The Geography Department




Geographical Association Annual Conference  Derby - 12-13 April 2007


GA Conference in Derby 2005




The setting




The University of Derby for the second time for me; this isn't the main entrance, but the short-cut from the car park to the exhibition hall and where we roadies load and unload our wares! Dramatic architecture certainly gave a feeling of light and space - especially when the sun came out on Saturday!




Setting up




Victoria (Littlemissunshine) printed and brought in all of the hands to the stand on Thursday afternoon; I'd got the boards in from the car and assembled by then. Jim McNaughton and I cut them out and Jim placed them artistically around the boards!





Daniel Raven-Ellison arrived earlier than I on Thursday with the merchandise, and things quickly took off. There were t-shirts already ordered and awaiting collection, plus thick piles of the various sizes, then there were world maps on large sheets of paper ... but there was no world map, just a statement saying that we'd be lost without it. The irony had to be explained and they did not do well. What did wonderfully well, and there is definitely a commercial future in this area, were the badges, all made by Dan, and they went in their dozens. I think it must be self-evident by now that Dan was the mover and shaker.




Our prize sponsor




Atlas Jigsaw Maps very kindly agreed to supply us with a prize for our geographical suggestion competition - it was a map of the world, 24" x 16" with 192 pieces.


The jigsaws are wooden, and graded in difficulty for different ages and abilities; I thought they would be ideal for support units in schools.


Many thanks to Kate for her support!


Kate Callaghan of Atlas Jigsaw Maps





The ladies



Clare Millet was on the stand and gives us a smile!


Sarah and Victoria on the stand, Dan and Alan mulling things over.


Sarah Hack, producer of my favourite Power Point, and a stalwart at the stand.



David Rayner (or GeoDave) and with Daniel the creator of GGiP.

Dave's  wide circle of  geographical friends was evident, and he used all of his considerable powers of persuasion and argument on visitors to the stand.


Jo Norcup in ebullient mood, above, but also at a more reflective time. Taking photos from above became a bit of a sport .. started by Val Vannet, mischief-maker!




Val Vannet, the first lady of Scottish Geography, was at the stand often, sporting her tan (Italy and then the French Alps) and, on the right, in conversation with Ian Hardie of Rayburn Travel. Fears that Val might take to her micro-light in the large hall sadly proved unfounded! Read her Higher Blog.


Val also organised the SLN meal in Bistro Pierre, in the clubbing centre of Derby, and many thanks to her for that. The walk back to the hotel was instructional to say the least! The taxis were lined up just like in the Carlsberg advert!





The Gentlemen



Rob Chambers (Rob Cha, left) put in long hours at the stand - and was in danger of being mobbed by grateful delegates after the publication of his website directory. It is fantastic - find it here. In the centre is Tom Bierbrach (on the GGiP committee) and on the right is Bob Lang. All three are heavy-hitters from SLN, but they are the most modest of people, and a real pleasure to be with.



The SLN community - and beyond!


A further pair of very heavy-hitters in Alan Parkinson (left), author of Geography Pages and probably the greatest web-watcher of them all - and Noel Jenkins of Juicy Geography and much else, all of it incredibly creative.





Kate Russell, SLN's highly-esteemed moderator called in and kitted herself out with a T-shirt - and hand. Kate was, of course, at the SLN dinner and has a dry wit that the printed word struggles to convey. She stayed in a posh hotel just up from the European, where a few more SLN'ers stopped. I got the car and drove for an hour to my Youth Hostel!




Naomi (Whitham) from Wales - no longer lost!


Sue Lomas, past-president of the GA called by and was fully supportive and a good sport for a photo.

Edge, Emma Johns came by with shrieks of recognition when her identity became clear.


Karl Donert picks up his T-shirt and lends his enthusiastic support. He is himself trying to create a pan-European grouping of geographers - to add unity, and therefore strength, to our cause. An ally and, of course, a very nice man.




Bob Jones, left, is a stalwart supporter and I enjoyed a vigorous (although we agreed about everything) conversation with him.



Simon Renshaw or 'Simon' on SLN...

who was gratifyingly friendly, as I'm not used to have to look up at people (made the picture more difficult to take, too!).





Simon Catling is Prof at Oxford Brookes and big Primary specialist for the GA - and most happy to be associated with GGiP.

Angus Willson - a Geography consultant - particularly those to do with sustainable urban communities. He is also on various GA committees, and is obviously an aware supporter!

Keith Irvine of Bishop’s Stortford College -went away with a bundle of T-shirts; maybe a mass-attack somewhere?






Jo, Victoria and Dan. So the Oxfam guy didn't want to buy the T-shirt? Live that one down - I thought we were mates with NGO's !


Dan chatting out in the exhibition.


Bob talking with Alan at the stand - who was gathering strength after giving his double-length workshop!

Bob, far left and Rob, in the centre, on the stand. On the right of the photo are two chaps from the SAGT, and Alan Docherty (in blue) gave me some lovely/humorous images from the Geojuice site.

No-where is sacred - they were plastered everywhere!

Dan, Jo and Victoria - with, amongst others, Simon O (on left in check shirt) . The GGiP team are all looking really insecure about Geography! (see SLN post)



Round and about the conference



Rayburn tours have an attractive catalogue of places to visit, especially Iceland. They also go to my old haunts in Switzerland, Leysin in particular, and the Lotschental, which I now know has changed a lot since I waited out a 3-day storm in 1977!







Memory Maps showed me their new IGN map sets of France at 1:25000 - which was a treat! I don't have a GPS in the car, but I live by my laptop running Memory Map.





The scene on the lower exhibition floor from the short stairs leading to an upper level and, just a little higher the dining area and balcony zones.



I had a good long chat with Dave Jackson, Centre Manager and Academic Advisor with Discover Ltd. and as I've got a big thing about the Massif Central I am actively thinking about a fast run on the A75 and checking out the Eagle's Nest and their neck of the woods. A stunning location (having checked it out on Google) and it all sounds organised down to a tee.





The GA stand was much visited (the photographs were taken when it was quiet, during lecture time, when I could wander more) and the hessian bags were sought after. I was delighted to buy a blue mug, and hope their marketing side can be expanded further  - and our experience on GGiP is that there is a huge demand out there for geographical logo clothing and funky badges!


The Oxfam stand caught my attention, so I realigned for a shot on the GEOGRAPHER's back!


My Gold Award


'The Magic Planet'

The stunning projector-globe by Vivifeye




The scene above is a few hours into the 2005 Boxing Day tsunami, completely animated and shown on the surface of the globe, glowing with the moving image. These photos may not look too sharp, but I was photographing movies being projected. There are about 170 available for the globe; below is the impressive weather and vegetation animations. You can watch the last few weeks of weather on the globe, as a movie, you can choose which part of the globe you want to see, zoom into section of the globe, have picture-in-picture movies ... and do the same for any planetary body for which there is data. You'll want one - but the word I've heard is that it's a cool £10,000 ...but for educational users this comes down to £5,700! You still could never leave it out for the kids to play with over morning break!






Next door to Vivifeye Aegis 3 was being displayed by Diana Freeman, so it was really a GIS corner of the exhibition.


This lady kindly demonstrated 'Oriel' to my wife and I as we passed the AU on our way home, spending two hours with us. That was 1992 and I still use the unsurpassed 'Qwest' part of the program.



The Advisory Unit



And finally ...




It was over a hour's drive from Ravenstor YHA to Derby, but on Saturday, with a hint of early sun through the mist, I did manage to snatch a trio of shots. The middle one is from the front balcony at Ravenstor; those either side from the A623 east of Tideswell.

Nice place, Derbyshire!