Monday, 29 April 2013

Keep Calm and Explore with Dan- PART 5- London

In the concluding episode of the series, Dan explores London, and discovers even a capital city has time and space for natural beauty.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

BANDANA- 28th April 2013

Daniel presented his weekly Sunday night radio show, Bandana, between 7 and 10 this Sunday evening! To listen again, click the link below...

Saturday, 27 April 2013


My thanks to everyone who continually supports the 'Geography with Dan' blogsite. Tonight, overall views have just topped 40,000!

Please do keep checking back as the site is regularly updated and if you have an idea for the blog, please contact me:

Monday, 22 April 2013

Keep Calm and Explore with Dan- PART 4- Southampton

This week, join Dan as he visits Southampton, and discovers the natural beauty of the city.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Monday, 15 April 2013


In this, the third programme in the series, Dan travels to Oxford, and explores the natural beauty in the city. From flooded meadows, to wild deer, he explains that even if you live in a city, it's never too late to Keep Calm and Explore.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

BANDANA: 14th April 2013

Missed Dan's Radio Show? Dan is on 'Bandana' every Sunday evening from 7pm till 10pm! Here's this week's show!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Geographical Association Annual Conference: 2013- Derby- 'Quality' Geography, What Does it Look Like? By David Gardner

In these times of meeting targets and achieving objectives, I often feel that the essence of 'quality' is lost, or perhaps, overshadowed. I had just emerged from Dr Rita Gardner's extremely motivational speech regarding Geography as this all encompassing, relevant and applicable subject. (You can read a summary of it in the next post below). I was transfixed at her passion, yet realised that inside the classroom, so often that's not the case. So frequently have I heard teachers comment about the looming presence of school inspections, and how it inadvertently disrupts learning. To put it short, students are not reaping the delights that come with such a subject and are forever being handed internal assessments. Where's the quality in that?

So often the quality of a lesson relies on the quality of the teacher, as David Gardner outlined in this conference lecture. The teacher must have "clear vision" with a "character and purpose" and they should install high expectations in each of their students. They should continually ask themselves: "What are trying to achieve?" and "How do we organise learning?" I agree, to a degree, but have always found that a student who manages their own learning will so often do well in the future. They have the initiative to ask questions to supplement their studies. They have the eagerness; the zeal for Geography.

David Gardner continued to shine the spotlight on those aspects which don't offer quality. Teaching 'just to cover the content' being one of them. I, myself, have found that teachers regularly complain that there is seldom any time to explore around a topic and instead, students have to skid across the surface of a subject, and hop to the next one. As Rita Gardner put it, there needs to be more quantitative skills introduced into the lessons, like map work; students should be active learners. How often is it that a class is expected to rely on a textbook? Yes, Waugh might offer an integrated approach, but that isn't necessarily the approach to 'quality' learning.

Archibald Geikie once wrote a book called The Teaching of Geography and although there's no one correct method, he made one of the most crucial points. The irreplaceable ingredient is "personal zest". Every student has to have the zest for learning about the planet he or she belongs to. They have to relish the excitement that the subject offers; they have to savour every last droplet of excitement that Geography inevitably provides. If not, well, it turns into a laborious few hours at the desk. And by today's standards of Geography teaching, no wonder they chew gum and text away. David Gardner strongly believes that students should enter a classroom with a sense of anticipation. He believes the learning should be compelling.

So how do you make learning compelling? Well, I think it comes back to what Rita Gardner was saying in the previous lecture; you have to engage through their own terms. You could have the most wise and academic of learning objectives, but if they don't bubble the adrenaline, they're next to pointless. It's very often the case that teachers find themselves under the pressure of meeting targets. But maybe they should instead focus on the very core of the issue: the question of quality. If a student doesn't exit the classroom feeling inspired, can you honestly say that you've achieved your targets?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Geographical Association Annual Conference: 2013- Derby- Geography's Impacts on the Wider World by Dr. Rita Gardner

Let me put down on record, this was one of the best lectures I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. The enthusiasm that was injected into the audience through mere words was sensational. Flames of inspiration were burning, and a motivational warmth diffused through the hall. It was simply brilliant.

Dr Rita Gardner's enthusiasm for Geography isn't a result of being the Director of the Royal Geographical Society, but it's how she landed the position in the first place. Her lecture at this conference delved into the wider aspects of Geography; she explained just why it is essential for all leagues of contemporary society. From Geo spatial technology such as GPS and GIS, to the issues all around us, she made it exceedingly clear that Geography serves not just the classroom, but also the workplace and the wider society.

It was Bill Clinton who said "Geographic information is critical.." to promote the economy. That still rings true today, perhaps even more so. Insurance companies use geographical information to base their quotes. (Living right next to the Broads, I have personal experience of this!)

Unfortunately, despite the need for Geography in our society, and although we feed off it like aphids sip sap, there is this notion that Geography jobs are not plentiful. However, Rita strongly countered this argument with the latest survey by Hista, who has placed Geography graduates as the second lowest when it comes to graduate unemployment. So there are jobs out there; some of which use Geography but aren't necessarily called a 'Geography job'.

I think it's the diversity of skills that Geography offers that makes it so applicable. Having said this, Rita pointed out that quantitative skills are perhaps modern society's weakness. Map-reading has been substituted for Google or SatNav. Contour lines are redundant after an oppressive launch of these Smart Phones that can tell one the local area's gradient, the local amenities, the local this and the local that. (They might even be serving tea soon.) There's no doubt about the weakness in some of the vital skills, but at least there are strong forces defending the subject. Lord Patten, for instance, who is the Chairman of the BBC, who once said delightfully: "I believe passionately in the importance of Geography."

Rita went onto talking about the role of the Royal Geographical Society and how she and her team are forever trying to promote Geography, especially to the younger audience. One of her most pertinent points came here. That it is important to engage them through their terms, not ours. If they prefer to learn Geography through an App, or maybe through the latest Top 40, then so be it. I thought this was a moment of genius, especially because I, for one, have been trying to promote Geography for many years now.

I asked a question at the end: should it be a necessity to inspire Geography to young people by using other young people. I have been trying to inspire hundreds, perhaps thousands, over the last few years. I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. Apparently, I am. "Young people are our future," Rita spoke. And you could tell she was speaking from the heart. What a lovely lady.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Geographical Association Annual Conference: 2013- Derby- Presidential Lecture from Bob Digby

For the next two weeks, Geography with Dan will be focusing on just a handful of the extremely enriching lectures I enjoyed last weekend in Derby, at the annual G.A. conference. What better way to begin than the Presidential Lecture given by present President, Bob Digby?

Bob isn't a sportsman as such, but he has a burning passion for sporting events, in particular the Olympics and the lecture he gave this year at the conference really exhibited that love. From the very opening sentence, he shuttled a hundred or so of us in the audience back to last summer's grand display of sportsmanship and positive competitiveness; a memorable summer that Rio can aspire to in 2016. But Bob's essential question rang throughout the presentation: was it just a summer to remember?

London's Olympics has been dubbed the 'Sustainable Games' and has, in some way, imprinted a legacy over the words: Great Britain. In some ways, Great Britain has never been so great; so inspirational. London's diversity has become augmented, it has sent out a motivational message that sport is an ingredient to a positive well being, and the games themselves were one of the 'sustainable' games on record. Of course, the word 'sustainable' lingers out there in a cloud of ambiguity.

So very often progress and achievement can only be measured by firstly observing what was in place before, and Bob gave a very informative briefing on East London. He drew on the fact that the London Olympic Park planners had taken inspiration from previous games, referring to the concept of 'Green Games' that we adopted from Sydney. It's clear that one of the pivotal Olympic environmental principals was this notion of 'remediation' and Bob punctuated what almost had been a non-stop celebration, by turning to Athens. The Athens' Olympic Legacy is one of negativeness; the park has been labelled a "wasteland", but where on the league does it sit with Beijing? Beijing created the arresting site of the 'Bird's Nest' stadium which has seen very little action apart from tourism since 2008. (Of course, if you're not an avid reader in Olympic Legacy or regularly take trips to Beijing, you probably wouldn't have known that!)

It's significant- perhaps more significant than ever after Athens and Beijing- that the London Legacy perpetuates. Already afoot are plans to transform every venue into a public leisure venue. The Copper Box will be turned into a public leisure facility, the Velodrome will be converted to a BMX/Mountain Biking track and the Aquatic Centre will be revised to become community swimming baths. (Those who have the inclination, I have no doubts that Tom Daley's locker will be an on-site exhibit with hourly tours and one of his towels will be there hanging behind a glass cabinet in the foyer!) And the Olympic Stadium? Well, it's diary isn't exactly bare. Already, the turf and track has been reserved for the World Athletic Championships and Live Nation. Whether the 2015 Premiership Matches, World Rugby and 20/20 Cricket will secure the stadium, is a controversial and much-heated debate.

Bob ventured far beyond the success and legacy of the amenities, and touched upon the re branding of East London. 2800 more social housing units have been built, and economic opportunity will continue to thrive largely thanks to a multiplier effect. The question remains: will East London be the new Silicon Valley? With 3000 jobs and Facebook moving in, it's almost certain that the stereotypical image of East London will be cast aside and replaced by a fresh one of innovation.

Sydney's Olympics is one that Bob remembers very well. But has it been deemed an all round success? (I know I have readers from this pocket of the planet, so I should speak carefully here!) If there were any shortenings, it would be the political secrecy that transpired from the games. It has been pointed out that the economics of the event overshadowed the social issues. It scored 5/10 overall, which is something to chew over I think. There are obviously parameters that weren't considered when scoring the success, and of course, it is very difficult to quantify something which itself is qualitative. Bob calculated a score of 8.4/10 for London 2012, which inspired an audience with a sense of achievement in Derby at the conference, and I think I speak on their behalf too when I say I have never been more proud to be living in England, and to be studying in London later this year.

Finally, Bob issued what could be an extremely interesting discussion point. The Olympics undoubtedly installed a sense of national pride back into the country and it simultaneously hosted a games which has furthered globalisation. But 'national pride' and 'globalisation' conflict with one another. Whichever side of the pitch you stand on that one, (pun very much intended there) I think we are altogether united in agreeing that London 2012 wasn't just a Summer to remember. It has sparked a wave of opportunities both socially and economically and will forever be known as the Legacy Games.

Monday, 8 April 2013


In this, the second programme in his latest series, Daniel Evans explores the natural beauty of Cambridge.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

BANDANA- 7th April 2013

If you missed Daniel's weekly Sunday evening show, here's a link to it!

Geographical Association Conference: 2013

Over the last couple of days, it's been truly a geographer's heaven. I've been enveloped in most probably the highest concentration of Geography the U.K experiences, and it only takes place on one weekend of a year. I'm referring to the annual Geographical Association Conference, hosted this year at Derby University. I spent a couple of days mingling with the likes of Dr Rita Gardner CBE (Director of the Royal Geographical Society) and Bob Digby (President of the Geographical Association.) It was an honour to experience a lecture by Terry Callaghan (Distinguished Research Professor and Nobel Peace Prize winner.) I learnt a great deal about the work that is currently taking place in and around the country, and indeed farther afield, and over the next two weeks, on Geography With Dan, I plan to share some of my findings with you. Keep returning over the next couple of weeks!

Monday, 1 April 2013

BRAND NEW SERIES- Keep Calm and Explore with Dan

In this, a brand new series, Dan explores the pockets of natural beauty in some of the country's most busiest cities, proving it's never too late to keep calm and explore.