Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Environments

I happened upon three discussions of environments yesterday.

The first came via Stephen Downes with a link to to a post about the Telefonplan School in Sweden. The school was designed by RosanBosch.

Other designs include the Efterskole, Brotorp and Sodermalm. These are some of the links to the coverage of these designs.

Shortly after reading about school design I was on my way to Canberra listening to Radio National. Michael Dunlop was Cameron Wilson’s guest on Bush Telegraph. The trail for the conversation was:

A new CSIRO study shows that ecosystems we grew up with will be changed so much as a result of climate change that they will look, sound and smell completely different in years to come. The study is the first Australia-wide assessment of the magnitude of the ecological impact that climate change could have on biodiversity. It says the scale of the problem could have major implications for conservation policy and the management of Australia’s system of national parks and reserves. The report predicts that by 2070 most places in Australia will have environments that are more ecologically different from current conditions than they are similar.

Shortly after interviewing Michael, Cameron spoke with Danica Leys. She is a co-founder of the social media platform AgChatOz, a community forum for rural Australians to connect and discuss issues affecting their lives. AgChatOz hosts a weekly discussion on Twitter on Tuesday nights from 8-10pm.  This week there was a live event in Canberra.

There is more information about AgChatOz at their web site. I liked the rationale for social media use:

The great thing about #AgChatOZ is that allows farmers to tell their side of any story. It is breaking down barriers of rural isolation and allowing for consumers to engage with farmers and understand the inner workings of a farm and rural environment.

With more than 50% of the world’s population under 30 years old, more than 80% of online Australians familiar with Twitter, and Facebook reaching nearly 1 billion users, it is no surprise that social media is one of the most powerful communication tools of the 21st century.

Social media has allowed users of the AgChatOZ platform to have a global reach with relative ease. Our discussions have trended globally on Twitter more than twice, which has been one element of measuring our success. The calibre of groups and individuals participating and continue to engage also prove we are reaching the right audience, not purely “preaching to the converted”. We often engage with; Ministers, peak farm lobby groups, environmental groups, farmers and city consumers to name a few.

Social media can empower and connect country people, it can assist in bridging the gap between “country and city” and it allows for the paddock to plate story to be told. It is vital and crucial in building relationships and forming a better understanding of the diversity of rural people, their lives and industry.

Most importantly, it is crucial to remember that social media is simply a tool in the process of communication. Social media is not a “silver bullet” to the issues the industry faces and will continue to face, but it does provide a free, powerful and limitless platform to be heard.

My environment day ended with showing a friend the INSPIRE Centre on the University of Canberra campus. It has been built with sustainable principles and supports approaches to learning evident in Swedish plans and #tag conversations.

 

Photo Credits

Telefonplan School

INSPIRE Centre

 


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Engaging Readers

This week I have been introduced to two delightful writers. I met their work through Radio National programs. I have been thinking about writing a great deal recently in my role as supervisor of a number of student theses and research projects at the University of Canberra. I have been thinking about engaging implied readers too. Ironically this is a post about writing stimulated by being a listener.

On Tuesday Richard Stirzaker was a guest on Bush Telegraph and was interviewed by Michael Mackenzie. The interview celebrated Richard’s ability to explain scientific principles to a lay audience. The interview centred on Richard’s book Out of a Scientist’s Garden. A trail for a book launch noted that:

Out of the Scientist’s Garden is written for anyone who wants to understand food and water a little better – for those growing vegetables in a garden, food in a subsistence plot or crops on vast irrigated plains. It is also for anyone who has never grown anything before but has wondered how we will feed a growing population in a world of shrinking resources. Although a practising scientist in the field of water and agriculture, the author has written, in story form accessible to a wide audience, about the drama of how the world feeds itself. The book starts in his own fruit and vegetable garden, exploring the ‘how and why’ questions about the way things grow, before moving on to stories about soil, rivers, aquifers and irrigation. The book closes with a brief history of agriculture, how the world feeds itself today and how to think through some of the big conundrums of modern food production.

This the YouTube presentation by Richard.

On Wednesday Phillip Adams interviewed Jonathan Gold. This is the trail for the interview:

In the US, food critic Jonathan Gold has a cult following, not just because he is the first food writer to win a Pulitzer prize, and not just because he won it while working for a free, alternative newspaper, LA Weekly, but because his reviews embrace both high end cuisine and low rent neighbourhood joints. His reviews are equally riffs on food, music, politics and art; his tastes are bold and adventurous. Just don’t ask him to eat a scrambled egg.

The interview led me to Jonathan Gold’s writings in the LA Weekly and a real desire to find out more about the riffs that so captivated Phillip Adams. I liked  The Gorbals: Stomp, the Restaurant as an introduction to his writing. This is the opening paragraph:

The Gorbals, perhaps, is a restaurant that should not be seen by the light of day, when the boxy tables look like a shop-class project, the artfully scuffed floors look worn, and the back-room speakeasy vibe is overtaken by the thought that the dim space may have once served as an industrial laundry room. The music is still good, various Iggyisms and post-Iggyisms and proto-Iggyisms, but you get the feeling that the chefs would rather be sitting on a couch smoking cigarettes rather than flipping matzoh brei, and although the $5 Bloody Marys with fresh horseradish are of a strength that you may not have experienced since sophomore year in the dorms, on a Sunday morning the staff may be as hungover as you. As crisp as the blintzes are, as rich as the latke-studded pork belly hash can be, the Gorbals is not a fluffy, happy place to brunch.

Jonathan Gold’s book Counter Intelligence (Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles) was written in 2000 and is a collection of  “over 200 of Gold’s best restaurant discoveries–from inexpensive lunch counters you won’t find on your own to the perfect undiscovered dish at a beaten-path establishment”. It is available as an e-book. This blog post (from if it’s hip, it’s here) celebrates Jonathan’s Pulitzer Prize and links to a Washington Post article that is a delightful account of his work. This is the set of works that was considered by the Pulitzer Prize judges and this some biographical material about Jonathan Gold.

Richard and Jonathan have distinctive approaches to writing and sharing experience. As a supervisor of student work I am keen to share different forms of writing as a way of stimulating voice in writing. My hope is that by providing a diversity of forms each student’s voice can be enriched by access to writers such as Richard and Jonathan who offer thick description of the worlds they experience.

Photo Credits

Listening

Jonathan Gold

Road to Heaven


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Coaching, Composition, Ecology and Big Pictures

Last week I was involved in a lot of discussions about coaching and coach development. For years I have been thinking about the vision that links people after reading an Arthur Koestler paper in the late 1980s entitled The Vision that Links the Poet, Artist and Scientist.

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This week I have been thinking about the links between coaching and composition following a Graham Abbott program about Mozart. In 1788 he composed his last three symphonies, 39 (in E flat), 40 (in G minor)  and 41 (in C). In his analysis of these three symphonies Graham Abbott suggests that one refers back to the whole of Mozart’s work, one emphasises Mozart’s present occupations and one holds within it the next century of classical music. I was wondering if that is what great coaches do too in their coaching. Do they have three concurrent rhythms running through their work: the biography that positioned them to coach in the here and now and that allows them to envisage performance that can be?

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By coincidence the Hubble Telescope was in the news last week. I wondered if coach education and development might set some Hubble type aspirations:

  • NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is back in business, ready to uncover new worlds, peer ever deeper into space, and even map the invisible backbone of the universe.
  • With its new imaging camera, Hubble can view galaxies, star clusters, and other objects across a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum, from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. A new spectrograph slices across billions of light-years to map the filamentary structure of the universe and trace the distribution of elements that are fundamental to life. The telescope’s new instruments also are more sensitive to light and can observe in ways that are significantly more efficient and require less observing time than previous generations of Hubble instruments.
  • Hubble also is now significantly more well-equipped to probe and further characterize the behavior of dark energy, a mysterious and little-understood repulsive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate.

If this kind of vision is what coaching is about then I think coaching is about first principles too. I wondered if the insights coaches have match those of a soil scientist like Christine Jones and an innovative farmer like Cam McKellar who appeared on Radio National’s Bush Telegraph program. If you have an opportunity to listen to the podcast then it will sound very familiar to coaches interested in grassroots development!

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I am hopeful that the visions held by composers, astronomers and farmers can enrich our thinking about coaching.

Photo Sources (The Commons)

The St Raphael Team

An Orchestral Practice

Hubble Image

Planting Tomatoes