Young People's Geographies

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Resources & Ideas

Analysing the maps

IslandsWhat do the maps reveal?

The maps of experience vary in detail. All draw on physical features to provide a structure: islands, seas and mountains represent boundaries, limitations, connections and possibilities.

Place is an overarching aspect of the maps, both the familiar (home/school locations) and the unfamiliar (places such as Leicester, the venue for the project days) and areas they had studied through the project (Ghana and Darfur).

FutureSome emphasis is also placed on knowledge (what students know and donít know about these places) as well as students' emotional experiences.

The future is also a common feature of all the maps, either in terms of future learning and understanding within the project or the different global futures of the places represented on their maps.

FamiliarOne of the maps gives a very strong sense of the school based work that the students completed and how they were trying to think about and represent their local/home place.

Another map articulates the tension between the students' daily lived experiences within their 'local place' and the comfort and well being that brings; but at the same time, their complete lack of knowledge of other areas within their 'local place', places 'they do not use' or which are deemed to be 'out of bounds'. The map highlights the significance of imposed boundaries of place.

UnknownA third map has a strong sense of the pupils' local place and how it connects with unknown places they studied (in this case, Darfur). Using terms such as 'unknown knowledge', 'unknown Lambeth', 'land of the unknown', 'sea of knowledge' they emphasise how the knowledge learned through geography shapes their understanding of particular places, both local and distant, and 'what we do and don't do', which seemed to be a reference to both themselves and society.

One annotation 'much is known but little is being done' (a reference to the war in Darfur) seems to be a further reference to the importance of knowledge and how it influences our understanding of places and events. The map also expresses some powerful emotions through the annotations: 'unbearable' and 'no love'.