Hit Factories

Karl Whitney has written a new book called 'Hit Factories' on the links between music and cities, and how certain cities have a 'sound' to them e.g. the dub reggae of Bristol and the industrial electronica of Sheffield. It's one of the books I've read this summer.
Why did they develop there?
Was it a response to the industrial heritage and migrant heritage of those cities?

His first book was a psychogeographical exploration of Dublin - the 'Hidden City', which he describes in part as:
“edgeland housing adjoining lonely link roads, smashed glass in supermarket car parks, the trickle of a pungent river as it passes through a concrete pipe below a dual carriageway . . . a city defined more by its margins than by its centre, and more by its hidden places than by its obvious landmarks”.
A piece in the Irish Times.

Alongside with this book, I've also got another book about the more rural landscapes and their musical contributions called 'The Lark Ascending'.

A Spotify playlist for the book has also been released, which is always good to see.

Ask the Geographer - again

A reminder of this Podcast series from the RGS-IBG, which has had some additions since I last posted the link here.

A growing series of podcasts by subject experts.

Available on iTunes and Soundcloud


Ely featured on this Open Country broadcast recently. Thanks to Helen Young for the tipoff.

Earlier this year, Helen Mark visited the Isle of Eels in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens for its annual eel day festival. She joins the parade of eels through the streets and takes part in the World Eel Throwing Competition (which thankfully involves no real eels). She also learns about the life cycle of the eel and discovers how this extraordinary fish is intimately bound up with the history and culture of Ely. 

Re-thinking Naismith's

This piece was in the newspaper a few months ago, but just getting round to post it now as I've had a summer lull as always....

Naismith's rule has been around for over 100 years, and when I was in charge of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, we used it to help calculate roughly how long it would take to walk a planned and measured route. It seems we are now walking slower than before though...

One to connect with my work as an OS GetOutside Champion.

The power of water

Missing this view, which we had last week down in Devon. 
Sat at the table, or upstairs, or in the garden, the view was of the River Exe. During the day, the tide ebbed and flowed in the estuary - the water swiftly moving to either left or right, the mud flats on the far side appearing and disappearing. Birds came and went, and the hills in the distance came in and out of cloud, or were bathed in late sunshine.
Boats came and went, heading out in early evening and then returnig to the sailing club around 8, by which time we were outside the pub to watch them return. The evening sun lit up the river, and the wind gave the characteristic chime of rope on mast.
Just sitting there was enough to forget all concerns and see the river breathing...

The power of living geography.

Moving to One Note

I will be getting used to this icon a little more from the next academic year, as we are moving to the use of OneNote as a school, with the aid of new staff laptops which are being provided, to replace desktops. 

It will be interesting to see how this works out, and will post a few things on here as I get into the process of using this more to engage with students and their work and hopefully do some online marking and feedback as well....

If you already use OneNote a lot, I'd be pleased to hear some hints and tips from you which I can share here with other geographers...

Thought for the Day

"Stock taking and self-examination are salutary exercises for the teacher, .particularly so in a rapidly changing subject.... it is well to pause from time to time and survey both the objective at which we are aiming and the path or paths by which we may reach it."
Clement Cyril Carter, GA President 1939-1941

OS Puzzle Book 2

This forthcoming book - due out in October-ish - has a slightly different format to the previous book, with puzzles set in the different regions and taking you on a tour of Britain.

Looking forward to seeing a copy, particularly the East of England section.


East London Geography Hub

On Twitter earlier: a new networking option for teachers in East London.

The Fate of Food

Latest book on the reading list is 'The Future of Food'.
The review mentions a product called Soylent, whch stirs memories of Soylent Green, although the ingredients of this product are rather different.

More to come on this...

Thought for the Day

"Nature has more time and energy than any government has time or money" 
Professor Denys Brunsden
GA President, 1986

Inside Air BnB

Inside Air BnB is a site which opens up some of the issues responding to the changes taking place in some neighbourhoods due to the increasing number of properties being listed with airbnb rather than being occupied by their owners, or made available for longer term rentals or sale. This is affecting property prices, and leading to neighbourhoods occupied by residents and short term 'visitors' who do not need to be mindful of annoying the residents as they are only there for one or two nights.

This is certainly an area to consider further for a unit connected with Sustainable Tourism.

Wendell Berry

This is an excellent piece on someone who has written a great deal of sense over the years, including pieces on our relationship with the land.
Check out his books.
Image result for wendell berry quotes

Waterbeach New Town

A few miles to the East of Cambridge, and with a station on the line to King's Lynn is the small settlement of Waterbeach.
A new town is proposed to be built here, and has been given permission by those who make those decisions locally.
It will involve thousands of new homes being constructed and even a new railway station.

Vision for proposed New Town

Planning documents can be downloaded here.

As I mentioned also involve relocating the railway station, which is currently too short a platform to allow the planned new trains to use it.

I will be following these developments for the next few years.

Bourdain on Cities

Anthony Bourdain was a chef who wrote about the secrets of restaurant kitchens in his book 'Kitchen Confidential'.
He later wrote a series of other books describing his travels around the world in search of exciting culinary adventures.
Latterly, he was an author and TV presenter, who travelled the world.

He died last year, and there was a recognition of how powerful his career had been from many people who talked about how he had influenced.
This article outlines some of his legacy with respect to his 'geographical' skills as a traveller, in exploring what made cities tick.

Image result for bourdain quotes

MS Roald Amundsen

The new Hurtigruten cruise ship is ready to take people to the South Atlantic.
There's a virtual tour around the ship available.
It has a number of features to make it a little more 'green'...

Cosmo Park - an amazing place

Came across this place some time ago, and the Guardian Cities column now has an excellent article on Cosmo Park. It's in Jakarta and is located, incredibly, on the roof of another building.
It is on the 10th storey of a shopping mall.

The image of Cosmo Park was apparently taken by Shahrir Bahar.

Known as parasitic architecture.

There are some good reasons why this might be a good idea.

The houses can be built at 40% below market price, he said, because there is no land to buy. Instead of exchanging money, he offers to improve other parts of the existing building during construction.

"Building on top of roofs is not only an ecological and economical solution, it’s working against the urban sprawl that kills the social link," he said.

In an earthquake zone, that might be less of a good idea.

Leading Primary Geography

If there's one thing you can guarantee, it's that the GA will publish books of quality, and I know that I would say that, but I've been using the GA's publications for longer than I've been writing them, or associated with the production of them.

One thing I'm proud of has been my association with the Primary colleagues who support the work of the GA through the Early Years and Primary Committee. I've attended their meetings, and worked with them in various ways since 2008, when I was involved with the creation of support for the Primary Geography Champions network.

There are many schools who have no geographer on the staff, and there is only a short geography input into many PGCE courses for Primary, so often people with different specialisms may be handed the job of geography coordinator.
This book aims to be a handbook for those who are asked to lead on Primary Geography.

Many of the examples are drawn from recent work on the Primary Geography Quality Mark, including student work and teacher planning. I have been involved with moderating these awards for many years, and recently completed the 2019 cohort. The people writing this book have a range of experiences in leading Primary geography themselves.

The book is split into 7 sections, each edited by a leading name in Primary Geography education, and focussing on one aspect of leading the subject. I liked the curriculum section, and also reading Leszek's section - we had previously worked together as one of the moderator pairs, and it was an excellent day of CPD for me to see how he explored the evidence for the quality of the geography, and the questions he asks... the new OFSTED inspection framework will be an interesting experience for teachers I think.

1. Introduction  - Tessa Willy and Steve Rawlinson
2. Key Concepts - Simon Catling
3. Key Skills - Stephen Pickering
4. Teaching Approaches - Richard Hatwood
5. Geography in your Curriculum - Richard Greenwood
6. Integrating Geography - Leszek Iwaskow, Julia Tanner, Ben Ballin and Susan Pike
7. Effective Subject Leadership - Paula Owens

As with all recent GA publications, there are additional online materials available using a code printed in the book.
These include documents, examples of student work and school planning, and useful web links.

I will be handing a copy to my Primary colleagues in the new academic year.

Disclaimer: I am closely associated with the GA, but this is my honest opinion - it's an excellent resource for Primary (and Secondary) colleagues.

Binns and Kinder

Image result for a case for geography binnsTony Binns was President of the GA in 1994. One of the many contributions that he made to the GA was to co-author 'A Case for Geography' which was a response to the then Secretary of State for Education's Keith Joseph's challenge to the geography community to state a case for a place in the curriculum. They met with Kenneth Baker, Joseph's successor, and presented this case.

In 1991, following sustained lobbying and advisory activity by the GA over several years, geography won its ‘place in the sun’ as a foundation subject at key stages 1, 2 and 3 in the first National Curriculum for England.

He will have his own entry on my GA Presidents blog in due course as a result.
Check out the progress on the blog so far.

He has just published a new article with Alan Kinder, and it is currently open access.

You can currently view it FREE ACCESS here.

Check out 'A Case for Geography'.

The value of GIS

An excellent new video from ESRI

James Fairgrieve (1926)

Unearthed while writing my GA Presidents Blog.

Teachers need subject knowledge... and a rationale for why they teach what they do.

UN CC Accreditation - get yourself on the map

cover photo, Image may contain: textThere seems to be a growing consensus now about the importance of teaching climate change in schools.
And from my personal perspective, and Steve Brace of the RGS agrees, it's perhaps the geographers who are best placed to do that within the curriculum.

However, all curriculum subjects could bring their own perspectives to the issue: the scientists exploring the atmosphere, mathematicians exploring the data behind changing temperatures, the English teachers studying appropriate books, and Historians exploring the Little Ice Age and the widespread impacts of previous changes in climate over a short time period.

You may also have other ideas of how your subject can support the teaching of climate change.

Are you on the map of climate change teachers yet?

It may be that the summer is the perfect time to go through the accreditation, or perhaps you prefer to wait until the new school year?
The accreditation involves a range of quizzes, following working through a series of modules on climate change topics. I've blogged about the process previously.

The deadline to be part of phase 1 of the project is the end of September.
Don't delay...
Because climate change won't wait either.

I mentioned Greta Thunberg earlier and the author Melissa Harrison has been co-ordinating a crowdfunding project to get more copies of the book into schools. This has been very successful, and the amount raised is increasing.

If you would like to get some copies of the book for your own school, particularly if your budget would otherwise make it difficult for you to do this, then you need to request some copies.

Watch Alex Standish on Sunday Morning Live.

Watch from 18'35"

Alex talked about the need to provide a more optimistic vision of the future (as David Alcock has posted on his blog) 

'Ouses 'Ouses 'Ouses

Landscape and music... up on the old Chalk Downs... 
Perhaps these were the houses. (PDF download)
Currently reading up on music and landscape, more to come...

Video game cartography

"I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit."
J.R.R. Tolkien

Last year, I loved the academic keynote of Phil Jones at the first TMGeographyIcons event.
He was speaking about video gaming and the link with place.
This article, via Canadian Geographic, explores the fundamental importance of the map to these games. The early text based adventures were all about the map of course, as this dictated where places could and could not go and ultimately led to each action, and the development of any narrative.
Plotting alternative routes through choose your own adventure game books has also been done.

This video shows the potential for exploring landscapes, and the research that is done to bring them to life, although always with a bit of artistic license to fit the game dynamics one supposes.
More to come on this area...

Venture Thinking - AR resources

Thanks to Heather from Venture Thinking for sending me some samples of some of their AR (Augmented Reality) resources.
I had seen similar cards before, but not had a chance to have a play with them in detail. They have been very well received by all who have seen them.

I had previously contacted one company to suggest that there was an opportunity here to bring geographical processes to life: this would include the rock cycle, coastal erosion, volcanic eruptions, ecosystem change etc. They said they were concentrating on other areas, which is fair enough.

The first was a historical map of London, which comes to life when looked at through the camera on a smartphone with a historical timeline. Here is the city of London burning during the Great Fire as animated when looking through the phone camera at the map image.

Heather sent me 2 packs of AR cards as well. I had a look at these with some KS2 pupils. They are on the theme of Space and Animals.
They are rather good. Each one comes to life with an animal or animation when placed within the camera and the app is running.

Would be a nice way to introduce or consolidate learning on topics that the cards relate to...
More to come in the new school year..

Which GA President?

I've been spending the last few days of damp weather working on some research for my GA Presidents Blog project.

Which GA President's work produced this image?

I started the blog back in April and launched it at the GA Conference Teachmeet. It hasn't had too many visitors yet. 

It will eventually have a biography of each GA President.

Will you go out with me?

National GetOutside Day is coming round again.
This time it will take place on September 29th 2019.
What are your plans?
Save the date.
I'm working on something creative that will involve exploring my local area in Norfolk.

South Georgia Heritage Trust - my latest project

South Georgia is an important and fascinating place, which is of global importance despite its remote location in the South Atlantic.

It was first approached closely by mariners taking part in Captain Cook's 2nd voyage around the world in January 1775, although it is thought that Portuguese sailors first saw it on the horizon, amongst the sea ice and the bad weather in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Captain Cook went on shore to claim the land for the King.
At the time, he described it as a "terrible and savage place" and described seeing:
‘Seals, or sea-bears, were pretty numerous. Perhaps the most of those we saw were females, for the shores swarmed with young cubs’
This description caught the attention of some people when he returned, as sea-bears were otherwise known as fur seals, and had valuable pelts.
The sealers moved in, followed by whalers. They came on wooden ships overrun with rats and mice and these all came ashore eventually.

For centuries, the island was over run with rodents, the escapees from the ships which landed there to exploit the resources of fur seals, whales and sea lions. The whalers built a settlement at Grytviken, which is still the hub for visitors, and slaughtered millions of seals, whales and sea-lions. The rats bred, and made their homes in the burrows made by sea birds, whose eggs they consumed for food.
Shackleton made his way there in the 'James Caird' from Elephant Island, following the sinking of the 'Endurance'. Arriving on the wrong side of the island in King Haakon Bay, he made an incredible crossing of the island along with Frank Worsley and Tom Crean.

The thousands of tourists who visit annually, often paying their respects and take a dram at the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton are entranced by the dramatic glacial landscape, precipitous peaks and valleys and the millions of penguins which can be seen in these panoramic views.
There are also people working there for the scientific season, for the British Antarctic Survey, or manning the museum run by the South Georgia Heritage Trust.

I have recently started work on a major new resource for the South Georgia Heritage Trust, which will be available in full early in the new year. 

I've created the structure for the resource, which is designed to tell the story of the SGHT's work, as well as introducing students to this amazing place. In this way, the resource will cover a whole range of different topics, relevant to National 5 Geography in Scotland, and KS3-5 in England and Wales (with some elements of iGCSE and IB Geography too for good measure).

This project will also involve my friend Val Vannet, who I have known for over 15 years. We are going to be doing a workshop at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' Conference in October, up near Stirling.

If you are coming to the SAGT conference, please sign up to our workshop.
We will also be putting in for a session at the GA Conference in 2020.
Here's a map of Grytiken, embedded using the Google Maps API.
Explore it...

I've also treated myself to a suitable map to plot my various work.
These are published by the British Antarctic Survey.

The resource is taking shape nicely, partly with the help of the South Georgia Association, 

Svalbard - coming soon...

"Climate change is a reality. Caused by us all, it is a cultural, social and economic problem and must move beyond scientific debate. Cape Farewell is committed to the notion that artists can engage the public in this issue, through creative insight and vision."
David Buckland, 2007

Welcome to Longyearbyen... the northernmost town on Earth.

Svalbard is a place which has been part of my teaching for many years, going back to the Cape Farewell pack, partly written by Fred Martin, and accompanying the long-running Cape Farewell project.
David Buckland is the Director of the Cape Farewell Project. This has taken many scientists and artists and musicians to the Arctic.
Also check out Ben Vidmar, who is growing food on Svalbard.  His website has a lot more information on the project which involves Polar Permaculture.

Check out this video as well.

I couldn't let an opportunity go by to make use of a personal connection.
My colleague Claire is visiting Svalbard this summer, and one outcome from that will be a new resource which I am fleshing out at the moment.

This will be available in the new school year.

Thanks to those who have already contributed ideas for a Svalbard word cloud, and some personal memories of having visited Svalbard. Svalbard was in the news for a sad reason a few days ago, with the discovery of hundreds of dead reindeer.