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Urban Drifting; a playful approach to geographical fieldwork Sharon Witt January 2012 Follow a hat Turn right Follow something red Turn Left.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban Drifting; a playful approach to geographical fieldwork Sharon Witt January 2012 Follow a hat Turn right Follow something red Turn Left."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban Drifting; a playful approach to geographical fieldwork Sharon Witt January 2012 Follow a hat Turn right Follow something red Turn Left

2 Learning in geography is a journey and a homecoming(Major, 2011,p. 42) The derive One goes along in any direction and recounts what one sees (Lefebvre, 1983, p. 280) Dérive is "a mode of experimental behaviour linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. (Debord,1958,p.51)

3 Context Four year programme; 15 Year 2 primary geography subject specialists; Module: A sense of place and enquiry based learning. Programme Vision To develop students who are able to question received wisdom, be politically astute and become critically engaged Subject specialists Think geographically Creative curriculum makers Living geographers

4 Why a playful approach to geographical fieldwork ? Explore new approaches to fieldwork in the Winchester locality; It is widely recognised that play and playfulness are the principle ways children acquire knowledge of themselves and their world (Moyles, 2010). Research into playful learning approaches relating to adults more limited (Rice,2009,p.95)

5 Origins of the derive and literature Architecture –Rice,2009. Aesthetics – Diaconu,2010. Geography – fieldwork in Paris related to social theory Bassett,2004. Situationists group ( 1954) – interested in art, politics, architecture and film and had a profound influence on the way we understand cities. (Ford,2005,p.33)

6 Why the derive approach ? Personal: to understand space and cities from a personal space with oneself in it. Experience: physical action and phenomenological investigation involving all of the senses to explore and communicate with ones surroundings. Celebrate the ignored: to open up ones experience to other parts of the city that will only be ignored by the purposeful routes that we normally take in the city (psychogeography). Play: to engage in challenging ideas that prompt critical thinking within an experiential atmosphere of play. (Rice,2009,p. 99)

7 Go where the mood takes them... Drift Explore Discover Search Enquire Wander Amble Saunter Stroll Meander

8 Follow a hat Turn right Follow something red Turn Left Exploring the derive approach- Route determined by: a set of cards roll of the dice carrying a toy windmill and following the direction of the breeze

9 My study Students prior experiences of Winchester; Students feelings before they competed the activity; Student module evaluations; Student representations of the experience

10 Recording the derive... Through photographs... Mark route on a map Draw your own messy map Jot down the route they took e.g. road names etc Try to capture words, phrases, thoughts as they completed their derive.

11 Emergent Purposes Creating spaces for growth ( Clarke, Egan. Fletcher and Ryan, 2006, p.408). Providing opportunities for students to pause or dwell in spaces for more than a fleeting moment (Payne and Wattchow, 2009, p.16).

12 How we look determines what we see Johnson (1994) in Stewart, 2008 p. 88) A complex web exists consisting of relationships, previous place experiences, individual and social constructing,private and public geographies - all connected in a rhizomatic manner. (Stewart,2008).

13 Previous experience of Winchester Knowledge of Winchester University only -2; Know key shops, cathedral, supermarket, pubs, coffee houses – 10; Explored Winchester and know it well- 3. I like to go out in town, but don't know where the pubs and coffee shops are !! I know Winchester just for the areas that I visit.These are only town, Uni and my area of Stanmore. I feel I don't know Winchester but would like to! 2 hour commute! Explore Winchester quite a lot and know about the different hidden areas around the city Been here for 3 months got the general gist of Winch!

14 How do you feel?

15 Opening possibilities Eisner (2003) – Turning in on possibilities – Student unease, limited willingness – Intense scrutiny of institutions and accountability If we want our students to be creative curriculum makers who are critical thinkers willing to take appropriate professional risks. (Key,2011) We should teach strategic principles for dealing with chance, the unexpected and in certain ways to modify these strategies in response to continuing acquisition of new information. Eisner (2002) – The artistry of teaching – To engage in flexible purposing – To pay attention to relationships – To exercise the imagination – To use materials as a medium

16 Flexible Purposing I learnt the value of there being no set destination for our learning How much pleasure you can gain in going to a place without a purpose

17 Shifting visions of the city and changing attitudes towards spaces (Bassett, 2004, p. 398) Student: A town isn't just for shopping...but there's so much more to see/ do than we realise. Student: (I learnt) How open spaces make you feel?

18 Learning is an uncertain adventure... We should understand the uncertainty of reality, knowing that the real holds invisible potential... (Morin,1999,p. 44)

19 Wide-awakeness, of awareness of what it is to be the world (Greene,2000, p.35.) Student: I learnt that I notice more wandering around rather than just being focused on shopping! So theres more to Winchester than I first thought

20 Rekindle a spirit of playfulness! Have teachers unlearned the importance of play in their lives? (Carter,1992) Interesting sign! Important landmark !

21 Playfulness: Risk and uncertainty

22 Every act undertaken in an uncertain environment bears a contradiction between the principles of risk and caution, both of which are necessary (Morin, 1999, p. 45).

23 Student Voice I loved it! Even in an area you know there is always more to be explored Showed a way for engaging students and making it fun Exciting allowed me to see parts of Winchester I hadn't previously visited Interesting concept and good to see how to investigate an area creatively Could have done with a warmer day!

24 What next? Explore further with students theoretical perspectives of the derive Encourage further reflection on their experiences of the derive and consider implications for their professional role and any possible applications to the primary classroom. Review timing to allow the students to share their experiences and develop their representations of the explorative journeys round Winchester.

25 Tentative Conclusions! Helps to develop student's geographical thinking through participative enquiry, deep and purposeful observation and open-ended problem solving. Random, unpredictable acts of engagement with the locality can provide opportunities for students to build confidence, develop decisiveness and feel more secure in times of uncertainty. Support students in building capacity to deal with chance, the unexpected and uncertainty; We should learn to navigate on a sea of uncertainties sailing in and around islands of certainty. (Morin,1999,p.3)

26 A final thought? He who has kept to the highway in his pilgrimage through a country has not seen much of it; it is by detours and false paths that we learn to know a country, for they compel us to pay keen attention, to look about us on all sides, and to observe all landmarks in order to find our way … Whoever has always kept to the highway of prescribed school experiences and of acknowledged truth, without the courage to turn aside and wander, has not seen very much in the land of truth. And long wandering means long remaining young (Paulsen & Perry, 1895,208).

27 Bibliography Bassett, K.(2004) Walking as an aesthetic practice and a critical tool: some pychogeographic experiments, Journal of Geography in Higher Education 28:3,pp ; Carter, M() Catching the spirit; training teachers to be playful, (accessed 26/1/12); Clarke, H. Egan,B Fletcher, L and Ryan, C (2006) Creating case studies of practice through Appreciative Inquiry Educational Action Research Vol4,no.3, September 2006,pp ; Debord, G. (1958).Theory of the Dérive in K. Knabb (Ed. & Trans.) (1981) Situationist International Anthology, Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets,pp ; Diaconu, M(2010) Urban Drifting as a Work method of the creative class, Proceedings of the European Society of Aesthetics vol 2,pp ; Eisner, E. W. (2002) The Arts and the Creation of Mind, London: Yale University Press; Eisner, E.W. (2003) Artistry in Education, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Vol 47, No. 3,pp ; Ford, S. (2005) The Situationist International- A users guide, London: Black Dog Publishing;

28 Greene, M.(2000) Releasing the imagination: essays on education, the arts, and social change, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 2000; Key, P. (2011) The overlooked: artistry, landscapes and teaching,Paper in preparation (unpublished); Lefebvre, H. (1983). Lefebvre on the dérive (Interview conducted and translated by Ross, K. In: McDonough, T. (Ed.). (2004) Guy Debord and the Situationists international, London: October Books, pp ; Major, B.(2011) Geography as journey and homecoming Geography, Vol 90(1) pp.39-43; Moyles, J. (2010) thinking about play-developing a reflective approach, Maidenhead: Open University Press; Morin,E. (1999) Seven complex lessons for the future, Paris, UNESCO Publishing available from : (accessed 26/1/12); Paulsen, F. and Perry, E.D. (1895) The German Universities: their character and historical development, New York and London:Macmillan and Co; Payne, P. G. And Wattchow, B.(2009) Phenomenological Deconstruction, Slow Pedagogy, and the Corporeal Turn in Wild Environmental / Outdoor Education, Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 14, 2009,p ; Rice, L. (2009) Playful Learning,Journal for Education in the Built Environment Vol 4, Issue 2 December 2009,pp ; Stewart, A.(2008) Whose place, whose history? Outdoor environmental education pedagogy as reading the landscape, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, vol 8, no.2, December 2008,pp79-98.

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