff stickers


43. School tuck shop


44. Playing tennis against the back of the house


45. Swimming in cold sea


46. Being scared after losing parents while in the supermarket/out etc.


47. Building forts in the woods


48. Paper rounds


49. Practising your musical instrument


50. Getting up really early in the morning to go on holiday

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Art and the landscape...

Out to the Norfolk coast today to visit Cley16: an annual art exhibition which takes place in the church in Cley and other nearby locations. These included a piece by Brian Korteling which is shown below, and which I really liked. It represents the view as taken from 3 different perspectives, and breaks up the lines nicely...


Sunday, July 10, 2016

160 000 views

Thanks for visiting and reading.

Here's to a cultural summer ahead.... will be sharing some of my highlights here...

Don't forget to check out my GeoLibrary project, which is coming towards its conclusion, with 365 books and other media all with a geographical theme.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Do it Kits

I've worked with Helen from Mission:Explore for years now, on all of our books and other materials, and also worked with her on the INTEL DISTANCE project (you can search on the blog to find out more about that, and other projects with a whole range of partners and clients.
Helen's latest work is taking her into 'making', and the use of Arduino boards and ICT, alongside laser cut or 3D printed objects.
She has just launched her first kit, which is on the DO IT KITS website, as an individual kit, or as a class set. I had a chance to play with one of the kits at the GeoVation space, and they are very nicely put together and provide a range of curriculum materials.

Here's the description from the website.

Test your reaction time and learn about neurons, synapses, ethics, human experimentation, computer and human sensing systems, and working scientifically. Time to React comes with over three hours of lesson plans for GCSE Biology, with related activities for Computing and Physics. Also suitable for Code Club - or anyone who wants a cool box with a massive red button that tests your reaction time!

Over the summer we'll be finalising and launching three more maker kits for the classroom: Make Your Own Weather Station, Soil Sensors and Musical Waves.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

RIP Gordon Murray - creator of Trumptonshire

I was sad to hear of the death of Gordon Murray earlier this week, and it triggered some nostalgia, and led me to hunt out my DVD box set of the three series that I remember watching in the late 1960s....
Camberwick Green
Trumpton
Chigley
which Murray created. They were based on an idea of nostalgic 'middle England', and featured a range of characters including the famous fire crew, Windy Miller, and the workers of a biscuit factory. There was the classic voice of Brian Cant, and some excellent music.

The music, which brings back so many memories of my childhood is featured below...



BBC Front Row featured some memories from Phill Jupitus.

Scope for a resource on the Geography of Trumptonshire, which might also include reference to Radiohead's video for 'Burn the Witch'.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Slo-mo

Just because...
The original Mission:Explore book - now sadly out of print...

Mission Explore slo mo from Alan Parkinson on Vimeo.

Friday, June 17, 2016

10 years of the Edexcel Geography Ning

Over ten years ago, while working as a Head of Geography at a school in King's Lynn, I came across the Ning platform, short for Networking. It offered a free (at the time) platform which had the features of all sorts of other sites in one:
- bulletin board for discussions
- chat room
- hosting of image galleries
- hosting of videos, with embed codes
- numerous groups with membership
- profile pages

Documents could be attached to discussions and this allowed for a community to develop, which could chat, share ideas and join groups around sub-themes.
I built a Ning to support 6th form students and it worked well - in fact I did my first teachmeet presentation back in 2008 on Nings.

In June 2007, faced with the changes that were coming at 'A' level, we opted for Edexcel as the most forward thinking of the new specifications. They were introducing new ideas for the time, including ideas such as Rebranding Places, and a unit on Cultural Geography. We were teaching the OCR Pilot GCSE Geography at the time, and so the Edexcel spec was the best follow on for a forward thinking and creative department like the one I led at the time. I had a background in supporting teachers through my GeographyPages website, which was still getting many thousand of visitors a day. I didn't want to have to resource and prepare a whole new 'A' level course by myself over the summer, so I started a NING called New Edexcel Geog.

The NING is now, I've just realised, 10 years old!
It's been a decade of teachers helping other teachers.
Thanks to Jon Wolton for funding the NING for the last 6 years or so.
There are over 4300 members now.

And thanks to anyone who has ever shared a resource, or joined a discussion.

We're now preparing for the New New EdexcelGeog from September 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

26 years ago today

I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest...


One of the greatest pieces of music ever was released.. apart from the final few minutes when Janet Brown appears...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Free 'A' level course

Geography teachers are invited to a one day workshop at the University of Manchester on 24th June, 2016 to support the launch of the new A-Level Geography Syllabus.

Parallel lectures run by Geography@Manchester researchers will deliver the core Geography of space and place theory, the carbon cycle and arid land Geography, the areas of the new syllabus which are perhaps less familiar to some teachers. 

In the afternoon, teachers are invited to a round-table discussion to consider how to translate the new learning to the classroom, in turn generating tangible lesson ideas.

The workshop will be opened by Professor Martin Evans who led the new A-Level consultancy on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society.

This workshop is FREE to attend.

Please book your place by 20th June and indicate which of the three workshops you would like to attend by choosing the relevant ticket.

Coffee will be served with registration from 9.30am in the Foyer of the Humanities Bridgeford Street Building.
WHEN
Friday, 24 June 2016 from 09:30 to 15:00 
WHERE
Humanities Bridgeford Street, Ground Floor Foyer, University of Manchester

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cultural Geography of Landscape

2nd edition of David Matless book on landscape...

Looks like being an essential book on cultural geography....

Friday, May 6, 2016

A spot of Fenland culture in July this year...

Are there similar events in your own home area?
What local culture is worth celebrating in your home region? What would you include in a festival for your locale?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mission:Explore National Parks

Out soon in English and Welsh, the latest of our Explorer HQ books under the Mission:Explore name.
This is Mission:Explore National Parks, and involves the usual shenanigans of creative ideas for kids of all ages.
The books will be available for £5 from all National Park shops in England, Scotland and Wales. Here's a pile fresh back from the printers.



As always it's been wrangled by myself, Dan Raven Ellison and Mark Pearce, and shaped by Helen Steer, who skilfully blended all of our words with some inkings from the mighty Tom Morgan Jones.

Very proud to have been involved with this, and we also have two other projects which are freshly brewed and about to launch. Will tell all when I'm allowed to…

Watch this space for plenty more exciting Explorer HQ news soon….

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An album for desert geomorphologists...

Dune on the cover, and named after the Shamal wind, which blows through Iraq and neighbouring areas…
40 years old now, and my soundtrack for tonight's writing… Featuring the late Pierre Moerlen, one of the best musicians I ever saw playing live…


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Locate that Landmark

Thanks to Rob Chambers for the link to this fun quiz.

Locate that Landmark would be useful for younger students to find well known places, which they could then investigate further.
Which of them are:
a) natural features
b) man-made
c) located in National Parks
d) World Heritage Sites
e) of specific Cultural interest
etc.

You could also do it as a competition, as speed is of the essence as well as accuracy.
On my first go on my phone I scored 10,750 on Level 1 - can you beat that?

Also useful for UK Geography introduction - UK is important in GCSE Geography under the new specifications. Those taking the UK Citizenship test also need to be aware of many of these places too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Geography

Earlier this week, I received a preview copy of the latest book by Danny Dorling and Carl Lee.
The book is called ‘Geography’.
Published by Profile books, this is the latest in a series of books which explore topics, in a similar (but completely different) style to the successful ‘Very Short Introduction’ series, and have previously explored ‘Politics’ and ‘Social Theory’ for example.
Geography is of course impossible to pin down easily in one small book, as it has an ambition which is ‘absurdly vast’, as Alastair Bonnett said in his own book on the subject, but Danny and Carl give it a good go.
The introduction sets the scene for the story to come, exploring the rapidly changing world which geographers try to explore, and tell the story of through their work. In my teaching, I am always looking for the compelling narrative that will draw learners in, and provide opportunities for them to reach their own informed conclusions.
The first chapter in the book: ‘Tradition’ explores the development of geographical thinking, and introduces some of the key ideas that lie behind the subject, and provide the distinctive nature of what it means to use a ‘geographical lens’ to examine the world. It takes the reader on interesting diversions to Damascus, DNA trails, the contested introduction of the term ‘Anthropocene’, PotosĂ­, Sir Joseph Banks and the sad decline of British coal mining.


Geographical questions are never stand-alone. All the questions we ask lead to other questions. Often the answers are elusive. Geography is about joining up the dots that help make up the big picture. Connections are everywhere. The distinction between human and physical geography is often a false schism: they are intimately connected, the unifying factor being the energy that flows through all that we do, see and know.

The book is structured around a series of chapters exploring some key geographical ideas which, when connected, help to explain a lot of the world’s functioning.
Globalisation, Equality and Sustainability are these three big ideas, and there are plenty of brief vignettes to help illustrate each of them in the chapters that follow. These provide food for thought, and prompts for investigations with students (this would be a perfect summer reading book for those about to embark on a course of geographical study – perhaps Year 11s who are about to start one of the new ‘A’ level specifications in September).


There are some similarities in themes to Carl’s previous book ‘Everything is connected to everything else’, which was arguably even more ambitious and sprawling, and is available online here. (I recommend you check out the website if you haven't already seen it)

The book ends with a chapter called ‘Mapping the future’, which connects with one of the other strengths of geography. It is a subject which connects with the future, as well the past and present. It explores themes of environmental protection, global population growth and other challenges (and opportunities) facing the planet.

The book has a few black and white images but, as with all Danny Dorling’s books there are plenty of supporting web resources. These include links to large versions of the new maps that Ben Hennig has produced for the books, including one which is very useful for those exploring globalization as it shows the route of ships from Dalian in China to the ports of Europe.

There's also a section of useful weblinks, which I'm pleased to say gives a mention to this very blog.... and puts me in esteemed company too...

Thanks to Carl for sending me a copy in advance. It was a swift and enjoyable read, which opened up some nice avenues to explore further, and I’ve passed it on to my colleague to enjoy. Definitely one for the geography library for your department, or for your shelves at home.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

TV location map

This map, created by Tim Ritz has been doing the rounds of social media this weekend, and now been picked up by a few newspapers too, who are sharing the map which shows where a large number of TV series have been filmed.
This is an area that I haven't yet developed, but has been on my list of 'units to develop at some point' for some time.
It would be interesting to try to work out which programmes have been filmed close to where you live. I live close to the Norfolk coast and also Swaffham, so we have 'Alan Partridge' connections, and also the Stephen Fry series 'Kingdom'.
Ely Cathedral is also regularly used for filming, recently the new version of 'Macbeth' was filmed there and the Cathedral can be seen in the film's trailer.
Act as a location scout and work out a suitable location to film a number of key scenes in a new movie, and provide the context and some requirements - a good way to use StreetView imagery and mapping perhaps...

Image: Copyright Tim Ritz - you can buy copies of it in different sizes here too.

Good to see the Detectorists getting a mention too...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lizard King

This is helping me through the marking tonight…

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

English Dialects - cultural geography of linguistics...

While driving home yesterday I was listening to an interview on BBC Radio Norfolk with one of the people behind the English Dialects app. They were explaining the way that it works, by listening to particular words and how they are pronounced, and also the emphasis on vowels, along with local dialect words. There are a few of these in the quiz, such as the choice of word for a 'splinter' of wood that might get stuck under your skin... is that called a spell where you're from?
There's a Telegraph article on the app here.

I had a go and submitted my answers and location - it was not too accurate, but then I've spent half my life in Yorkshire and (just over) half in Norfolk - which are two quite different dialects... and have a sort of neither one nor the other accent...
Interesting to try with students perhaps if you have airplay...

Monday, January 4, 2016

UK Blog Awards

Voting for these awards is now open, and you can apparently vote for my LivingGeography blog to win in the education category if you had a mind to…
Click the picture below to be taken to the voting page.
Voting is open from 4th to 26th January 2016 - thanks if you vote for me - I have no expectation of winning, but you've got to be in in to win it...