Trafficking in Britain

It is not known how many illegal migrants there are in Britain. Some estimates put them at around 650,000 +/- 200,000! What is clear, however is that people will take huge risks to enter the UK in search of work. What is also clear is that security has been tightened at the main ports and that smugglers have switched to other ports. For example, at Dover lorries may be searched with the use of x-rays, dogs, carbon dioxide sniffers and ...

Researching a world theatre tradition

For the last 12 years I have been researching Kathakali, and as time goes on I see more and more ways to find out about the history of a tradition. Also, as time goes on I come across more and more conflicting pieces of information. It is therefore essential to cross reference all your information, find a range of sources to refer to and also check, double check and triple check you understand what you are reading before you choose ...

Arts assessment: Thoughts and Suggestions

We are in the middle of the November visual arts examination session so I thought that I would highlight some assessment-related things that friend and colleague Jayson Paterson recently said on My IB. (As many will know, Jayson is one of the My IB visual arts experts and responsible for the visual arts Community forum. In some sections below I am quoting Jayson because his considered opinions are very much in line with my own.) Here are five issues that can play ...

Surveillance and Freedom

Freedom has long been considered the most essential human right until the rise of a new climate of insecurity pushed individuals to retreat into their alleged safe communities, protected by hi-tech security systems, making them prisoners of their own prejudice. This self-imposed limited freedom is regarded, by some, as preferable to the potential risks of a truly open society. The control of society is as old as government itself, but modern technology combined with the power of predictive algorithms, has ...

Glacial streams as a carbon sink

Scientists have only recently discovered that Arctic/glacial meltwater streams take in atmospheric carbon at a faster rate than tropical rainforests. Previously scientists have assumed that rivers were a source of carbon rather than a sink. The results were based on tests carried out on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut territory, Canada, the Rocky Mountains and in Greenland. Scientists studied the effects of glacial meltwater running into rivers and lakes downstream. In temperate rivers high levels of organic matter in rivers leads to ...

Understanding the Factor Theorem

You have probably learnt how to factorise a quadratic expression: for example, x2 - 2x - 8 factorises to give (x - 4)(x + 2). This is useful because it enables us to solve the equation x2 - 2x - 8 = 0. How? Because if we use the factorised form we get (x - 4)(x + 2) = 0, and if two numbers multiply to give zero then one of the number must be zero. So either x - 4 = 0, ...

Sensitive Issues in Art and the ‘spectrum of offence’

A while ago I posted a blog entitled ‘Nude vs Prudes’. I was a little exasperated that our life drawing workshops appeared to make a colleague so uncomfortable. But of course, nudity is just one of a number of sensitive topics and we need to be sensitive to the culture we are in, This issue becomes more complex when submitting work. For example, what are the implications if, as a teacher, I submit a student’s semi-naked self-portrait photo and it goes to an examiner ...

Ortega y Gasset’s Subjective Perspectivism

José Ortega y Gasset’s contribution to philosophy is manifold if one takes into account his wide-ranging essays on literary, cultural and sociological matters. The thinker’s Spanish roots gave him a unique perspective on the historical evolution of Western philosophy from the seventeenth-century onwards. If the great theologians and jurists of the Golden Age, like Francisco de Vitoria and Francesco Suarez, exerted a profound influence on a nascent imperial state, their legacy did not cross the Pyrenees to play a significant ...

Are you ready for the new “revised” Visual Arts course?

No, of course you aren’t, because the final report on the course will not be seen by teachers until 2021 and you won’t start teaching it until 2022 – but hey, it’s a-coming! What’s happening next? We are approaching the end of a long but interesting journey: the fourth ‘new course’ development meeting will occur next month (November 2019). The fifth and sixth development meetings (January – December 2020) will discuss refinements and the finalisation of curriculum and assessment model. There will also, ...

Primo Levi

The aim of this post is to give you some ideas for furthering your teaching of the international dimension. You may or may not heard of Primo Levi. I came across his name recently when carrying out some research into graphene. The name seemed unusual to me and I thought I would dig a little deeper and see what I could find out. Boy, was I happy that I did this – what a guy! Primo Levi was born in Italy (Turin) ...