Showing posts from August, 2007

The past is another country....

Dug out an old Boots “Page a Day” diary from 1975: black hardback cover… On July 29 th , I saw the Queen from out of my Nanan’s window in Herringthorpe, Rotherham . Did a lot of cycling at the time, and also played or watched a lot of bowls. Also went to the local swimming baths on Sheffield Road in Rotherham , which had a statue in the entrance. You had to rub his nose for luck. What I didn’t know then, was that it was of Thomas Burgess who was the 2 nd man to swim the English Channel – no-one remembers those who came second do they ? Sheffield Road baths was a classic old swimming baths. Also went to Herringthorpe Leisure Centre, which was a classic 1970s building with a wave machine and everything. It was also a concert venue for the Classic Rock Society. Read that the Sheffield Road baths was closed in 2004 as it was unsafe…“Major structural defects, including extensive cracks, have been found during inspections at the Sheffield Road baths, which opened in 1

Caravan Gallery

Came across the CARAVAN GALLERY postcards in the shop at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool. They has produced a series of excellent postcards which feature a range of images of locations around the country and abroad. There's a good link to geography in that they offer an 'alternative' view of familiar places. I will reproduce one card below for representational purposes only, but would encourage you to visit the GALLERIES page - there are loads of images: SELECT ONE FROM THE DROP DOWN BOX... They ask their visitors to answer some questions, and the SURVEYS are interesting. Led me to this site: I'M NOT A TOURIST I LIVE HERE .... Click on the CARAVAN GALLERY link from the ARTISTS page and you can see some great images which are great for the PILOT GCSE Geography unit on MY PLACE as well as CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY on 'Britishness'. How about taking your own pictures and we can create our own POSTCARDS or ANIMOTOs

"Another Place"

Just back from a short break in Liverpool, and to see Anthony Gormley's "Another Place" , which is very much recommended... Also, for those of you using BLOGGER, you may not have noticed that there's now a VIDEO UPLOAD button - upload a video up to 100Mb in size... May try it later...

Homer Simpson

Ancient culture (or is it ?) meets modern...

The Secret Life of the Motorway

"You could define us solely as a motorway race rather than an island race." Will Self This has been an excellent series in the last week: 3 x 1 hour episodes which were each fascinating in their own right. The third episode lost its way a little (if you'll excuse the pun) Lots of Cultural Geography too of course... Motorways led to a change in the way that we took our holidays, especially after the Beeching Axe. Has also led to the rise in suburbanisation and the rise of commuting. Rural labouring poor fled the countryside and the middle classes moved in. I liked this movie a lot: "Buying an ice cream on the M25" And here is Harry Enfield... (warning, contains the word "bloody...")


When I was trying to decide the TV programme that summed up my teenage years (see earlier post), one of the programmes I thought about was the classic "Porridge". Just watching an episode on UKTV Gold (waiting for the Simpsons to start - more on those later in the year !), and Godber, Fletch's cellmate is just about to be released, and he apparently has "his one 'O' Level in Geography" Fletch says "Geography ? I bet he'll get lost as soon as he gets outside the prison gates he will..."


Regular readers of my other blogs will know that I have mentioned Will Self and his Psychogeography column before. This is featured in the Satuday "Independent". A collection of the columns is due to be published in October, and can be preordered from AMAZON . Great Ralph Steadman cartoons too...

The World in One City

This is an interesting project to try to find people who are living in London, but were originally from other countries. The idea is to try and find 'the world' i.e. someone from every country 'in one city' i.e. London. They're making quite good progress as you can see from THE BLOG , and there was also an article on the project in THE OBSERVER .

Cultural Objects

This is an idea from Tony Cassidy . I blogged about it earlier, but here is my response... Since the students doing the Pilot GCSE are teenagers (yes, that means you...) they will have particular cultural interests at the moment which they won't necessarily feel the same way about in 10 or 20 years time (though they may feel nostalgic about them, and I still listen to some of the same music - I ditched the combat jacket though...) Choose some 'objects' under the following headings (some or all of them...) I decided to have a go, and came up with my own from the mid 70s-early 80s... and finally, here are my wife's memories of teenage years... We will be doing this as an activity later in the year... Start thinking now...

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day is on October 15th. The theme of the day is THE ENVIRONMENT. Watch the video below for more details. This blog has signed up for BLOG ACTION DAY . Make sure your blog is too.

Teenage Kicks... Cultural Objects...

Tony Cassidy has given me an idea for an exercise which we will use later this year, but which I will also encourage members of staff (and any other visitors to the site) to complete as well before we get started. Here's a slide which gives Tony's ' cultural icons ' of his teenage years, which were 1987-1997... I'd like you to answer these questions. a) When were you a teenager ? (give the years) b) Choose one 'cultural object' from the following list of headings which defined your teenage years the most: (you don't need to give reasons, but be prepared to be able to if challenged...) Clothes Music Film Gadget Book TV Programme Food and Drink For each one name the country of origin of the 'object' c) How different are yours from Tony's (or similar to them) d) Do they tell us anything about the countries shaping culture in that period ? Why might this be? I'll post mine later tonight if I get the chance (tomorrow if not) for comparison.

Cultural Cities

Came across a few interesting and useful resources for those who want to explore the cultural diversity of cities. A useful website is INTERCULTURAL CITY : which is a bit overdesigned and not as easy to navigate as it could be. Has some very useful DOWNLOADS and CASE STUDIES . Which cities are cultural ? The EU has a capital of culture scheme , and Liverpool is due to be a capital of culture for 2008 - was there this week, to see Anthony Gormley, Tate, Albert Dock etc. The 'Amistad': the famous slave ship was in the docks, and people were queueing to go on board...

Culture: High or Low ? Popular or Elite ?

OK, which of these do you think would be HIGH culture, and which would be POPULAR culture. Why not do a HIGHER or LOWER style activity a bit like "Play your cards right" PLAY YOUR CULTURE RIGHT !! Remember to shout 'HIGHER' or 'LOWER' .... 1. Watching TV Soap operas... 2. A Day at the Races: Royal Ascot perhaps ? 3. A night at the Opera 4. A night in a Workingman's Club 5. A trip round a stately home 6. A game of Bingo 7. Watching a box set of 'Desperate Housewives' on DVD 8. Reading "Heat" Magazine... Can you suggest some other examples ? Add them as comments... Image of Ascot from FLICKR user G w Clark for which many thanks...

UK Citizenship Test

Part of the Cultural agenda is the issue of UK Citizenship and the issue of Multicultural Britain. There are several useful websites in this area. The 'official' site gives details about the areas that are covered in the test. These include the following: Migration to Britain The changing role of women Children, family and young people: families, education and legal ages for activities Population The regions of Britain Religion and tolerance Customs and traditions, including Saints Days How is the UK governed ? Housing and services in and for the home Money and credit Health Education Leisure Travel and transport Looking for work Equal rights and discrimination Childcare and children at work Tony Cassidy has produced some excellent resources on the theme of Citizenship and the issue of British identity. The BBC has produced an interesting trial quiz on CITIZENSHIP . There are 14 challenging questions. To pass the actual test you need to score at least 75% Various companies hav


Just reading Billy Bragg's "The Progressive Patriot" - got mixed reviews, but some nice ideas on Britishness and the growth of multicultural England. It's worth checking some postings on my Pilot GCSE Blog (with the label ENGLAND), and looking at labels like Britishness and Fish and Chips . Some great resources have been produced in this area by Tony Cassidy, particularly some work relating to the UK Citizenship Test. Another great resource is Common Ground's "England in Particular" - more on this in a later post...

Food, Glorious Food...

One aspect of a country or a region that defines it is its FOOD. This can be explored thanks to a new interactive site at the British Library site called FOOD STORIES. You'll need FLASH 8 to explore this site in full. The site was put together in association with another, more involved, project called CULTURES OF CONSUMPTION (which has a nice barcode logo...) and is produced in association with Birkbeck College, University of London. There's a very useful report on 4 and a half lessons learnt HERE (PDF download) and you can also download summaries of some of the RESEARCH PROJECTS . There are also TEACHERS' NOTES, CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES and an INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS' NOTEBOOK to help students investigate the site. There are useful short reports on a huge range of food related topics including: Chinese Restaurants and their impact on 1950s life Someone eating Indian food for the first time in the 1960s the politics of Caribbean food eating spaghetti for the first time

What is Cultural Geography ?

OK. Welcome to my latest GeoBlog... First port of call for the first post is to establish what Cultural Geography is... Wikipedia says it is: "a sub-field within human geography. Cultural Geography is the study of spatial variations among cultural groups and the spatial functioning of society. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government,and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially (Jordan et. al., 1994)" And that it can include studies of: Globalisation: the blending of cultures so that they become more alike Cultural Imperialism: where one culture tries to impose itself or spreads its influence into others, and can include Empires... Cultural Landscapes: this fits in with a recent project I have been involved with on the issue of Landscape Colonialism and migration As far as the exam specification goes: "Focus on examining what culture is and wh