After the hyper-consumerism of the recent festive season, were you the one carrying the old wrapping paper, used tinfoil and discarded detritus to the rubbish bin?
We follow in a long tradition, arguably in the foot steps of the Victorians, who were the first ‘throw-away society’ according to Dr. Tom Licence of the University of East Anglia.
The Victorian advances in packaging, branded products and new routes to market in retail confirmed the ‘disposability of things’ for the Victorian householder.
As part of the UEA in London series of events, you can hear Dr. Licence discussing ‘What the Victorians threw away’
Thursday 26 January, 6.30pm – What the Victorians threw away – Dr Tom Licence, UEA
Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW
‘In this lecture, Tom will use items excavated from rubbish dumps to show how our throwaway habits developed. He will explore Victorian ideas about re-use and re-cycling, and link emerging patterns of waste-creation to the growth of western consumerism’.
You can visit Tom’s archive of objects, disposed of by your great, great grandparents, on his web site – http://www.whatthevictoriansthrewaway.com/ The web pages also contain fascinating insights to what the East Anglians threw away too.
His book is available here in both paperback and Kindle editions…
‘The people who lived in England before the First World War now inhabit a realm of yellow photographs. Theirs is a world fast fading from ours, yet they do not appear overly distant.
Many of us can remember them as being much like ourselves. Nor is it too late for us to encounter them so intimately that we might catch ourselves worrying that we have invaded their privacy. Digging up their refuse is like peeping through the keyhole‘.
1,076 backers pledged 56,504 euros to help bring this project to life, exceeding the original campaign target of 35,000 euros. Brilliant.
This must be the Enlightenment project of the year.
On the eve of 2017, the 330th anniversary of the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia (Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica), a small publishing house in Barcelona, Kronecker Wallis, are dedicated to issuing a new version of this master work.
Design and detail are the watch words of this small creative team, who are recruiting backers for the project on the pages of Kickstarter.
With only nine days to go of the campaign, as of the publication of this short article, why not take an intellectual punt and pledge a very modest amount to receive a copy of this great piece of literature, science and the art of book binding?
If completed this is the Christmas present to die for for those interested in the aesthetics of the book, the history of science and a love of independent, small studio making.
The book will be set in Lucas de Groot‘s font The Serif, created in 1994. To get the finest reproduction the publishers have chosen Munken Polar paper, giving a high quality white tonality to the page and a natural feel. Paper weights of 100 grams for the inner pages and covers produced in 260 grams.
‘The binding is what really sets this book apart. We wanted its “wrapping” to be visually appealing and different. Therefore, we have opted for visible binding that leaves the spine bare, displaying a part of the books that usually remains hidden. This type of binding also helps us when reading the book, as it allows us to open it wider‘.
Visiting Chelmsford Ideas Festival on a Monday evening…
To Chelmsford on Monday evening, 24th October, for the formal launch of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival at the Anglia Ruskin University campus in the city, in the presence of Councillor Patricia Hughes – Mayor of Chelmsford.
The assembled audience were warmly welcomed by Professor David Humber, Provost of Anglia Ruskin’s Chelmsford Campus, who went on to give a brief history of the University’s association with the Festival over the last five years.
Professor Humber also gave us news of the development of new Life Science courses and infrastructure as well as the imminent plans to open a new Medical School on the campus in 2018.
We learned from Prof. Humber that the city was host to some 93 events this Festival season, of which 20 events will take place on the University campus.
In response the Festival Chair, Malcolm Noble FRSA, spoke in thanks for the contribution the city makes to the Ideas Festival and how the city’s support, made manifest by the presence of Her Worship the Mayor, was most gratefully and vitally received each year.
Malcolm spoke also of a change of inflection for the Festival programme this year, involving children and families directly and threading practical arts and community focused events through the programme.
You can discover the Ideas Festival on-line here, and see how the original socio-cultural research, which triggered the creation of the Changing Chelmsford Festival team, has attempted to fill gaps in artistic provision and increase community engagement across the city and its hinterland.
They have been successful without doubt.
The launch gathering was followed by a lecture on ESA’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME: How is E2V protecting Planet earth? – featuring the work of Chelmsford company e2v – ‘…providing world-class image sensors and detection subsystems that can help solve the mysteries of the Universe, understand climate change on Earth and much more…‘
Source: Festival Programme.
Our featured Festival event for this week:
27th October 2016 Somme 100 Film Chelmsford Cathedral, 53 New St, Chelmsford CM1 1TY 20.00 to 22.00
‘Live Cinema performance with Cambridge Concert Orchestra to mark the centenary of the First World War Battle of the Somme: lasting from 1st July to 18th November 1916. We will use the acclaimed score by composer Laura Rossi as commissioned by the Imperial War Museum. Laura Rossi and the Imperial War Museum Senior Curator Dr. Tony Haggath will introduce the film‘.
Continuing our theme of ‘Northern Energy’, we were in Newcastle upon Tyne this week and, on Friday afternoon, took time to visit Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. They have an important exhibition and research project into the donated archive of the writer Michael Morpurgo. Below is what we thought.
”Michael Morpurgo Exhibition 2 July 2016 – Sunday 2 July 2017, Newcastle UK. A Lifetime in Stories.
Through one of our our sister projects, Books go Walkabout, an international delivery system to get authors, illustrators and poets, and their books, to corners of the world previously unreached, we have an abiding interest in children’s literature as you would expect.
The Seven Stories Morpurgo exhibition is certainly about a fantastic canon of work dedicated to the young imagination. However, the research team have extracted illustrative and delightful insights into, and evidence of, the writing process, using the archive generously donated to the Centre by Michael Morpurgo in 2015.
What the display and featured narrative does offer, in the broadest terms, is an insight into the creative process, the research and writing of a book, much of which in this Seven Stories gallery has taken place before the arrival and dominance of the word processor.
Not only an exhibition in praise of the work of Michael Morpurgo, but an illustration in itself of what can be achieved with a simple notebook and a pen or pencil. The imagination does not need an elecrical socket and plug to thrive apparently!
Some key exhibition elements:
Michael Morpurgo was born in 1943, and his early life was beset by sadness and conflicting tensions. It was interesting to see the detail of Michael’s school, home life and reaction to his early experiences in the British Army. This thematic thread of war and militarism can be traced through the exhibition, as in Michael’s life. His mother’s grief at the loss of her brother in the Second World War was an equally powerful emotional driver for the writing.
In 1962 Michael met his future wife Clare, and it was the summons home by his mother, with the pretence of an imaginary illness, that offered the opportunity for them to get married, against the prevailing condition that cadets of the Royal Military College Sandhurst must be single. A signal turning point in a creative life which solidified his pacifism, well evidenced and illustrated by this exhibition.
His first short book, published in 1974, was It Never Rained, an interconnected narrative about five children. By 1999 Mopurgo was ready to publish Wombat Goes Walkabout, with wonderful illustrations by Christian Birmingham. A great story about digging holes and how a wombat can save the day.
1982 saw the release of War Horse, perhaps Mopurgo’s most famous creation. The exhibition offers the visitor a display of many of the notebooks, first drafts, corrections and re-typed double spaced manuscripts that drove the creation of this seminal work.
This series of displays offers, we thought, a powerful illustration of how writing is both a physical and an intellectually layered process, but which requires a gritty determination to see the story through to the final end – publication. It is this revisiting and deterministic approach to his craft of writing that makes a Mopurgo novel so dramatic and engaging we suspect.
In the exhibition narrative Michael Morpurgo states that his engagement with a story ‘…can be measured by the size of his handwriting in his notebooks‘. The smaller the hand written text the more intensely the creative muse has gripped him that day.
To an archivist this is vital in determining the writers emotional condition on any particular creative day. As his pen moves rapidly across the notebook page, Michael has left a marker, a measure of intensity, for later researchers seeking to determine his emotional or creative state. Something a plastic keyboard, no matter how powerful the micro-processor it is connected to, could ever offer the interested reader in years to come.
Looking at the Morpurgo ‘war’ material, we pondered on what must be a pivotal issue for the contemporary archivist or researcher. With ready access to technology, publishing processes and cloud storage – how will future archivists and seekers of process engage with material that is electronic and resting, potentially, in a thousand different formats, storage facilities and locations around the globe.
Interestingly, MIT Technology Review has just published an article on the use of computing and data mining techniques to show that there are, it contests, only six basic ’emotional arcs’ in storytelling. These are…
…a steady, ongoing rise in emotional valence, as in a rags-to-riches story such as Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll. A steady ongoing fall in emotional valence, as in a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. A fall then a rise, such as the man-in-a-hole story, discussed by Vonnegut. A rise then a fall, such as the Greek myth of Icarus. Rise-fall-rise, such as Cinderella. Fall-rise-fall, such as Oedipus.
We are intense users of the notebook and pen ourselves, in our ordinary workaday lives, but have to recognise that research and analysis would now be immeasurably diminished without technology. We wondered, travelling through the Michael Morpurgo exhibition, an historical audit trail of the creative mind, what other contemporary children’s and young adult writers take on ‘techno’ is today?
Perhaps this is a Seven Stories seminar series in the making? Pen or Processor, the creative methodology in contemporary children’s literature. We would buy a ticket! (Ed.)
A visual treat:
Towards the end of the exhibition content is a section dedicated to Michael Morpurgo’s artistic collaborators, the artists who have contributed to the written work.
It offers the visitor a fascinating insight into how the imagination is populated by the story, how the psyche is suggested a character and landscape by Michael Morpurgo’s writing. It is also, within the context of this article, a soaring endorsement of the power and durability of putting a hand to paper. Surely no machine can replace the creative evocation of story by the artists below?
The work on display includes artwork from Quentin Blake, Gary Blythe, Peter Bailey, Christian Brimingham and Tony Kerins amongst others. We particularly warmed to the diversity of images in the exhibition that depicted the sea. Whether Kensuke’s Kingdom or When the Wales Came, the original cover art to be seen provokes an imaginative dream of action, wind, water and a tale to be told.
It was wonderful to see this collection of individual artistic work within the context of the Seven Stories Michael Morpurgo exhibition. But each artist has a separate body of work which is lively, imagination capturing and enchanting in equal measure. We hope you can use the links above to explore this on-line collection ‘gallery of galleries’ too.
Getting to Seven Stories NE! 2PQ :
If you leave the impressive Newcastle Central Station and turn right down towards Quayside, you can turn left along Quayside and walk, past the Pitcher and Piano until you come to St. Ann’s Steps on the left. Ascend them. At the top, look back down the river to the bridges receding into the distance. Turn and cross the road and right down to Cut Bank on the left, following the river left along for a couple of hundred yards and Seven Stories will apppear on your right.
The journey there, if the sun is shining, can be as uplifting as your visit to The National Centre for Children’s Books. This is a fascinating insight into the work of our national story teller. Seven Stories offers a whole rainbow of experience around ‘the children’s book’, whether a holidaying family looking to stimulate young imaginations, a visit to the cafe and bookshop, or a serious academic look at the sweep of children’s literature.
‘Seven Stories was able to support the acquisition from Michael Morpurgo through support from Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Collecting Cultures’ programme, which has been awarded to Seven Stories in recognition of the museum’s national role in telling a comprehensive story of modern British children’s literature’.
Source: Seven Stories web site. Accessed 09.07.2016 See http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection/collection-highlights/michael-morpurgo
We were delighted to hear that JDRF, our favourite Eastern Region charity here at the conversationsEAST offices, have been chosen as one of the Cambridge News Cash for the Community featured participants.
Cambridge News are providing their readers with the opportunity to clip coupons from the paper, starting with twenty four coupons on Monday, which readers can then use to vote for their favourite regional charitable good cause.
We think there is a new energy abroad in education and training, sweeping the landscape to create new opportunities and outcome for a range of young people. Discover a couple of examples of this new delivery below…the horizon may have just go a bit nearer for young people who don’t seem to quite ‘fit the traditional bill’.
Swarm can offer young people Level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeship framework options, with the added zest of ‘…innovative enterprise training workshops which develop the mindset and commercial awareness of apprentices’.
You can discover a comprehensive list of the integrated Swarm developmental workshops here. This impressive cast list is designed to sensitise and energise apprentices into an entrepreneurial, developmental and goals achieving mindset.
The Swarm team’s key focus qualification is the Level 3 Diploma in Enterprising Skills in a Business Environment, although the company does offer other opportunities too.
What we liked most is how this entrepreneurial flavour and admixture is seamlessly blended into the training programme for the individual, combining both the needs of the apprentice to perform well to his or her employer’s satisfaction, whilst at the same time creating the building blocks for a mind-changing mentality about what it is possible to achieve.
You can see how the next generation of mainstream Oxbridge business and political leaders are seeking to develop a social good from their careers, for example, in the 80,000 Hours programme. This Ashton led initiative caters for bright young people, we think, who may have fallen through the educational cracks or who are seeking a very practical, resource driven approach to learning and skills uptake to the benefit of business, society and the individual.
We highly commend the Swarm Apprenticeship approach to our readers. See more here.
This new, innovative scheme seeks to engage schools and suitably qualified businesses in a new form of partnership, where the school benefits from the insights and experience of the employer in a ‘… network to create powerful, lasting connections between local businesses and the schools and colleges in an area‘.
It is an idea designed to see businesses helping school senior management teams to develop strategies which link the world of work to the curriculum and energetic adaptability of schools, maximising their local contacts and accelerating the context of their educational outcomes to the benefit of both pupils and employers.
Lord Young has described the Adviser role in this way…
“I propose that Enterprise Advisers would advise head teachers and teachers on the ways employers can engage with the school, drawing on advice from key local partners, including those that offer careers advice. I would envisage that the Advisers are drawn from all sectors of the economy and not only restricted to entrepreneurs‘.
The one is not designed to swamp the other, but to add a richer texture to the offer of all. RSA Fellows can also add a powerful contribution to the development of the Enterprise Adviser network too, we are sure.
In simple marketing and recruitment terms, if I’m building a trusted network or list of individuals dedicated to social good, then lets share some of that trust and fellowship with others in the public sector, striving for the same aim.
You can follow IETT news on Twitter too: @Tide_Turning
The web site features not only regular news and featured ideas on the pages of The Tide, the IETT web journal, but also regular newsfeeds from a variety of sources across the education landscape.
Monographia is a growing web resource of research papers and conference contributions that mark key themes for IETT groups. The Debate – filmed is a growing archive of videos that go to the nascent movement’s campaigning and research aims.
If you have an interest in educational reform, or the social inequality agenda, we commend this site to you…Ed.
Developing your project web presence?
The conversationsEAST team are keen to offer web support to socially focused web projects in the East of England.
We are particularly happy to support projects led by RSA Fellows, as our donating Partners at SmithMartin LLP, are keen supporters of the Society. We would also like to support the planned development of IETT groups in Nottingham and Oxford.
The Chair of Changing Chelmsford Malcolm Noble and Ideas Festival Director Leonie Ramondt , and their teams, have put together a well designed and informative Festival programme – with the creative input of the Anglia Ruskin University Design Collective. (Thanks go to Jeff Bray, Becky Lockwood and Daniel Tubl).
Robotics…. Be part of world level engineering breakthroughs, achievements, and products being designed and developed in Chelmsford and Essex. You will have the opportunity to take control and get involved in various activities such as engineering design, 3D printing, using advanced computer models, robotics, aerodynamics, medical engineering, Raspberry Pi and many more. Learn about the change and impact that engineering in Chelmsford and Essex makes nationally and internationally.
Extra Information: Booking required: www.anglia.ac.uk/ community or call 01245684723
Essex Police is 175 years old this year. Nick Alston CBE was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex in 2012. He is currently Chair of the Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and Chair of the Police ICT Company Board. He will give us an overview of his experience as Commissioner, reflect on policing in Essex and provide some pointers on the police service of the future.
A strong theme of the Festival this year is the notion of Creating the City of the Future. Ideas for city change, walks through the concept of change in Chelmsford and harnessing the power to create – a three part, multi-location event.
Matthew Taylor of the RSA will be exploring the Power to Create the City, harnessing the thematic concepts enagaged in the Society’sChange Aims.
Enlightened City Making
Host: The Royal Society of Arts Venue: Chelmsford Cathedral Date: 21st October, 2015 – 10.00am to 2.30pm
Session One – ENLIGHTENED CITY MAKING
Creativity is at the heart of innovation, enterprise and good places to live. But we are increasingly expected to be resourceful and self-reliant to shape our communities, with the help of amazing digital tools. The RSA says everyone has the power to create and to stival play a role in enlightened, active communities. Using the RSA ‘Change Aims’ we will look at the power to create the city with Matthew Taylor, head of the RSA.
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