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Showing posts from 2021

The Geography - an iOS/Android experience

Thanks to the AAG for the tipoff to this interesting-sounding game. A new indie video game, The Geography, "bridges the interactive with the meditative" h/t @brockwilbur for @TheFastPitch — American Association of Geographers (@theAAG) December 22, 2021 The Geography is a new indie video game from a creative duo that bridges the interactive with the meditative. A collaboration between Michael Berto and Titouan Millet , the program uses geographic data from Svalbard, Norway rendered into low-poly landscapes—brought to life with soft shaders. An endless and nonlinear musical score weaves soundscapes, to keep the ambiance evolving. It costs £6.99 for iPhone.


Another music post, and an album with a landscape theme to it...

Source to Sea

Rivers in musical form, particularly the first track here... 

Climate Change - its global impacts

Check out this amazing New York Times visualisation of the impact of climate change on every country in the world. Postcards from a World on Fire. Another reminder of the value of subscribing to the New York Times.

Mundesley Cliff Collapse

I often post details of cliff collapses along the stretch of coastline which featured in the OCR textbooks that I wrote. This is close to Sidmouth and collapses regularly, including heading the other way to Budleigh Salterton. Last weekend saw a cliff collapse near Mundesley which is on the Norfolk coast, and was blamed on waterlogged cliff material. Some houses are now very close to the edge of the cliff and are nervous about the potential for further cliff falls. Some excellent drone footage here.

Cheese and rainforests

Not an obvious connection at first glance. This report suggests that there is an alleged connection. How does your food affect the environment? Worth further investigation perhaps as an alternative to palm oil. Speaking of which, check out this thread by Hannah Ritchie on palm oil... A topic where I see one of the biggest gaps between public opinion & recommendations from scientists is palm oil 🌴🦧 Companies often boycott palm oil to look sustainable to consumers. But a ban is rarely the recommendation from experts. 🧵on why it's a complex topic — Hannah Ritchie (@_HannahRitchie) December 13, 2021

Welcome to Earth

There are plenty of geography-related programmes to be found on the various streaming services. Check out the new Will Smith programme made by National Geographic. Here's the description of the programme: It might seem humans have mapped every inch of our planet’s surface, but look closer and you’ll discover that there is still so much more to uncover — the age of exploration is far from over! WELCOME TO EARTH, a Disney+ original series from National Geographic, follows two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith on an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world to explore Earth’s greatest wonders and reveal its most hidden secrets.  Throughout the six-part limited series produced by visionary Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, Protozoa Pictures, Jane Root’s Nutopia and Westbrook Studios, Will is guided by elite explorers on an awe-inspiring journey, getting up close and personal with some of the most thrilling spectacles on the planet — from volca

Cal Flyn podcast

Regular readers of the blog will know how much I enjoyed Cal Flyn's book 'Islands of Abandonment' and it is coming out in paperback just ahead of Christmas. Cal is interviewed in the latest episode of the 'Sense of Place' podcast which references the places in the book. Also worth checking out Cal's latest journalism too for the Observer. It can be listened to in a number of ways. This is the link to the Spotify stream.

A Scottish Landscape - rendered in music

Just listening to this earlier while doing all the work to follow up from 2 days of ERASMUS meetings (of which more to come in a blog post in the next day or so.) This is a wonderful piece of music, composed by William Jackson, one of the members of Ossian: one of my favourite ever bands. The music conveys the atmosphere of different elements of the Scottish landscape , and ends with a suite of pieces named after islands including Iona, Islay and Jura. It can be found on many of the usual music streaming services.

Land Observations


Anna Dillon

I love the recent artworks which have been created by Anna Dillon. They are called Wessex Airscapes.  They are on display at Radley College through September. They were created in collaboration with aerial photographer Hedley Thorne. Go to Anna's website and for each painting you will see that there is a link to a short sound file which tells the landscape story of each painting, including something of the history and geology of the locations... a really nice additional element.


 A new film, which has had an input from Robert MacFarlane. River––a film I wrote w/ the awesome director @jenpeedom , narrated by Willem Dafoe––premiered this week at Telluride Film Festival. Trailer here: Happy that the first reviews really seem to get what we hoped to achieve in the film. — Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) September 4, 2021 See the trailer here  

Sidmouth Cliff Collapse

Down to Sidmouth this afternoon, and I saw the new cliff collapses which happened over the weekend - there were five of them it seems. I check on these each year I come down to Devon as they were used as a case study of coastal erosion and management in the first edition of the OCR A and OCR B GCSE Geography textbooks I co-wrote for Hodder back in the day.  While there, I saw a cameraman filming inserts for the evening news, and the presenter was then live from Sidmouth this evening. There were two landslides visible here... a larger one in the background.

Living on the Edge

Another helpful article about coastal erosion - this time on the Holderness coast near Skipsea. It includes some helpful maps, images and diagrams including a map showing the lost villages. A useful Flourish graph is also included, which can be embedded...

The Trash Islands

One of my holiday reads is Alastair Bonnett's 'The Age of Islands'. He mentions the Trash Islands campaign which tried to get them recognised as a country by the United Nations. This was part of a campaign  back in 2018 to raise awareness of the issue of ocean plastics and the accumulation in gyres.

Landscapes... moving through...

Tania Kovats talking @artsresearch of the value of slow journeys and asks the question ‘As you move through a landscape does it move through you ?’ #WaterWorks2021 — Clarke&Witt (@Attention2place) June 30, 2021

Arctic Dreams - on the radio

I've spoken and blogged about this book many times, and you can now listen to extracts from it on Radio 4 as it has been selected, around 35 years after its first UK publication as the 'Book of the Week'. A heads-up that, to my delight, Barry Lopez's masterpiece Arctic Dreams (1986) will be Book of the Week on @BBCRadio4 this week, starting 09.45am today. The book––and the writer––that made me a writer. Barry passed away in December this year. — Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) June 21, 2021 Barry Lopez is someone whose work has been important to me throughout my career. Catch up with the episodes here. In Episode One of Arctic Dreams Barry Lopez reflects on his first encounters with the surprisingly varied and resilient inhabitants of the polar north and on modern man’s vexed relationship with this beguiling continent. In his breath-taking natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic, Lopez reveals the essential mystery and beauty of

GeogLive - Fieldwork Edition

"Studying geography is so important for children, regardless of their age or stage of learning. Geography helps them to make sense of the world around them and piques their curiosity in places and people. Done well, it engages pupils in their world, often spurring them into action, and is fun!"  (Ofsted, 2021) The GeogLive! Team are busy planning the next GeogLive! event , which will be at 5-6pm on Wednesday 30th June.  This is part of the activity of the GA's Early Years and Primary Phase Committee to support teachers who may or may not be GA members (but you need to be a GA member) They have chosen to focus on fieldwork, prompted by Iain Freeland’s comments in the blog about geography in outstanding primary schools, and feedback from those who attended the first event. They will also, of course, be referring to the Research Report published by Ofsted yesterday. We will be using the same format as at our first GeogLive! event, as this worked well for us and provoke

100 000 page views

A small milestone to pass. Started this blog back in Augut 2007, when I'd just finished work on a book for the Geographical Association's KS3 Toolkit series, all about landscapes. The book was called 'Look at it this Way'. The book is still available to purchase, and this blog has shared relevant stories linked to the chapters and updates over the years. Some of the ideas have been adapted and used by others since, and they may not even know that the book was the first time they were shared in print. Thanks for reading. There will continue to be occasional postings as the book is still available to purchase.

Geofolio - data about landscapes

Thanks to Geofolio for an opportunity to explore your area and generate loads of information automatically. As it says on the website: Define an area of interest anywhere in the world, and we'll automagically create thematic factsheets containing interactive maps, charts, written overviews, and statistical summaries – all based on open geodata. I had a play of course. I went to North Norfolk, where colleagues took part in 2 days of coastal fieldwork earlier in the week. What would the site tell me about this location? Here's the report that was generated...  Geofolio North Norfolk from GeoBlogs It was a tipoff via Richard Allaway. This has great potential for generating secondary data about locations.

A raindrop's journey to the sea

This is a rather fine map tool / experiment / visualisation. It is called River Runner , and will allow you to follow the route taken by a rainfrop.  Make your raindrop fall anywhere within the contiguous United States and the website will work out the route it will take to the sea and the tributaries and rivers it will flow through. It will then take you along that route. It's really rather good visually, and I am assume is also accurate. Check out Sam Learner's other map projects.

OFQUAL - exams and fieldwork

As this piece in the TES reports, OFQUAL are proposing to remove the mandatory requirement for fieldwork for geography and related subjects. We have just started doing fieldwork again at my school, with trips to Cambridge and the Norfolk Coast carried out, or taking place last week and this week. If you have an opinion on this, OFQUAL are running a consultation on the issue, which started yesterday and runs through to the 28th of May. As the consultation page says: This consultation focuses on the subjects for which preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities will be taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022. It covers non-exam assessments in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education fieldwork activities in geography, geology and environmental science assessment of speaking skills in GCSE modern foreign language

Slow Ways - explore the UK landscape

Just over a year ago, I was part of a team which met in person or virtually to begin the process of creating the Slow Ways network , initiated by Dan Raven Ellison . As we approached lockdown, the idea of walking for exercise and exploring our local areas became increasingly attractive. I worked on creating some walks in familiar locations: close to home, along the Norfolk coast and in and around Ely where I work. Slow Ways is an initiative to create a national network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages. The beta website is now live. Take a look. Using existing paths, ways, trails and roads, people can use Slow Ways routes to walk or wheel between neighbouring settlements, and combine them to create longer distance trips. It’s designed to make it easier for people to imagine, plan and go on walking journeys. There are currently over 7,000 Slow Ways stretching for over 100,000km. This network of routes was created by 700


"Veer off the track Take the path That leads beyond the map I'm a travelling man Each day I walk the byways of this life..." A track by the band 'Big Big Train'. And there they are playing their instruments for real in an excellent live performance. I miss that feeling when the bass pedals can be felt in your stomach at a gig...

UK National Parks in 100 Seconds

  The new film from Daniel Raven Ellison, with voice over from Cerys Matthews. Premiere was last night, followed by a panel discussion on the future of the UK's National Parks. Watch the film below: UK National Parks in 100 Seconds - Preview from Dan Raven-Ellison on Vimeo . "What do the UK's National Parks really look like? To see what these landscapes are made-up of, let's go on a walk. Each second of the walk reveals 1% of our National Parks and how they appear from above. Are you ready for the UK's National Parks in 100 seconds" Filmed from above and spoken by Cerys Matthews, this short film will likely change how you think about our National Parks forever. What could we do to make the most of our National Parks? What do you think? #UKNationalParksIn100Seconds

Worzel goes down to the sea...

And it was Cuckmere of course... another fantastic episode of Mackenzie Crook's interpretation of Barbara Euphan Todd's scarecrow was shown over the Christmas period. A lovely road trip episode heading for the sea with Saucy Nancy and some great characters as always. Plenty of links to an imagined better England, and some suitable music from the Unthanks on a pub terrace by the beach. Another highlight, with a coastal flavour was the Christmas edition of 'Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing' which saw the two friends staying in a pair of Fisherman's Cottages in Staithes. I've stayed in the village a few times and had a wonderful White Christmas there some years back.

15% sale on the Toolkit Books

At the moment, there is a 15% sale on a wide range of GA publications.  This includes all the KS3 toolkit books, so you can pick up a copy of 'Look at it this Way' much cheaper than it is available elsewhere, such as Amazon, and revisit some of the earlier posts on this blog for extra thoughts on how to use the activities. Some of them will seem familiar to you, but when first published, these were brand new.

The Slabs - new from Danny MacAskill

  We love Danny MacAskill videos at King's Ely Junior: to help introduce students to landscapes and ways of 'seeing' them in different ways. The mountains of Skye are volcanic in origin, and have been shaped by millennia of weathering... We can explain their formation and their slow breakdown, but Danny sees the chance to ride his bike in skilful and exciting ways. His latest film 'The Slabs' is set on the Dubh slabs above Lock Coruisk, which also featured in his last film 'The Ridge'. He descends the slabs. I've climbed them the other way, and I didn't take my bike. Thanks to Matt Podbury for spotting the new film and letting me know about it.