In this post we reflect on a walk from Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames in January 2023 undertaken as part of the NERC-funded Landscape Stories Project. Together, members of the ‘Dadima’s’ Community Walking Group and researchers from The Open University followed the River Thames from Hambledon Weir to Henley before looping back across the hill.
The Dadima’s Walking Group and OU team, hiking near Henley-on-Thames. Credit: Subash Ludhra.
In this post we reflect on a walk near Lewknor from December 2022. Together, members of the ‘Dadima’s’ Community Walking Group and researchers from the Open University walked along parts of the ancient ridgeway as part of the NERC-funded Landscape Stories Project. (The Ridgeway is ‘Europe’s oldest continuously-used road. It runs from the World Heritage Site of Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon and has been in use since the Stone Age. The Ridgeway is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a National Trail in 2023 under the patronage of the anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota.)
The Dadima’s walking group and OU team, hiking near Lewknor. Credit: Harbind Singh.
Through ‘Landscape Stories’ environmental scientists from the Open University are engaging with a grassroot South-East Asian community walking group called ‘Dadima’s, Connecting Generations Walk and Talk’. Led by Dr Geeta Ludhra, Dadima’s is a Community Interest Company (CIC) based in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Together, we are co-designing walking routes that showcase aspects of the geological, landscape and ecological evolution of the Chiltern’s AONB. We are particular interested in exploring ways to connect environmental science, people and cultures through ‘storied walks’.
The Dadima’s walking group and OU team on the top of Ivinghoe Beacon. Credit: Kate Ashbrook.
Here we present the first of a series of reflective guides to our ‘storied walks’. This guide is for a circular walk of around seven miles from the National Trust Visitor Centre on the Ashridge Estate to Ivinghoe Beacon. (The latter is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its wildlife.)
This year, The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary. Happy birthday to us!
As part of this celebration, the university is hosting an exciting programme of events and activities.
Yesterday I watched my colleague Martin Weller discuss the ongoing (and increasing influence) of openness in education. (You can access a recording of Martin’s lecture from the link in the previous sentence. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to watch the recording.)
It seems fitting, given the complementary nature of our work, that I was scheduled to deliver my inaugural lecture in this programme shortly after Martin.
Watching the lecture
If you’d like to attend the lecture on 12th March (6-7pm GMT) in person, select How to register. (It’s free to attend, but you need a ticket.)
From 5pm on the day, colleagues will be demonstrating various examples of engagement outside the lecture theatre.
To watch the lecture online, select Watch the webinar. The link will become live shortly before the start of the event. You can submit questions via email or Twitter from the same page.
The lecture will be recorded and made freely available after 12 March.
Recently funded by the British Academy, the aim of The Art of Fragments project is to explore creative responses to fragments and fragmentation, by bringing together academics and creative practitioners from a range of fields.
The Art of Fragments is a project about lost and fragmented texts. Many texts from the ancient world were damaged or lost, and survive only in small fragments. These are the works that didn’t survive the process of history that led to the ‘classics’ we know today being preserved intact.
Some of these works have been partly rediscovered, through papyrus fragments from an ancient rubbish dump, and through the random luck that made other authors decide to quote lines from them.
The fragments may be a whole speech or self-contained passage, but they can also be as small as a single word, or as random as having only the right hand edge of a piece of text.
Traditionally, Classical scholars have tried to make sense of these fragments by painstakingly analysing and reconstructing them, filling in gaps or trying to work out where they come from. But things that only survive in pieces are also intrinsically compelling, and take on a beauty of their own.
Are people with learning disabilities regularly excluded from decision-making processes which may have a direct impact on them?
I’ve recently published research that explores this important issue (Carr, 2018), with the aim of contributing to wider discussions about how we build capacity to ensure that citizens have access to, and agency within, research (Holliman, 2017).
Informed by action research, our partnership was designed to create structured, strategic, sustainable and equitable mechanisms for effective school-university engagement with research.
Over four years our project team created engaging opportunities for 11 schools and more than 6,577 people within Milton Keynes. Students and teachers engaged with authentic practices of contemporary and inspiring research in a range of academic disciplines.
Through this work we offering opportunities to participate in mutual learning and develop relevant and useful skills and competencies in how to access, assess, analyse and respond to contemporary research.
Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.
Over the past four years (2013-2016) researchers at the Open University have been working in partnership with the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance in Milton Keynes.
Through our project, Engaging Opportunities, we sought to work collaboratively and cooperatively coordinating direct engagement between students, teachers, and university researchers in ways that were meaningful to participating stakeholders.
Anthony Steed from Denbigh School and I are putting together a version of the activity that’s described in more detail below for an NCCPE-coordinated event in London. Select SUPI Sharing Workshop if you’d like to download a copy of our slides from this event.
At this event the SUPIs will meet together with anyone interested in school-university engagement with research to share the learning from their respective partnerships with other schools and universities.
Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.
With apologies to John Lennon, PEACE in this instance refers to the Public Engagement: Attitudes, Culture and Ethos report, which has recently been published by STFC (the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council).
PEACE in our time
The PEACE report is timely. It is welcome because it reminds us of the considerable body of culture change work in engagement over a period of nearly ten years.
But it does much more than that. It also adds to this existing evidence-base, offering findings from newly-commissioned research that investigates engagement practices in the physical sciences, combining these findings with consultative work with the STFC research community, and expert advice.
In a recent talk at the British Sociological Association Conference at the British Library in December 2015, I outlined how I developed a research methodology which allows for the voices of survivors of Hiroshima, known as ‘hibakusha’, to be heard, and their subsequent written-up texts to be analysed within the framework of ‘coercion and consent’.
The discussion resulted in an forthcoming article tentatively titled ‘Telling the narratives of Hiroshima’ in the Auto/biography Yearbook for the British Sociological Association for June 2016.