Russell Chapman whets the appetite for this year's Geographical Association conference. The 1995 conferenc, entitled Developing Geography, will be held at Lancaster University from April 9-12. A number of fieldwork excursions have been arranged for Sunday 9th to take advantage of the area's beauty. On offer is the already well booked day to Grasmere in the ever popular Lake District. Or you might like the more physical session "Messing about in Rivers".
Geography and geographers have an obligation to deliver knowledge and skills relating to global awareness, to provide well-informed comments on development issues and to examine the dynamic relationships between people and the environment. Yet, few of us have the opportunity or resources to equip oursleves with first-hand experiences of distant places so vital to our task. The main aim of the 1995 conference is to enhance the understanding of such issues by drawing on the intimate links between geography and development education though considerable time will be devoted to physical geography and the development of the subject at all levels.
The successful format of the last few years will be repeated with each day taking a specific focus: Monday 10th: "Developing Primary Geography"; Tuesday 11th: "Developing Worlds"; Wednesday 12th: "Developing Geographical Education".
As usual the GA welcomes members of the Royal Geographical SocietyInstitute of British Geographers to the Tripartite Lecture. This will be presented by Professor Piers Blaikie (UEA) and is entitled "Changing Environments or Changing Views? A political Ecology for Developing countries". Many other lectures address urbanisation, poverty and inequalities around the world. A major forum on Sustainable Development brings a number of experts together chaired by Lord Frank Judd who will also present the Nelson Education Lecutre "Our Global Neighbourhood". Dr Francis Jegede presents the Collins Education lecture "Poverty for the Masses, Riches for the few" and Tony Binns will make his Presidential Address, "Geography in Development: Development in Geography".
New techniques and approaches to the teaching of geography are developing all of the time and a number of workshops have been organised to provide hands-on facilities using the latest CD-Rom and computer technology. There will be special sessions on GIS, remote sensing and the global super highway, Internet and digital mapping.
Then we've got GNVQs, NQTs, As and ASs seeping out of every corridor, There'll be MEG, SEG, NEAB, AEB, UCLES and ULEAC providing hot-off-the-press documentation about their new syllabuses. Eleanor Rawling ventures out of SCAA to consider "The Geography Curriculum: The Next 5 years" and Professor Richard Daugherty (Aberystwyth) will debate "National Curriculum Assessmen t: Which way now?".
In addition to what delegates have described as the "best piece of in-service training available" there are the numerous receptions and social gatherings during the conference, plus the largest gathering of geography publishers and resource suppliers in the country, Away from the conference centre there are trips to Heysham nuclear power station, Bowland Forest, Manchester Airport and a nostalgic ride on the Settle to Carlisle steam railway across the Pennines and to White Scar Caves.
This year's Presidential Reception will be held in Lancaster Town Hall and has a very international flavour. With items like Lamb Bulangwo and Habana Libra Pork on the menu, a live Caribbean-style band and international dress a matter of course, you'll believe that the GA really can take you to places few other associations can reach.
Lancaster might not be the distant place you dream of but the conference should provide all the stimulation you need - and it's all free!
o Full details from the Geographical Association, 343 Fulwood Road, Sheffield S10 3BP. Tel: 0114 267 0666. Fax: 0114 267 0688 Russell H Chapman GA Honorary Conference Officer 1990-95, is head of geography at University College School, London