Newcastle Residential Areas

Clearing out a few old e-mails having run out of space on my GMail account, and was reminded of Kay Williams' urban work here on the Newcastle Areas blog.
Useful for GCSE / 'A' level and similar age groups needing some detail on a city...

Landsat Explorer from ESRI

New page, which has been added to some existing web apps, featuring the Arctic and Antarctica.
Click here to see the Arctic and Antarctic apps.
Then click here to be taken to the new Landsat Explorer App.

Tourists go home...

This is a trend that has been developing for some time, and I decided to put together a StoryMap to collate examples. You can see this lower down this post.
By making this StoryMap collaborative, anyone is free to add their own ideas that they have come across, perhaps in their travels.
Tourism is starting to threaten places in several ways.
Many cities have introduced new rules on tourist behaviours, and there have also been numerous protests from residents too.
This Guardian article sums up many of the issues in Barcelona.
Now some of them are taking more direct action against tourists. These include sprayed slogans, action against tours such as bus trips and protests on tourist beaches.
Paul Berry has blogged on his excellent Devon Geography blog about the impact of tourism in Iceland, as someone who visits fairly regularly. Geographical magazine followed up this story too. Fences are being erected at popular waterfalls to prevent erosion.

Barcelona has been affected by the impact of airbnb in residential neighbourhoods which believe their character is changing.

There is also the 'Game of Thrones' effect in cities such as Dubrovnik. Here, there is a potential for the city's listing as a World Heritage Site to be threatened. As a result, the Mayor is considering some sort of limit on tourists (one option for managing this problem). These large tourist numbers are sometimes the result of cruise ships arriving and disgorging hundreds of passengers for a limited amount of time.
The Mayor said:
"We will lose money in the next two years — a million euros maybe by cutting the number of tourists — but in the future, we will gain much more. We deserve to be a top-quality destination."
"I am not here to make people happy, but to make the quality of life [in this city] better," he added. "Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I'm saying, but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by the keeping the situation as it is."
Venice has set up a campaign about respecting the city: Enjoy, Respect Venice.

There are numerous other examples...

You can now add your own examples to the map below.

It may be better to see it on a laptop or desktop machine rather than the mobile devices that you might be using at the moment to view this blog post.
Thanks in advance for all contributions.
They will be moderated before being added to the map.

I've added 2 examples to get started.
Use the hashtag #geotourismpressures so that they can be collated.

MOCC at the RGS

There is has been a MOCC residency at the RGS for the last few days, and they will also be at the RGS Annual Conference next week.
Growing links with the Follow the Things work that has featured on the blog numerous times, and ideas around consumption and commodities.
Worth a follow....

Fantasy maps....

While cartographers have developed so many ways to present geographic information, the maps that accompany fantasy novels don’t vary a lot in terms of the information they display. They are about location, distance, and terrain for characters to hike through and for us to follow along. They are rarely political maps. They focus on geography over borders and on movement over status
Adrian Daub

From an excellent piece on Longreads.
The Lord of the Rings journey as a Google Map

This is one of my favourites...

Updated GI Learner website

Our GI Learner website has had a bit of a spring clean and refresh for the new school year.

Come in and find out what we've been up to with regards to developing materials around geographical information and GI Science.

Hurricane Harvey

At the time of writing, Hurricane Harvey is heading towards Houston, and is set to be the first major hurricane to hit the USA since 2005. Here it is visualised on Earth Null School.

At the time of blogging, the storm is approaching land, and there's plenty of news coverage and tweets etc. on social media.
Hoping everyone who's not evacuated stays safe...

A useful ABC news page. This has a lot of embedded videos which will play in a loop.

"We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number" 
Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios said at a news conference

Also this:

Distinctive Dartmoor

A couple of weeks ago, on the trail of some Moor Otter sculptures, I visited the National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown. This graphic was in the exhibition space.
Distinctive landscapes...

Water films...

From the UN
The Hydrological Cycle

Where is the World's Water?

Growing cities

Lagos is growing, and fast... It has come from nowhere to become one of the largest cities in the world.
When I was writing the OCR 'A' and 'B' books, I was originally going to have a whole large section on the city, but after consulting with urban expert Alex Schafran I decided that it would be difficult to find a suitable UK city to compare with it...
For that reason, in the end, I decided to go for Leeds, as a city which I had some familiarity with, and Rosario: a city I haven't visited, but which Alex had, and which sits in a similar position in terms of its relative importance as an urban centre within Argentina. There were other similarities which means that the two are 'comparable' in a way that Lagos wouldn't have been...

This BBC Interactive website has been produced by Alastair Leithead, and as you scroll down, it reveals information about this fascinating city, which would be useful for OCR 'B' as it sits alongside the section in Chapter 9.
Scroll down the site and the content reveals itself...


Lovely film mixing visuals of Tokyo with music from the Blade Runner soundtrack.

android dreams from Samuel Cockedey on Vimeo.

Ai WeiWei and Human Flow

A few weeks ago, the Chinese artist Ai WeiWei installed an art piece in a warehouse in Copenhagen, when he crammed it with life jackets taken from Greek beaches, used by Mediterranean migrants.

His new film: Human Flow has now launched, and you can see the trailer here.

150 years of the Shipping Forecast

There have now been 150 years of the Shipping Forecast. I still catch it occasionally if leaving early to drive somewhere...
Here's a lovely animation of it.

Geographers to follow for students...

Came across this excellent idea from Northern Bloke @aimingtoteach on Twitter earlier in the month.
Decided to do a Geography version for the older students who are able to use Twitter, though not at school due to filtering.

Started with the first few, and there are a few other obvious people that I've added, but at the moment it's all looking a bit white male-ish... Does anyone have other suggestions for people to include?

Making a decision... the A27

A good opportunity for an activity at the start of the new academic year.

The A27 is the only east-west trunk road south of the M25, and provides access to coastal communities between Portsmouth and Pevensey. It serves a population of over 750,000 people, and a large number of businesses in locations such as Portsmouth, Havant, Chichester, Arundel, Worthing, Brighton and Hove and Eastbourne.

  • The A27 is already operating at 100%-150% capacity at Arundel (A27 Corridor Feasibility Study 2015)
  • The single carriageway and junctions through Arundel do not cope with existing traffic, which often results in long queues of traffic.
  • Due to congestion, some longer distance traffic uses local roads, which comprises their safety and affects the South Downs National Park and local villages and towns.
  • Population growth and increased economic activity in the region will mean even more traffic using in the future.
  • Without improvement, congestion and delays on the A27 through Arundel will increase.
West Sussex attracts, on average, 17 million visitor days per year, worth approximately £508 million to the local economy.
The scheme will help reduce congestion, improve journey times and reliability, increase safety and support local economic growth.
It is also vital that we respect the South Downs National Park in any decision, and will seek to design a scheme that it is as sensitive as positive to the area.

The A27 bypass around Arundel has 3 suggested routes.
A public consultation is now open, and is going to be open for the first half term of the Autumn term.
For schools in that area particularly, the booklet that can be downloaded from the link would make a good basis for a decision making exercise, and a more local example could be 'created' using Digimap for Schools a la Keytown (or there may be a proposed scheme that could be evaluated)

Image: Highways Agency

Lyme Regis - is erosion beneficial to the town?

 A useful resource for those studying the Jurassic Coast: a popular coastline for coastal case studies.

Enquiry or Inquiry...

As a former Curriculum Development Leader of the Geographical Association, curriculum is something that has occupied a great deal of my time for many years. I've been following the debates over curriculum for some time, which have been developing around the idea of knowledge.
Margaret Roberts has been one of the biggest influences on my teaching for many years.
I always try to get a sense of enquiry into my lessons and wider planning.

What makes a good Geography lesson?
Margaret Roberts' resource here is a good place to start to find the answer.
In many other countries, this process is called Inquiry

The Geo Inquiry process has been explored by National Geographic.

National Geographic Education site has an extremely useful guide to download, which includes a useful diagram shown below which I've used a few times in presentations, and will be using again. It shows what we geographers 'see' when we look at a place.

I also followed some recent sessions at the NCGE conference, which involved Chris Heffernan and other colleagues using these materials.

Debates in Geography Education

The 2nd edition of this book comes out next month
I contributed a chapter again on technology and geography teaching...


For the last few days, millions of people have been making travel plans for today... a total eclipse will take place in the USA. A band stretching across the country will experience a total eclipse, with a great part of the USA seeing a partial eclipse...
I've previously posted an ESRI StoryMap on Eclipses, which you can see further down the home page.
There have been plenty of articles on the impact of this on local communities: traffic chaos, loss to the economy and others are cashing in by renting out their homes, particularly in areas where there is more likely to be a clear sky to see the spectacle.
There have been some economic benefits for many communities taking advantage of their location in the line of totality.
This Guardian article says that the eclipse matches the dark mood many have in the USA about the nation's future.
It's something I've never seen, but have fun if you're going to see it today!
And watch it safely.
Map: USA Today

Mapping History

Thanks to Brendan Conway for letting me know about the National Library of Scotland's new Mapping History resource, which explores how to use Historical maps from their collection, many of which are available online, and which I've blogged about before...
Plenty of downloads and teaching resources.

Young MacDonald

Looks like somebody finally caught up with an idea I shared some years ago back in June :)
It was featured in my 'best-selling' KS3 Toolkit book 'Look at it this Way'.

The activity was in the chapter on how farming creates the landscape, and was an idea to represent Old MacDonald and bring it up to date e.g. including drones or other technology and perhaps having the farmer be a woman - Young MacDonald too...

Update Old MacDonald for this year's Brexit negotiations too perhaps, or to pick up on particular issues in food security and UK food production.

Error Prone

Was reminded of this yesterday.

A game I used in my GA Conference presentation where I launched the CILT Transport and Logistics resource that I wrote for CILT/The GA.


Thanks to Stephen Schwab for the tipoff to Why Comics?

Why Comics? is based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London where we are working with the University to humanise academic research to a wide audience.
Why Comics? embeds ethnographic comics and animations with a wealth of contextual multimedia devices (such as news articles, maps, videos, documentaries, social media streams, statistics, infographics and reports) to educate, inspire and engage pupils across a wide demographic.
Why Comics? encourages critical and reflective thinking on vital global themes, whilst encouraging learners to make connections between their own lives and lives of others throughout the world thereby helping tackleracismand intolerance in schools.

There is a range of comics which tackle issues such as migration and asylum seeking, and have associated teaching materials. Some of them were in 'The Guardian' a few years ago.
I'm thinking of using one or two of these in the new year.

Image taken from Hasko's story.

Hand Drawn Maps - their value

I've been preparing some work which includes some links to hand drawn maps.
This is part of the Meaningful Maps project which we we asked to be part of at my current school. The project is being led by Stephen Scoffham, with support from Paula Owens and Peter Vujacovic
I've blogged about it previously.
I've got myself a copy of Helen Cann's book too.
Going to use some of the ideas from this for my GeoExplorers Club.
  I was also sent a book a few years ago as a review copy by the Hand Drawn Maps association.
There was also this recent tweet showing the value of a particular hand drawn map, drawn by Walt Disney.

I'm sure there will be plenty of hand drawn maps created in a month or so's time....
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Meaningful Maps project develops.

Curriculum Making back front and centre...

I posted earlier in the week about my trip to the Education Festival earlier in the year.
The post mentions a speech made by Amanda Spielman, HMCI / OFSTED which brought the issue of curriculum back to the forefront.
There was a mention of Michael Young in the speech that she made, which can be read from the link above. Michael Young (who I have heard speak several times at the IoE in Geography seminars, and have blogged about before) says:

Schools enable young people to acquire the knowledge that, for most of them, cannot be acquired at home or in the community. 

Spielman said in her talk:

"Yet all too often, that objective, that real substance of education, is getting lost in our schools. I question how often leaders really ask, “What is the body of knowledge that we want to give to young people?”

We have a full and coherent national curriculum and it seems to me a huge waste not to use it properly. The idea that children will not, for example, hear or play the great works of classical musicians or learn about the intricacies of ancient civilisations – all because they are busy preparing for a different set of GCSEs – would be a terrible shame. All children should study a broad and rich curriculum. Curtailing key stage 3 means prematurely cutting this off for children who may never have an opportunity to study some of these subjects again.

Her colleague Sean Harford has also added his thoughts on the issue of what is taught, and why it matters more than how it is taught. It's perhaps time for Curriculum to come back to the fore again, and the act of Curriculum Making to gain more priority with teachers. This also connects to the growing trend for knowledge (including the development of the Inspiration Trust, and also Toby Young's latest venture)

Between 2008 and 2011, I was proud to be the Curriculum Development Leader of the Geographical Association, the subject association for geography teachers and educators in the UK. This was a significant role, and one which consumed me for three years as I travelled the length and breadth of the country. One of the big ideas that Professor David Lambert developed during the creation of our manifesto for school geography, called "a different place" was the act of curriculum making.
There was a later connection with the GeoCapabilities project, which I took part in as a consultant for the Institute of Education, and helped to shape the eventual resources and teacher-training materials that emerged from the

Also at the Education Festival, I attended a workshop / lecture by Summer Turner, who has written a book on Curriculum design for Bloomsbury. The book is here. I have a copy, and there are some interesting ideas, some of which we had independently developed.
I wonder whether there is place for a 100 Ideas - type Bloomsbury book on this topic.

So what happens in schools next?
This School Week article provides a few suggestions relating to the issue.
As always, I am always happy to share thoughts on geography curriculum thinking. I am spending some of the summer re-writing some of the new KS3 materials that we are using in my school as I have a new colleague who will be teaching them.

More on this to come, as I am developing a few Teachmeet presentations on the theme of curriculum making for events in the next few months.

The Island

A new entry onto my book shelves is this book by Barry Smith.

It describes the place that islands have in our imaginations, as well as describing how their geography shapes the communities that live there. It's travelled with me to to various places this summer. I shall be sharing some of the ideas from it in future blog posts, and it's very much a recommended read.

Risky World

Via Paul Turner's Five Things newsletter... Subscribe now to get a Monday newsletter.

Risk Navigator is an interesting sound app, which I've just installed...

It is part of the Risk Factor project launched by the Canadian government. The app allows you to explore the positive and negative impacts of everyday behaviours from cycling to BASE jumping to becoming President of the United States. It uses Professor David Spiegelhalter's micromorts as the basis, which we use with Year 9 students to explore aspects of risk.

Watch this video for an introduction to his work...


There's also a film, linked to the project, watch the trailer here.

And be careful out there...

Food Security - vulnerabiities in global trade

Teaching about Food Security this year with Year 9, I have been reminded of the nature of the definition, and how some elements of it are in a state of flux at the moment, such that the UK's food security is by no means secure in the longer term...

Apart from other elements of the definition a key part of food security is "physical access". Food needs to be moved around the world as it is not grown close to where people need it. One thing that has been picked up by some of Ben Hennig's mapping is the differences between where most people live, and where most food is produced.
This Chatham House Report is a little technical and detailed, but it has been unpicked in this BBC article
Students could be asked to explore these locations and find them on a map.
There is a connection with the resource that I wrote last year for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
Recently, there was a story linking food security to the issue of Brexit. It seems likely that there will be food price increases (as well as a whole range of other additional 'costs') which could mean that some people are forced into food security. We may also be forced to move to food imports from the US, and see a rise in larger scale food production.
We are also into the summer holidays for many, and this causes issues for some families which rely on free school meals for part of their daily nutrition needs... There has been some coverage of that issue in the news, with some schools putting on clubs which also provide a free lunch.
And finally, here's Jay Rayner's views on our current food system. He was asked by the new Environment Secretary Michael Gove to come to a meeting, but declined. Here's his open letter as to why. I have his book which is also very useful as a resource on food.
There is plenty more to come on this I am sure.
Coincidentally, this also comes at a time when we not only have Earth Overshoot Day, but also the day when we would run out of food if we only relied on the food that we actually produce in the UK, according to the NFU.

What are you having for tea?

Arcticness - a free book

What is Arcticness?
This free book, edited by Ilan Kelman answers that question, and is being made available by UCL Press.

It can be downloaded as a free PDF, or purchased in other formats. This would make a valuable resource for those keen to broaden the range of perspectives that students are provided on the Polar regions, and the way that they are responding to climate change. It's a reminder that for many millions, the Arctic is 'home'.

Here's a description of the project from the UCL Press website:

Climate change and globalisation are opening up the Arctic for exploitation by the world – or so we are told. But what about the views, interests, and needs of the peoples who live in the region? What about the myriad of other factors affecting the Arctic and its peoples? This book explores opportunities and limitations in engaging with the Arctic under change, and the Arctic peoples experiencing the change, through the lens of understanding Arcticness: what the Arctic means to Arctic peoples socially and physically. The chapters bring together a variety of disciplines, such as law, politics, geography and the arts, to examine what Arctic peoples could learn from and teach elsewhere, across disciplines and across locations. The authors reflect on philosophies of change in tandem with philosophies of the Arctic, particularly as represented by everyday experiences, memories and geographical imaginations.

The editorial introduction by Ilan sets the tone perfectly. It explores the different ways of conceptualising and defining the Arctic, and connects with the exploration of the geographical concept of place. It would be interesting to see the Arctic used as a context for exploring Changing Places. The chapter outlines the importance of indigenous peoples, whose voices are heard throughout the book in other chapters.
I particularly liked Anne Merrild Hansen's chapter on Arcticness insights, where she asked people what it meant to live in the Arctic, and describes the responses in sections titled 'the sounds of quiet', 'isolation and togetherness' and 'meat we eat'. There is a very interesting image showing the characteristics of northerners according to northerners.
Throw in some poetry, intriguing images and personal histories, and other information, and you have a very useful resource for wider reading on the Arctic for those about to teach about the Polar regions.

Lynmouth and Boscastle Anniversaries

Today is the 65th anniversary of the Lynmouth Flood disaster, and later today, 13 years ago, the rain started falling over Boscastle.

This has become one of the key case studies for flooding, and one used in many textbooks. It is a good case study for me because nobody died, and although there was terrible destruction, and some minor injuries, it can be remembered for the greatest peace time rescue by RAF helicopters, and the rebuilding of the village in such a way that a repeat is unlikely.

It's one that I taught last year, with some resources from Teachit Geography.

Image: Lynmouth, Alan Parkinson

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

This book has come into my social media feeds several times. It's getting excellent reviews.
It has been written by Katherine Rundell, and is called "The Explorer".

I bought the book earlier this week. "The Explorer" is about four children who have to survive when the plane they are travelling in crashes into the Amazon jungle.
The story is about survival, but also the dynamics between the characters. There's plenty of great moments, and I also liked the description of maps:

"Goosebumps rose on his arms. Fred knew the power of maps. They gestured to hidden things. They were line drawings of the world's secrets".

A few years ago, I wrote a book for Collins called 'Extreme Survival', which featured the story of Juliane Koepcke, a young woman who survived a plane crash into the jungle.
The book is well worth taking a look at...

There's also a resource pack available from Bloomsbury (PDF download) for KS2.

Here's the author talking about the inspiration for the story...

Room with a View

An interesting post came through my twitter feed a few weeks ago.
It was a CNN News article, which describes a photo project by a photographer called Roger Eberhard.
He has taken pictures showing the view in and beyond hotel rooms. It shows the remarkable similarity of hotels around the world, and is a comment on the impact of globalisation.
The result of the project is a book called 'Standard'.

It occurred to me that I know quite a few Geographers who have travelled to cities around the world, and have visited hotels in numerous world cities, and that perhaps we could have our own mini crowd-sourced project. With summer underway there may also be some other opportunities for people to take part...

Here's a few of mine to get you started.... Who else has hotel room views of note?

Here we have views from hotels in Iasi, in Romania, and Geneva in Switzerland.

Coastal Changes

I included a particular stretch of cliff in the chapters I wrote for 2 OCR textbooks. 
It is in Sidmouth, to the east of the promenade at the end of town. I visit it every year when we are down in Devon for family holidays about the time of the Folk Festival. It's a cliff that's been prone to collapse, and a few months ago, a shed in one of the gardens on Cliff Road fell onto the beach.

This year, I saw that the beach is now closed off, and is only to be used as an emergency exit from the beach...

Closing off the Pulpit Rock

I've blogged before about the Preikestolen: the "Pulpit rock" in Norway.

Many years ago, I visited the Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen in Norway. It is in an area called Rogaland, close to the city of Stavanger.
Here's a picture of me on the edge of the rock, taken over 30 years ago.

The rock overlooks the Lysefjord, and takes several hours to walk to. It is one of the most amazing places I've ever visited, and it stays with me, many years after I visited.
Richard Allaway, a friend of mine, had the good fortune to visit last month and take some photos. Here's one of his Lego photographer: Official Martin.

I had a quick look, and came across a news story from earlier that week which was interesting.
It talks about a crack which runs across the rock, which has been getting wider. Perhaps the Pulpit's days are numbered...
In late September, the rock will be closed off for 9 days for filming of a new "Mission:Impossible" film with Tom Cruise.
I wonder how that sits with people who were planning to visit during that time...

This also connects with some themes that have been emerging in recent weeks about the growing impact of tourism. This has led to protests and movements in places such as Venice and Barcelona. A long blog post, and other resources connected to this are in the making...

Image copyright: Alan Parkinson / Richard Allaway

Cars 3

“When I finished directing Toy Story 2 at the end of 1999, I took my family on a cross-country motor home trip. My life had been driven by deadlines. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. And on that trip I learned a lesson: that the journey in life is the reward. It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.”
John Lasseter

Went to see this film earlier in the week, and it was a return to form after the misfire of Cars 2 when the story switched to a sort of James Bond spoof thing... This was a nice return to the importance of racing, but also about the need to be mentored, and recognise the time to change roles from requiring mentoring to giving something back...

One of the best scenes was a cross-country road trip, with little cameos of landscapes and weather as has been done in previous films.
There were also some great scenes, and stunning animation around the Thomasville racetrack where Lightning discovers about the past of his mentor the Hudson Hawk.

I also liked the short film LOU about a Lost and Found box reuniting lost property with its owners...

Image Copyright: Disney/Pixar

Education Festival 2017

This is a late blogpost, but I've been busy for the last few weeks...
My first visit to the Education Festival happened a few weeks ago, standing in for a colleague who was unable to go at the last minute. An early start (5am) to get across to Ely and meet my colleagues who were travelling together down to Berkshire. This meant the M11, M25 and a fair few queues. We made good time, and were soon inside - very efficient registration process.
There were quite a few interesting sessions, although it lacked some serious geography of course...
I started with Summer Turner's session on curriculum design, which was fairly close to some of the work we've done at King's Ely, and had some familiar curriculum making tropes.
Christine Counsell's session was moved or cancelled, which was a disappointment.
Lucy Crehans's session went down very well with colleagues, and an infographic summing up some of what she had to say is below:

I also thought I'd surprise David Rogers, who was presenting on "growing grit", but he seemed unfazed by me turning up... Chatted to a few other geographers too.
The chapel was a good venue for sessions by people such as Amjad Ali.
There was a packed tent for Andy Tharby and Shaun Allison.
I also went to a speech by OFSTED chief Amanda Spielman (I'll be blogging that separately with regards to what she said about the importance of curriculum)
I went to a debate which was a bit circular and not too helpful.
The lunch was good and I enjoyed a picnic and a chance to talk to colleagues I hadn't spend much time with due to the hectic nature of the school year.
At the end of the day, it was out for the return journey home, and I drove, which meant I didn't quite finish the big pile of marking I'd taken with me for the journey...

Here's the King's Ely team at the end of the day with our bags from the big pink bus...

I think I'll stick to geography-related events next year...

Lake District National Park: a World Heritage Site

After a campaign lasting over twenty years, a committee of UNESCO decided that the Lake District National Park should join other famous locations and become a World Heritage Site a few weeks ago.
This means that the area has to fulfil certain criteria in order to retain this status, and there are some people who suggest this may not actually be a good thing for the Park in the long run. George Monbiot refers to the area as an "ersatz farm fantasy".

Which other places were added to the list on the same day?

What is your nearest World Heritage Site?

Greater London National Park City

This moved a step closer today it seems with the support of the Mayor of London: Sadiq Khan. An epic effort by Dan Raven Ellison, and everyone whose been involved with the campaign from the start...

Support Helen

I've worked with Helen Leigh Steer for many years now.
She's the genius designer who puts together our Mission:Explore books, and I've also worked with her on the distance project with INTEL, and as the Geography author for the growing work of Do it Kits. There are other smaller projects we've worked on too...
Latterly, she's become a rising star of the maker education community, and created a number of kits which allow students to explore the Science of Music...
Helen has submitted a workshop proposal to SWSX Education event, and would appreciate your support. You'll need to create an account before voting up Helen's proposal I've just done this, and the whole process only took a couple of minutes... Thanks in advance...

Imagining London as a National Park City

There has been a competition running for a while, asking people to think about a vision for how London as National Park City might look.

Artists, designers and architects were invited to imagine and visualise what a future London National Park City could look like in a design challenge set by the newly established National Park City Foundation. A panel of judges reviewed over 50 entries from around the world and picked four winning visions.
Making London a National Park City is a large-scale and long-term vision that has the potential to improve life in the capital by making the city radically greener and connecting more people to the city's remarkable heritage.

Back in June, there were some winning entries announced over on the website and you should check them out, as they relate to many projects which involve exploring cities and urban spaces. Dan Raven Ellison has just completed a big spiral walk into the centre of London.

 Images credit: Siân and Jon Moxon

© Farrells Credit: Ben Nourse, Donika Llakmani, Maysa Phares and Jaewon Shin.

I loved these ideas for renewing areas of cities, and increasing the connection with nature.

The judging panel was made up of a range of experts and some of the National Park City Foundation’s trustees. These include author and journalist Will Self, Andrew Grant (Grant Associates), Gemma Ginty (Future Cities Catapult), Alison Prendiville (London College of Communication), Steve Head (Wildlife Gardening Forum), Pat Fitzsimons (Thames Estuary Partnership), Ben Smith (AECOM), Judy Ling Wong (Black Environment Network) and Melissa Sterry (Bionic City).

Top image copyright: Tom Morgan Jones

Thought for the Day

“We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them.”

Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to
Pseudo-Events in America (1961)

Holiday reading

One advantage of the summer break is having a bit of time to read.
I've finished two books in the last few days, both quite brief. They're shown here. They both have much to commend them...

What have you been reading recently?

Dear Data

Each week for a year, Giorgia and Stefanie sent each other a postcard describing what had happened to them during that week around a particular theme. But they didn't write it, they drew it: a week of smiling, a week of apologies, a week of desires.

Presenting their fifty-two cards, along with thoughts and ideas about the data-drawing process, Dear Data hopes to inspire you to draw, slow down and make connections with other people, to see the world through a new lens, where everything and anything can be a creative starting point for play and expression.
I've been following the blog and story for some time now, and today saw the book for the first time in large format flexi-binding, and it's really beautiful. Going to be ordering a copy shortly, and using it for inspiration for a few things I'm doing for the new year.

One of them is a staff masterclass I'm leading on the use of Piktochart during the Michaelmas term...


An interesting stories have emerged over the last few weeks on the rise in ownership of electric cars, and the increase in models which are on the market.
There are plans in many countries to scale back the production of petrol and diesel cars, and phase out production within quite short time scales.
The electric Mini will apparently be assembled in a UK factory, although not all manufactured in the UK.
This story describes a possible downside of when we all have to plug our cars in.... although I won't miss having to fork out £50 for a tank of petrol...

Will the National Grid be able to cope when we have millions of extra vehicles to charge each night?
Some places are getting ready for the increase...
The picture above is of Dart's Farm in Devon, which has had 3 electric charging points for a while, but there are another 10 or so currently under construction waiting to be installed and connected.

I've heard good things about them, but they're currently out of my price range....

Image: Alan Parkinson

The Ice Man Movie

A new movie reimagining the last days of Ötzi is opening next week with its premiere.

I wrote a book about him a few years ago, called 'The Ice Man', which is still available to buy.
The film is described as follows: 

On August 8th at 9:30 pm the movie “Iceman” directed by Felix Randau will be presented to the world at the Locarno Festival. On the “Piazza Grande” the audience will follow closely the fictitious story about Ötzi’s last days and hours.

With Jürgen Vogel in the title role, the film speculates on what might have happened on the Tisenjoch some 5,300 years ago – when Ötzi the Iceman was murdered by an arrow striking him in the back. And above all, why? Director Felix Randau focuses in particular on bringing to life Ötzi’s last few days and the circumstances which could have led to his mysterious death.

Synopsis: 5,300 years ago in the Neolithic Age. An extended family is living peacefully beside a stream in the Öztal Alps. Their leader Kelab (Jürgen Vogel) has been charged with guarding the holy shrine.
Whilst Kelab is out hunting, his settlement is attacked and the entire tribe is murdered, including Kelab’s wife and son. The sacred shrine of the community is also taken away. Consumed by pain and anger, Kelab now has only one goal: revenge!
Kelab is now set on tracking down the perpetrators. During the course of his Odyssey through the mountains he is subjected to all the dangers of nature. A tragic error now makes him into the one that’s hunted. Finally Kelab has to confront not just those who murdered his family, but his own demons. Will he give way to his urge for revenge and thereby turn from victim to offender? Or will he succeed in breaking the eternal cycle of violence?

I hope that this makes it to the UK.
Here's the trailer: