Tag Archives: Networks

Hiking into Hybrid Networks: Ten Tors Challenge

by Fiona Ferbrache

The 50th Ten Tor event took place this weekend – a two-day challenge where young people navigate their way between the infamous tors of Dartmoor National Park.  On routes of 35, 45 or 55 miles, teams of six persons carry equipment to endure the weather, cook meals, camp and complete their ten checkpoints by 1700 Sunday.  Roughly 2400 young people took part this year in this tough but incredible expedition.

Expeditions help us to “get out (there) more” to engage with geography, and lie at the heart of the Royal Geographic Society (Maddrell, 2010).  While the Ten Tor challengers are not collecting data, they are effectively ‘in the field’ and surrounded by geographies (as well as being part of this geography).  In TIBG, Maddrell suggests that ‘getting out there’ improves perceptions and knowledges of Geography.  So how might these youngsters engage with the subject?

Following Nicholls (2009), we can adopt a network approach to conceptualise Ten Tors which sees it integrated into hybrid combinations of people, technology, organisations and nature; for example, the challengers, the means of transport to bring everyone to Dartmoor on this particular weekend, the military and rescue teams organising and supporting the event, and the physical upland landscape of Dartmoor.  This specific combination of relations combines in a particular assemblage to produce Ten Tors and situate this event firmly in a geographical perspective.

Well done to all teams who took part and finished the event!

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News Read about the Ten Tors on the BBC News website

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News Find out about Ten Tors Challenge

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News Maddrell (2010) The ‘expedition debate’ in TIBG

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News Nicholls (2009) Place, networks, space: theorising the geographies of social movements, TIBG

Considering peace

Symbol of peace

Symbol of peace

By William Hasty

Peace, the Oxford English Dictionary informs us, is a state of freedom from disturbance or war – it is a lived tranquillity. All too often lost under the seemingly endless din of war, peace commonly goes unattended in the media, its stories left untold, its effects neglected. Bucking this trend, over the last week, have been at least two stories wherein peace figures large. Most notably, Barak Obama’s appointment to Nobel Laureate for peace caused a stir among the world’s media, with many questioning the Oval Office incumbent’s credentials for such an award. Obama was given the honour for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. Grabbing significantly less column inches, Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, visited Scotland this week, meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond to discuss, among other things, the possibility of a centre for non-violence, peace and reconciliation in the country. The First Minister, the Herald reports, was open to the possibility and made a commitment to consider the project in greater detail. Gandhi, the report tells us, is “no mere philosopher, he is man who puts his beliefs into action”. Both appear to be committed in their own very separate ways to promoting peace by encouraging dialogue over combat as a way of resolving conflict.

Gerry Kearns, in a recent Geography Compass paper entitled Progressive Geopolitics, advocates an approach to geopolitical analysis that considers the multi-faceted, multi-scalar and multi-agency nature of international relations. Kearns makes the point in this paper that too few geographers have attempted to include peace in their geopolitics analyses, focusing instead, as do the media, on the effects and implications of war. The paper contends that a richer, more productive and progressive geopolitics can be developed if, among other things, people start considering peace and its effects on the world.

60% world Read BBC report on Obama’s Nobel Prize win

60% world Read Herald report on Gandhi’s visit to Scotland

60% world Read Gerry Kearns (2008) Progressive Geopolitics, Geography Compass, 2 (5): 1599-1620

Connecting Barcelona to transnationalism


 By Rosa Mas Giralt

The History Museum of Barcelona (MUHBA) is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “Connected Barcelona, Transnational Citizens: migratory growth and urban practices”. This exhibition has been developed within the programme Barcelona Cultural Dialogue as a response to the changing population of the city due to a decade of intense immigration. Both from a historical perspective which takes into account former migration flows into the city and also through the lens of transnationalism, the exhibition explores the role of the new dwellers in shaping the contemporary Catalan capital.

In “Transnationalism Unbound” (2009), Francis Leo Collins offers an overview of the contribution that geographers have made to the study of transnationalism and seeks “to draw attention to a more expansive view of transnationalism as a framework or ‘optic’ for viewing the different enactments, experiences and effects of cross-border lives” (451). This exhibition in Barcelona offers an opportunity to reflect on such a wider understanding of transnationalism.

The exhibition runs until 27th September 2009.


History Museum of Barcelona

Visit the exhibition website “Connected Barcelona, Transnational citizens”

Collins article

GECO $1.99 Read the full article: Francis Leo Collins (2009) “Transnationalism unbound: detailing new subjects, registers and spatialities of cross-border lives”

Friendship, hope and a university in the desert

Tifariti - the proposed site of the new university

Tifariti - the proposed site of the new university

By William Hasty

Amid the desolation of the refugee camps that are ‘home’ to the Saharawi of Western Sahara, Africa’s ‘last colony’, “signs of hope”, writes the New Internationalist’s Paul Rigg, “tend to emerge from the grassroots rather than from governments”. For, although their government is unmoved by the plight of the Saharawi, Spanish civil society is anything but, fostering, through projects such as an annual international film festival (known as FiSahara), “the largest solidarity movement between two peoples anywhere in the world”. The latest, and arguably the most ambitious, manifestation of this friendship is the proposed “University of the Desert”, a research and learning institution which is to be situated in Tifariti, the “third place” between the refugee camps on the Algerian border and Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. The university will cater to the needs of the Saharawi’s and form the core of a new infrastructure for a liberated Western Sahara. This project, which is supported by dozens of universities from Spain, England, Cuba and Algeria, is an example in practice of what Jonathan Darling, in his recent paper Thinking Beyond Place, refers to as a ‘politics beyond place’. Drawing primarily on the work of Doreen Massey, Darling considers the implications of “thinking space relationally”, encouraging the reader to pursue an “outwardlookingness” in their political thinking and everyday practices. While such a clunky neologism might struggle to find favour with the Saharawi people, it is clear that the ‘outwardlookingness’ of the Spanish, extending friendship and hope across space, and beyond place, certainly does.

Read full story Read full report in New Internationalist

Read full story GECO $1.99 Read Jonathan Darling (2009) Thinking Beyond Place: The Responsibilities of a Relational Spatial Politics