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)