Showing posts from 2009

New Imagined Village

Great "sense of place" and connection with music, the past, tradition, rural landscapes and handmade music... New Imagined Village album to kick off 2010 in style: EMPIRE and LOVE

See you in 2010... or earlier if I find out there's a new Imagined Village album coming out...

Merry Christmas ! Image by Amalia Versaci on Flickr...

True North

There has been no shortage of books about 'the North' over the years, and I own quite a few of them. Have to say I'm really enjoying Martin Wainwright's book at the moment now - full of great images as well as anecdotes and information about the changing nature of the North... A nice AUDIO SLIDESHOW on the Guardian website. There are quite a few in the Guardian's TRAVEL section too...

Very flat, Norfolk

Just got my RGS-IBG Bulletin for Spring 2010 . Some good events coming up, and discovered that I'm featured on p. 20... This is my lecture at the Norfolk GA branch in March, when I'm exploring ideas of PLACE in the context of Norfolk... I'll be using a few articles from the Autumn 2008 issue of GEOGRAPHY. Remember that if you're a GA member, you can download the last 5 years issues of the journal(s) you subscribe to. I'll be trailing some elements of the lecture over at the LOOK AT LANDSCAPES blog in the next few months. Also plan to write the lecture up and produce a resource that other colleagues can use on the meaning of "place"... There'll be plenty on the cultural aspects of place, and have been reading the relevant sections of Jon Anderson's Cultural Geography text...

Fish and Chips: Cultural Geography

When I was teaching OCR Pilot GCSE, we did a unit on Cultural Geography. One of the icons of the UK that we always focussed on was Fish and Chips... A good BBC MAGAZINE feature on Fish and Chips has just been added.


Nice infographics are a favourite thing of mine... This graphical retelling of the story of Red Riding Hood by Tomas Nilsson of Sweden is superb... It's in the style of a Royksopp video called "Remind me", which can be viewed here, and features a range of geographical connections...

Urban Tweet Day

Dan Raven Ellison has launched a new project URBAN TWEET DAY . U RBAN TWEET DAY is a side project of URBAN EARTH. The idea is to record our perspective on our urban lives and habitat through an online stream of tweets that describe urban events and experiences as they happen. By the end of the urban day we will have created a collaborative narrative - a descriptive portrait of urban life.. To take part all you need is: 1. The ability to Tweet ( ) 2. To be in an urban area on Saturday 9th January 2010 3. To include #utday in each of your related tweets We'll then be able to search the tweets to reveal our story. Please do spread the word around, the more of us the better.. and leading up to the day, add the URBAN TWEET DAY Twibbon to your Twitter profile picture. If you don't already, you can follow us on Twitter here . Any questions, thoughts or ideas?

Understanding Cultural Geography

Had a quick flick through this book earlier in the week, and one that was mentioned over on the Edexcel NING. It's called "Understanding Cultural Geography : Places and Traces" by Jon Anderson (not the singer with 'Yes') Has a lovely clear introduction on the importance of culture in our lives, and a range of fascinating chapters. I wanted to sit there and read it rather than get on with what I was supposed to be doing. Available for just under £20 from Amazon . What's nice is the relationship between the cultural forms and PLACE. The book begins by saying "We live in a world of cultural places... we contribute to it every day and night." Context is vital of course with culture, and I use the word a lot when describing the work that teachers do... Cultural geography tries to explore "the intersections of context and culture. It asks why cultural activities happen in particular ways in particular contexts." Some really interesting sections

Edexcel Cultural Geography Contexts

Those teachers who have opted for the Edexcel 'A' level specification in the UK (for students aged 16-18), there is a unit called "The World of Cultural Diversity" . Today, the pre-release titles were announced. Students will be expected to prepare OPTION 4: The World of Cultural Diversity • Explore what is meant by a global culture, how it is defined and, if it exists, what its characteristics are. • Research contrasting locations, some of which show the effects of cultural globalisation and others which seem to be resisting the process. Would be interested in hearing the thoughts of any blog readers on any suggested resources or thoughts on these particular contexts...

"Teacher no. 4 please..."

Image by Flickr user abooth202 under Creative Commons license An interesting article in Friday's TES on a plan by Stephen Heppell to open up a school in Rotherham : my home town. The school is, interestingly, going to be located in an empty department store in the town centre... Stephen Heppell suggests that the layout of shops is more suited to modern teaching approaches than classrooms, and avoided the idea of "cells and bells" . Similar schemes are already in operation in other countries, including the US and New Zealand. A quote that struck a chord: "Rotherham's a nice place, but when you walk through it, it's quite sad because whole streets are boarded up. When Burger King had gone there was a sign in the window saying 'Nothing of value left in these premises' - and I tried to imagine what had ever been there of value..." This was suggested as being a useful use of the freehold for shops: if it's handed over for a few year's the bui

The World of Cultural Diversity

For those doing Edexcel A2, Jon Wolton has added a range of useful support materials for those doing the A2 exam this year. One of them is to support the unit called THE WORLD OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY , and would be worth a look to provide some background on the topic. An excellent resource.

Owning the Weather

Thanks to @bldgblog on Twitter for this tip off.... OWNING THE WEATHER is a new film on Weather Modification The trailer is well worth watching....

Coronation Street in Street View

Coronation Street has been added to Google Street View. View Larger Map Could be a useful place to visit with students, perhaps for a literacy task ? Are there any other soap opera locations in Street View ? Via Twitter.

Grow your own

Several people I know, along with myself have "a bit of land"... This land is virtual farmland, and is part of a game called FARMVILLE, which operates on Facebook as an application. There was a good article in the New York Times sampler which appears in "The Observer" a few weeks ago, which included a description of someone who set their alarm for 1.30am so they could get up and harvest their crops, and then go back to sleep.This blog post describes it as possibly "the most popular game in the world".There is a collaborative element to the game, by placing farms belonging to Facebook friends as your neighbours, the amount of money and 'experience points' that can be earned increases. The game has also been successful in raising almost $ 500 000 for charities working in Haiti, when players spend real money to purchase virtual items to personalise their farms, or buy additional land. An article by Jack Arnott on "boredom as a cash crop" pro

The Climate Challenge

OXFAM have launched a new website called "THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE" ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference. It has a range of games and quizzes featuring celebrities (some of whom you may have heard of) and, usefully, a series of downloads which include the following things below to clutter up your blog post... Your browser does not support iframes. The game is also available in a range of languages including CHINESE .... Why might that be ?

The Road

"The Times" this Saturday named Cormac McCarthy's " The Road " as the book of the decade. I have no problem with that nomination: this is an incredible book, and the plot and setting are utterly compelling. Not sure what to think about it being made into a film. The trailer is HERE : film opens tomorrow in the USA. There has been much discussion about the setting, and comparing it to real places, and plotting the route that the father and son take....

Royal Academy of Art exhibition

My wife went on a school art trip down to the Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Modern yesterday. Below are a few of the images she took of the sculptures outside the building. There was also news of a forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy called EARTH: Art of a changing world... This is timed to coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Change talks, and opens on the 5th of December and goes through to TICKETS CAN BE BOOKED HERE I'm in London during that period so will certainly be going along. There is also a connection with the CAPE FAREWELL project which I used as my POLAR context when teaching the OCR Pilot GCSE Geography...

South Africa - Place of the Year

Thanks to Sarah from the Oxford University Press blog for telling me about the OUP Blog , which recently named South Africa as its Place of the Year.

Language of Landscape Survey - prize draw

The Ordnance Survey Free Maps for 11 Year Olds are arriving in schools - you may already have had yours... When you get the maps, you will also find a couple of (much sought after) hard copies of a publication called "The Language of Landscape" The booklet is supported by a series of downloads from the NATURAL ENGLAND website. I have created a SURVEY MONKEY SURVEY for those who have got their maps, and have also made use of the "Language of Landscape" to help students use the maps: whether inside or outside the classroom (or ideally both...) Click Here to take survey If you have used the maps and the book, please fill in the survey. All completed questionnaires by 1st of December will be entered into a Prize Draw to win a copy of the KS3 Teachers Toolkit title: "Look at it this Way", a copy of the Geography Collective's "Journey Journal" and a few other geographical goodies....

Journey Journal

Spent some time yesterday with Dan Ellison pinging e-mails backwards and forwards with the rather wonderful designers at Can of Worms putting the final touches to the Journey Journal before it went off to the presses for the first print run of 3000 books. Journey Journal is a rather wonderful book for upper secondary / lower secondary age pupils. It is designed to be used when on a "journey" of some kind, perhaps as one of the millions of days which are taken as authorised absences every year, or maybe on a foreign exchange / activity / cultural trip. It's a quirky and creative way of recording the visit, and encouraging young people to take notice of their surroundings. Coming soon to an educational establishment near you. Get in touch via the GEOGRAPHY COLLECTIVE website for more details of how to order....

Game without frontiers...

This game has had some great reviews, and also gone down well with my Twitter network... Saw it at a very good price earlier while doing the weekend shop, so took the plunge, and my daughter and I have been playing it for most of today... It's great fun, and lots of chance to do some lateral thinking... Get scribbling...

McDonalds in France

Cultural globalisation is one theme which has been introduced into a This BBC NEWS article has a useful discussion on the French relationship with McDonalds...


My son can't wait to see the latest Pixar film: UP , which has been a long time coming. The plot involves a balloon salesman who ties balloons to his house and sets off on a journey. There is also a young companion called Russell who makes a lot of having a GPS device so that they will never be lost, although he then loses it...

Culture and Hazards

Over to King Edward VI 5 Ways school in SW Birmingham today. A cross-country trip with more amazing weather thanks to the current high pressure. Took a tour through the southern suburbs of Birmingham thanks to my Garmin which came into its own here. Thanks to Bob Lang and Paula Cooper for the invitation and for hosting us all so well, and giving me a guided tour of the department and the school. The school is certainly a geographical "hub". It's a Humanities school with a 'Geography' specialism, a GA branch , and the centre of an RGS local network. The teaching staff include several Chartered Geographers, and the school also holds a GA Secondary Geography Quality Mark and is a Centre of Excellence. Met up with Professor Iain Stewart from Plymouth University, and a PhD student of his: Kate Donovan, who were delivering a lecture on the theme of geological hazards and their cultural references. Iain is an honorary Vice President of the GA, and also a Primary Geogra

Stuffed and Starved

Stuffed and Starved Just read most of this yesterday on a train journey back from London, and it's a great book for those teaching about issues related to food. The supporting website has a range of resources which would be useful for those wanting additional reference material, including useful related YouTube clips. On the website you can currently " Look inside " the book... Also lots of mentions of the word geography, which is always a bonus :)

Social Inequality

Image by Alan Parkinson, and available under Creative Commons license A conference for level 3 students of Geography, Humanities, Sociology and Health Studies. Organised by Carl Lee, and took place at the University of Sheffield. Danny Dorling and colleagues John Pritchard and Dan Vickers from SASI were present, and presented on the issue of Social Inequality, using images from WORLDMAPPER and talking about their work. The second session involved a discussion on tackling inquality. Thanks to Carl for the invitation. Carl has added a range of the resources that were used at the event to the EDEXCEL 'A' LEVEL NING. It is also worth hunting out a copy of Carl's excellent book on Sheffield: "Home: a Personal Geography of Sheffield" The SASI website features a range of very useful links for those interested in teaching and learning about social inequality. Some notes that I took in the first part of the day will hopefully be added in due course...


Wow.. Remember seeing this at the time, over 30 years ago...

Facebook Profile Template

Check out the great new resources from Tony Cassidy The resources take the shape of a template to produce a FACEBOOK-style "profile" The profile could be for a culture, company, musical or literature genre etc... The template is here: What if they had a Facebook profile? View more presentations from TonyCassidy . And followed shortly after by a TWITTER template, also produced by the inimitable Tony... Twitter Starter Template View more presentations from TonyCassidy . Quality stuff... UPDATE: Here is some fantastic work by Year 9 students from Seaford Head Community College, who used the idea in their Geography lessons with Miss Smith. I love these. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to see some other examples... Facebook and Twitter Profiles View more presentations from Liz Smith .

Latest Shift Happens update

Latest Shift Happens update Because it fills 5 minutes of any CPD session...

Jonathan Meades on Sustainability

Have blogged about Jonathan Meades before, and his particular presentation style which I like... Lunchtime today was spent in the company of the first in the series "Off-Kilter", made for BBC Scotland and was about Aberdeen . I liked the look of the area known as Fitty. Towards the end, he moved on to Donald Trump and his controversial plans for a golf course in the sand dunes close to Aberdeen. He called the planned development "New Trumpton on Sea" and talked about gated communities and their absentee residents. He riffed on the idea of ' sustainability ' and how every architect and development trumpeted its sustainable credentials. New words like : "Sustain-abulous" and "Sustain-astic" ! Called it "architectural correctness"... "It's a slogan of conformist unoriginality..." "The very act of making a building is energy hungry and vastly wasteful even if the building is an eco-igloo of Fairtrade otter dropp

Postcards of the Future

Thanks to Paul Cornish on SLN for the tip off to this great Flash movie of Postcards of the Future. Click the image below to see the movie (SWF format) If you need a blank postcard template (they work well printed on card), you can borrow mine from here. Postcard Template View more presentations from GeoBlogs . Great work by Patrick Blower at Live Draw - check it out here. Two more relevant ones in the archive: Geo Engineering saves the World, and Ecotown

New GA website now live....

The GA web team: Anne Greaves and Ben Major, have been working away for months with designers Ledgard Jepson on a new website for the Geographical Association, and it is now live , after several weeks of beta testing and tweaking. Visit the GA URL to see the new site. The site looks a lot brighter, clearer and easier to navigate, and uses more of the screen’s width. Thanks to a major effort on tagging the resources, it is also easier to find things using the ‘Search’ function if they are not immediately obvious from the home page, and a new ‘Resource Finder’ should help you find something appropriate to the key stage and topic that you are interested in quickly, or items written by a particular author. A one page user guide to the new site and how it’s laid out can be downloaded by following the link (PDF download): Members can also bookmark their most useful sections of the website on their

Facebook and Tony Cassidy

Tony Cassidy 's latest contribution to the geography resources pantheon is a resource which is based on the profile that people create when they join FACEBOOK. Tony has created a blank FACEBOOK profile template in powerpoint, which could then be used to create a template for a huge variety of contexts within the geography classroom. What if they had a Facebook profile? View more presentations from TonyCassidy . Tony himself suggests producing one for Old Harry: an extension of the classic - "Old Harry: This is your Life" idea.... On the SLN Forum , further ideas that were suggested by a number of colleagues included: The area / street the students live in A new migrant arriving in the UK Teenager in Kenya Resident of Dubai Young person on Baffin Island Mt. Vesuvius Could also do it for a Country... Could also use it as a context for teaching about e-safety As many teachers in England and Wales prepare to return to school this week, this is just the sort of simple, cre

Slow Coast

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. Ernest Hemingway Nick Hand is currently cycling around the coast of Britain . His website is SLOW COAST. Along the way, he is creating some wonderful short films, called SOUNDSLIDES made up of interviews with artisans and images taken at various locations. A recent addition was the famous Monday auction held on the green at Burnham Market. This gives a real "sense of place" and it instantly got onto the planning sheet for a lecture next year on Norfolk and "sense of place"... These would be relatively easy to make with students, as they need a sound recorder, and Audacity to do a spot of editing, plus a set of images. You can follo

WDWTWA and a different view

It may be that you haven't yet visited the Who do we think we are website. WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE has a very useful section written by Professor David Lambert , which provides an excellent summary of the appropriate links between geography and identity. The site also has a NEW interactive area, which contains ideas for teaching about cultural diversity in various contexts...

Animoto now with added video...

Here's a quick video I put together to try it out... Nice... Now when people ask me at CPD sessions "can you put videos into Animoto" I can say, "Yes, yes you can...."

#musicmapping - Gracenote Maps

Another Twitter tipoff is the CULTURAL MUSIC maps (thanks to the #musicmapping hashtag, which is worth further investigation) This uses the GRACE NOTE service, which is used to add TRACK INFO to iTunes and other music player software, such as my Creative Zen XFi.... As you can see, the map can be used to focus on a particular country, and you are then presented with the current most popular Top Ten artists and albums for that country. So in Spain for example, there is currently an interest in Michael Jackson and U2, but also some local artists. This is particularly interesting when related to places such as China or Japan. These seem to have fewer European and American acts, particularly Japan. Mousing over the acts and albums tells you a little more about them. Worth using for investigating cultural globalisation and the spread of certain musical artists worldwide. Which countries have indigenous artists resisting the cultural imports ? Lady Gaga big in China ? - enquiry into why

Tourism - new terms...

Image by Alan Parkinson from his "staycation" in Devon this year... Creative Commons licensed... Staycation is one of those words which has appeared this year, in response to an apparent effect of the financial crisis affecting many households, and the relative weakness of the pound against other currencies, particularly the Euro. It's an American term, which is a combination of two words of course. A recent article in the Times provided a glossary of new terms which were being applied to particular types of holiday or short break... How about asking students as part of a unit on tourism to provide a definition for the following terms: 1. Weighcation 2. Gaycation 3. Sackedpackers 4. Palidays 5. Minimoons 6. Voluntourism 7. Babymoons 8. Surfaris 9. Advultures 10. Setjetter (perhaps the place below would be visited by one of these people - it's where scenes from James Bond movie "Die Another Day" were filmed) Image by Val Vannet made available under Creati

Man on a Wire

Man on a Wire followed the remarkable high-wire walk that Philippe Petit did in 1974 between the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. There was remarkable footage of the construction of the World Trade Centre, and the planning of the walk, plus the walk itself... Some other images are available HERE , with thanks to Noel Jenkins for the tipoff... Here is a trailer for the film via You Tube Not sure of the geographical connection yet, but I'll get there...

You've seen the film....

Image eat the star... I remember a story of a cinema where people who had just seen the film "BABE" were met with a sign offering bacon sandwiches at a local cafe with the tagline: "you've seen the film, now eat the star..." Remember ' Finding Nemo ' ? After seeing the film, many children wanted a clown fish, and the demand threatened the species and the coral environments where it lived. They didn't want to eat Nemo as much as take him home and have their own... (although I do have a cartoon somewhere with Nemo chopped up in sushi rolls) This story from June 2008 provides a little more background on the clown fish story. There was also 'Happy Feet', which featured penguins , but there was little chance of parents shelling out for one of those. Other films that created a big demand for pets: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ? The latest anthropomorphic antics of the film " G-Force " feature guinea pigs, and of course these are far

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...

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... w 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 ba

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 p

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

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 ?

I'm a teacher of Geography

My daughter was watching the Gene Wilder "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" the other morning... The Golden Ticket winners have entered the factory, and spot the Oompa Loompas for the first time, and ask where they come from ? "Loompaland" says Willy Wonka... Mrs. Teevee : Loompaland? There's no such place. Willy Wonka: Excuse me, dear lady, but... Mrs. Teevee: Mr. Wonka, I am a teacher of geography. Willy Wonka : Oh, well, then you know all about it and what a terrible country it is. Nothing but desolate wastes and fierce beasts....

Agaetis Byrjun

...rumbling, pings, tjúúúú, palindromic strings, bjargvættur, the coughing brass intro, bamm bamm bamm, the crecendo, the flute, the simplicity, and it fades out. press play again.... 10th Anniversary...

Climate Change projections

Part 1 of the outcomes from Flood Management 09 at the Barbican earlier this week... Many of the speakers referred to the latest climate projections which had been released on the DEFRA website earlier that week, and had been reported in many of newspapers. Hilary Benn introduces the projections as being very 'sobering'. 5 things that need doing: 1. to protect people from the immediate risks 2. to plan (e.g. motorway drainage, emergency plans) for the future - the adaptation report is currently being consulted on until September (one for 6th formers perhaps to get involved with 3. to work internationally on a climate agreement Also refers to importance of Copenhagen 2009 - the website is well worth visiting - has plenty of useful resources for teachers and students 4. to play our part - reduction targets need to be met - working towards a LOW CARBON UK 5. supporting individuals e.g. through the Act on CO2 campaign. The models can be seen by following the links from DEFRA