Geography – so much more than the sum of its parts

It’s a bit of a stereotype that the main transferable skill you learn as a geographer is how to colour stuff in.

Ordnance Survey has latched onto the trend for colouring-in for grown-ups and released a set of lines-only PDFs of some of its city maps for that very purpose. So grab your felt-tips and get colouring!

My main degree is in geography and I’m proud of it so my reaction to this partly giggle and partly groan. Anything that gets people interested in maps and places gets a thumbs up from me, even if it subtly reinforces that old image of geographers.

Despite it not being directly related to my day job I still find what I learned impacting on my understanding and appreciation of the world. As students, we were accutely aware that some viewed geography with suspicion; neither a fully fledged science nor a proper “art” – the spork of the academic world.

For me, that was always its strength. We could study a part of the globe like Southern Africa and begin to get an understanding of how the interplay of geology, economics, history, demographics and anthropology shapes a region like no other discipline.

So, it was with a certain sense of glee that I saw this Guardian editorial on how geography is the must-have A level for that very reason.

Image credit: © Copyright Siobhan Brennan-Raymond and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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