Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2012

Looking at landscapes anew...

I spent a pleasant few hours earlier today in the valley of the Gaywood River , just east of King's Lynn with colleagues from UEA and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We were involved in testing out an augmented reality solution for allowing visitors to a place to find out more about the nature's benefits / ecosystem services in that area. Sarah Taigel has created, and is trialling an application called VesAR which stands for Visualising Ecosystem Services using Augmented Reality. It uses an app called LAYAR , which I have previously experimented with.  Holding the phone or tablet up at particular locations reveals 'hotspots' floating in the camera view, which contain more information about what the visitor is looking at. (See the image below) Ecosystem services are split into three types: Regulating Provisioning Cultural Essentially, a landscape like the river catchment we walked through provides three types of benefits, e.g. a regulating benefit w

Wastelands to Wonderlands

There's an exhibition on at the British Library which I plan to visit over the next month or so. Wastelands to Wonderlands explores the different ways that Britain has been represented in fiction over the years, and contains many manuscripts and other materials. There's plenty here that's relevant to teaching about landscapes, and the way they are represented. I'm grateful to Angus Willson for the loan of the exhibition catalogue in advance of my visit.

Placing Place

Preparing some materials for a course in a few week's time. It's being held at the HQ of travel company Discover the World. The course is being run along with Simon Ross , who produced a number of books that I made heavy use of when teaching, particularly his mapskills book. The theme is Developing a Global Sense of Place at KS3 and GCSE. I'm exploring KS3. There are quite a few areas that I could focus on as PLACE is a key concept in geography, and the idea of visiting places is central to the work of Discover the World. As always, once the germ of an idea comes to me, it's time to flesh it out with various resources and web tools. I have put together two sessions which will eventually be shared on Slideshare. Interestingly, the OFSTED Subject Report on Geography, published in 2011 , made a series of recommendations. The first was that  schools should: focus strongly on developing pupils’ core knowledge in geography, particularly their sense of place

The houses that fall into the sea...

Listen again to this BBC Radio 3 programme from last night on BBC iPLAYER Lyz Turner's house, in the East Yorkshire town of Withernsea, is falling into the sea. "My house has started talking to me," she says. "It produces haunting sounds like far-off women wailing." This programme, combining interviews with music and the sounds of the sea, the wind, the land, the dying houses, explores how people cope with natural calamity: with anger, stoicism, distress, and art. One winter, Ron and Judith Backhouse watched as first their fence, then their shed, and finally three trees slipped over the cliff at the bottom of their garden on a private estate above Scarborough. "The crack is running up towards our next door neighbour's house," says Ron. "It's maybe five or ten metres away from his bungalow now and we're connected to him. So if he goes, we go, too."? Artist Kane Cunningham bought a condemned bungalow on the same estate

Richard Long

Always been a fan of Richard Long' s work, and the way that it links to landscape. He also went to St. Martin's like my wife :) There's an exhibition of his work on in Wakefield, which I shall try to get to the next time I am up in Yorkshire. This article describes hos career and work. "The landscapes that I have chosen to work in are the landscapes that still cover most of this earth; the world is still basically an empty place."

200 towns

Thanks to Keir Clarke for tipoff to another useful site which merges a range of different media. 200 Towns allows you to explore 200 towns. A useful new 'Perspective on British Landscape' ?

More writing...

Coastal landscapes feature in the book in the Chapter 'Living on the Edge'. One of the downsides of Twitter is that it has made me want to buy loads more books which I can't afford to keep doing. The latest tipoff came via Joe Moran. I've enjoyed both of Joe's books that I've read, particularly 'On Roads' , which I think is due a re-read. He suggested that he had enjoyed Jean Sprackland 's book on 'Strands'. There was also a nice spot of feedback in that reading the preview section that's available on Amazon there's a nice quote by Joe Moran to describe a beach... It is 'a frontier not only between water and solid ground, but also between the wild and the domestic'.

Writing Wild Places

Wastelands to Wonderlands

Listen to Simon Armitage  in particular in this clip, which relates to the British Library exhibition on landscape and literature. It's on my list of things to do in the next few months when I'm in London. There are other clips too, which I discovered via the excellent SOME LANDSCAPES blog , which is a very useful bookmark for anyone interested in culture and landscape....

The Old Ways

Surprised to find that my copy of the new Robert MacFarlane 'The Old Ways' arrived today, although it's not supposed to be out until the 7th of June. Not that I'm complaining... Started reading it straight away... was supposed to be saving it for summer.