So a long silence on the Rescue Geography blog.  Without money to pay someone to do the work for us, we have to find the time to do things ourselves.  James and I have not been entirely inactive since the last posting, but it’s amazing how much of a distraction teaching can be sometimes.  A couple of grant applications have gone in to fund other RG work (maybe James will post something about this), but in the meantime I needed a project to tide me over for the long summer of getting things done.  As such, I’ve decided to combine a couple of things that interest me and am working on commuter cycling.

A few years ago I wrote a crazy cultural geography paper about cycling and have wanted to come back to thinking about cycling for a while.  Meantime the University of Birmingham has undertaken a survey of staff as part of drawing up a sustainable transport plan.  So it made sense to me to apply the RG techniques to cyclists commuting to work at the University and to see whether we can get behind the rather dry stats produced by the survey to look at the experience of cycling in Birmingham.

I visit the Netherlands quite often but it’s only recently that I’ve actually cycled there.  Blimey, it’s a whole different thing.  Everything is laid out in an entirely logical and helpful way for cyclists, even in Rotterdam, supposedly the most car-centric Dutch city.  Cycling in Birmingham, which has always seemed like an insane thing to do, seems even crazier in comparison to the Dutch experience.  My morning commute to work leaves me feeling as if I have vanquished some merciless foe.

But other people respond differently to these things and that’s what the new RG cycling project is all about, getting at the experience of supposedly ‘sustainable’ transport.  If you cycle to work at the University and want to get involved, drop me a line.

The project may or may not tie up with a ethnographic photography project that Dan and I want to do.  We’re waiting to hear from the Leverhulme Trust about whether we get the money for this or not.  I’ll say more if we get the cash.

Couple of bits of housekeeping.  First, I’ve refreshed the Rescue Geography website to reflect the move onto a new project.  By ‘refreshed’ I mean ‘changed the colours around and altered some of the links’ – don’t worry, all the Digbeth/Eastside stuff is still there with a link from the homepage.  Secondly, in the last blog post, all those months ago, I promised a link to the article I’ve written on walking interviews as a research technique.  This is now online and in an open access journal for anyone to read (unlike the cycling one mentioned above… feel free to drop me a line if you don’t have a subscription to that journal).

At some point I may even remember to put in a link to access the End of Award Report written for the guys who gave us the money for the original Eastside project…