September 2009

So the project is up to 25 participants now.  Still a few more lined up, but definitely moving towards the analysis phase now – not least because term starts in just over a week.  Will post some things as they get done, but for the time being, here’s an aggregate animation, taking the time of day people rode and creating an aggregate group cycle.  Higher heart rate reflected by the ‘hotter’ colours.


Prolonged silence.  Yes, I know, I’m a bad person.  Well, part of the reason was that we’d had a “no” back from the Leverhulme Trust about the application to fund Dan to come and work at the Uni for the next year as an artist in residence.  Dan was on holiday in Bogata at the time, which I didn’t want to spoil with bad news and I didn’t want him to hear about it second hand from a blog post.  Not, I’m sure, that Dan obsessively checks the RG blog, but you know how it is.

Good news is that my boss is allowing me to shuffle some cash from something else to commission Dan to do portraits for the cycling project which is excellent.  So we’ll have to have a sit down and chat about an on campus exhibition once the data collection is finished.

… which isn’t too far off now.  Today is a  pretty momentous day in that I’ve finally got past 20 cycling participants listed on the website.  As it happens it was #22 that popped up first (still waiting for some people to approve transcripts – will have to hassle them).  Should be able to get north of 25 before term starts – those being my target and my deadline for completion.  So I’m kinda excited, thinking about all the lovely things I can do with the transcripts both in terms of academic analysis and some pretty maps/visuals for the exhibition with Dan.

There’ve been some really great stories come out of it.  To my relief, the early flurry of people talking about the places where they’d got serious injuries from being knocked off their bikes seems to have diminished.  Recruitment has perhaps swayed a little too far to the academics, rather than the non-academic staff here, but even still, there’s a pretty good spread.  Will compare my sample against what came up in the main transport survey the uni did last year.  After the initial email to the BUBUG circulation list I then snowballed to friends/colleagues and, last week, got one of my PhD students to attach fliers to bikes around campus.   This is a good way to irritate people, unfortunately, but has generated a few extra random contacts.  I’ve been turning down PhD students who wanted to volunteer to do it because I’ve tried to keep it to employees only, though this has generated an annoyed response from at least one person.  Ho hum, can’t please everyone.

Other news.  Cos & I were at the Royal Geographical Society conference in Manchester a couple of weeks ago.  We did two papers, both on the Digbeth project.  The first basically presented a load of the results from the analysis which we presented in Kye Askins’ and Mags Adams’ session on ‘sensewalking’.  Lots of intriguing papers – it was nice to chat with Clare Risbeth from the Walking Voices project and there were a bunch of other randomly great papers, one from Kirsi Makinen from Helsinki looking at walks in forested suburbs and another from a crazy Frenchman, Julien Delas from CRESSON, who blindfolds people and leads them around.  Victoria Henshaw from Uni of Salford has also been doing very cool walks investigating smell in Doncaster.  Fantastic stuff.

Cos & I also gave a paper in Hattie Hawkins’ Art & Geographical Knowledge sessions where we talked about working with Dan and I used a bunch of the cartoons in the PowerPoint.  Good silly fun.

Anyway, will probably update again once I’ve done some of the analysis.  Big thanks to everyone who’s helped out with cycling over the summer.