Ginger Pride Rally 2017

Every so often, I really leaving Melbourne – especially on days like today!!

Today was the Ginger Pride Rally 2017.

As a passionate and enthusiastic lover of redheads, I sorely missed not being able to support my fellow copper-topped brothers and sisters

in person today (*sigh*).

The Melbourne event looked awesome!

It was not only a great opportunity for local redheads to shine, but the event also raised some valuable publicity about bullying issues.

I was delighted to see over 1,000 redheads march and that the event received some good news coverage.

Ginger Rally 2017
Source: News.com

Ginger Rally 2017

The Ginger Net organised the event – and spruiked the event on their website thus:

Redheads and copper-tops of Australia, the time is nearing for the hottest event in the 2017 social calendar! The Ginger Pride Rally hosted by Buderim Ginger and our friends at RANGA s back in Melbourne for a second year and set to be bigger, better and more fiery than the last!

Assemble your ginger and redhead #squad to celebrate our super powers, unique fiery manes, enviable moontan complexions and unbreakable spirit with a ginger rally starting in Federation Square, marching to celebrate uniqueness and diversity in the community. The march will be followed by a finishing festival back at Fed Square with free ginger beer, vigorous games of ‘Ginger Beer Pong’, photo booth fun, a kid’s activity zone and for the first time ever ginger speed dating hosted by Singles Events Melbourne! Oh and plenty of shade and sunscreen of course.

You’ll also be bopping along to bangers from redhead bands including The VannsLuize Scott and X Factor standouts Brentwood. We’ve also partnered up with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to help raise awareness and funds to stop bullying against children, including mini gingers to help deliver community education programs to make a valuable change in the life of so many kids.

Advance Ginger Cyclists!

For those of us who could/did not attend, it is a great opportunity to reflect, encourage and pay homage to the beautiful, robust, vitally important and wonderful flame-haired cyclists among us – whatever their age, bike choice or ability.

So in support of the Ginger Rally 2017, here are a few pictures of inspiring biker redheads through the ages and across all biking disciplines – Enjoy!

Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Ana Rosa – Girls and Bikes Ginger
Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Pintrest Redhead men
Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Pittsburg murals and pubic art
Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Cyclingpigs
Ginger Rally 2017
British cyclist Jason Kenny by Bryn Lennon
Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Colin Meagher (Pinkbike), Rider ??
Ginger Rally 2017
Source: Bause.at Rider: Angie Hohenwarter

Australian Walking and Cycling Conference 2017

So many good bike conferences in 2017….

There are a number of bike-related conferences coming this year that I would love to attend.

This year is the 200 year birthday of the modern bicycle, so I feel an extra special pull to get together with other like-minded bike enthusiasts and celebrate our common love of all things two-wheeled.

Outside of sports and pro-cycling meets, there are two main conferences this year that have caught my eye.

Asia Pacific Cycle Congress

The first is the Asia Pacific Cycle Congress to be held in Christchurch, (NZ), 17-20th October, 2017.

Mike Lloyd, a NZ academic who has published a couple of papers analysing a well-known mountain bike rage incident and then subsequently reviewed the same scenario from a mirco-sociological video analysis stand-point, reminded me about this conference.

I would love to go to this one, but have a prior date booked that overlaps, so will have to hold onto this one for next year. Plus I will be post PhD confirmation by then, which means the Uni will pay for me to go! Woppee!

Australian Walking and Cycling Conference

The second conference is the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference. This is being held on 17-18th July in Adelaide, Australia. Their website boasts that:

The simple acts of walking and cycling have the potential to transform the places we live, our economies and how we engage with our environment. The Australian Walking and Cycling Conference, to be held in Adelaide on 17-18 July 2017, explores the potential for walking and cycling to not only provide for transport and recreation but solutions to challenges of liveability, health, community building, economic development and sustainability.

The conference theme is Low tech movement in a high tech world.

After handing in my PhD Early Candidature Milestone Report last month, I am keen to take a step back from the theoretical, conceptual realm of ideas and connect back with one of the primary reasons I started my research – making positive community connections.

So I applied to this conference to do a Learnshop session based on some past Bicycles Create Change events.

I am planning a fun and interesting session – so fingers crossed!

Here is the abstract I submitted (parallelism much?!).

Australian Walking and Cycling Conference 2017

Australian Walking and Cycling Conference 2017

ANZAC Day 2017 – Australian Cycling Corps

ANZAC Day 2017

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia. April 25th is one of Australia’s most important national cultural holidays. ANZAC stands for the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand men and women during the First World War. There are Dawn services, parades and events all day, all over the country.

I left my house early this morning and got caught up in a local ANZAC Day Parade being held down the main drag of my suburb. It was one of many events being held today. The largest ANZAC events are held in each capital city – and Brisbane was no exception.

As I watched the event pass by, I saw that many of the locals had ridden in to participate. A good idea considering roads are closed because of the parade, as well as traffic and extra parking difficulties.

It reminded me that I had heard about bicycles being used in WW1 and other conflicts. So I went home to investigate further and this is what I found …

Australian Cycling Corps

Before the official formation of cycling units, bikes were used for transport and other military needs. It is not well known that the AIF had cycling units that were used in many of the major battles during the First World War such as Messines in June 1917, and Passchendale July 1917.  These units were deployed to the front line as well as undertaking cable burying, traffic control and reconnaissance work.

What kinds of bikes were used in WW1?

They were issued from England and manufactured from Birmingham Small Arms Company – better known as BSA.  This company was also a major British arms and ammunition manufacturer since the Crimean War (1854-1856). These bikes did not come with bottle holders as today’s do.  The men would carry water supplies like the regular army corps.  Also the soldiers were issued with the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) .303 calibre rifles, having the option of either attaching it to the down tube of their bike or swung across their back.

Australian Cycling Corps

The Military Roadster

The models of the bikes ranged from the Mark I through to the Mark IV.  For further information, pictures and a peek into the histo-military use of this model – the Military Roadster has an amazing article by Ian Skinner called Pedal Power (1991) which gives comprehensive details and unique insights about these bikes – including manufacturing background, bike specifications and how and why it these models were used. I highly recommend a quick look at it – it is truly a step-back in time!

Soldiers who were lucky, were issued with a Mark IV.  This bike had a free wheeled hub, which basically means you were able to coast without having to pedal constantly – as with the Mark I to III.  Those models had a fixed hub, which means they were Fixies (or Track Bike) – amazing!

The Mark IV was also issued with a hand operated rear brake.  This brake would have nowhere near the stopping capacity of the disc brakes that are often on contemporary mountain bikes and some road bikes. These bikes did not have the luxury of knobblie tyres either (tyres that have protruding pieces of rubber for extra grip); but would have been a standard military issue of little or no grip, more like standard tyres, as can be seen in the bicycle below.  This photograph was taken in Ypres, Belgium on 26 September 1917.

Australian Cycling Corps

The humble military bicycle – then and now

The AIF cycling units have often been forgotten in military history but the humble bicycle played a very important role in the logistics of warfare.  The simplicity of the bike made transportation quick and reliable.

Even in 2008 the Australian Military were using the bicycle in East Timor to improve flexibility of field patrols with a unit called Bicycle Infantry Mounted Patrol (BIMP) as seen on the front cover of Edition 1200 of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) Army magazine.  Now 100 years on, and bicycles play  an important role in military life, just as they do in civilian.

Australian Cycling Corps


For further information, the book History of the First AIF/NZ Cyclist Corps 1916-19 CYCLING TO WAR by Ronald J Austin goes into detail of the Corps and is an excellent overview. Request it at your largest library!

This post is modified from previous article by Ally Roche written for the Australian War Memorial.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Ever dreamt of having a killer bicycle-inspired tatoo, but aren’t sure of the permanent commitment?

Ever looked at a hot fixi chick and marveled at the bold black ink that decorates and differentiates the owner from all other bike riders?

Maybe you have fantasised of enshrining your love of bikes in some body art way, so that everyone will know how much you love bike and riding.

This blog has previously featured cycle ink and bike tattoos, but for this post, we are delving into the safe, but arty world of temporary bike tattoos.

Temporary tatoos are a great way to signify your love of all things two-wheels, while side-stepping the cost, uncomfortableness and potential problems of a permanent tattoo. Temporary tattoos used to be only reserved for school kids and were originally found in bubblegum wrappers or junk food promoting special deals or the latest Disney movies.

Today temporary tattoos have evolved past the pasty faded old outlines of yore, into some progressive marketing for television programs, sports teams and cartoon characters.

A recent creative development has emerged whereby local artists spruik their designs through a range of products – like homewares, prints, cards, tee-shirts,  and of course, now as temporary tatoos!

To go one step further, there are places like Australia’s Amazing Raymond who offers a personalised service to get your own unique bicycle-inspired temporary tatoo printed and shipped out to you.

So what is the attraction?

As with any tattoo genre, bicycle tattoos vary in shape, size, design and identity associations – both for the owner and the observer.

Admittedly it is does not carry the same dedication and kudos that permanent inkwork does, but at least it provides a happy medium.

Even as in temporary form, these designs are still eye-catching and communicate important messages. I think it is interesting to keep in mind what Mark Bauerlein points out, is that “a tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word.” 

May I please have a bicycle temporary tatoo!!!

Tattly

Tattly celebrates art by licensing designs from professional artists and turning them into high-quality temporary tattoos. Our artists get a generous cut of every single sale. We think that’s only fair. We see our tattoos as an experience of play and self-expression, a moment of being a rebel and doing something daring. Wearing a Tattly allows a glimpse into a life where you don’t care about what other people think. Tattly started as a side project by our founder Tina, aka swissmiss and has grown into a healthy, creative business.

These designs are originally from this site – although you will see other providers supplying the Tattly bicycle temporary tatoos elsewhere. These designs are very popular.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tattly

Tazzel

Scared of long-term commitment? We know the feeling. But with 100% customisable temporary tattoos, now you can have your cake and eat it too. Create your own design or choose from thousands of pre-made designs. These temporary tattoos are the perfect fun addition to fancy dress, office parties, fun runs and other special events.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tazzel

Etsy

Etsy empowers artists, designers and curators to start and grow businesses on their own terms. Etsy is an ecosystem that connects buyers around the world to the communities where Etsy shop owners live, work and create. By building and supporting this people-powered economy, we hope to inspire global business practices that are sustainable, responsible and profitable.

They have a decent rage of bicycle temporary tatoos, and in some cases you can custom order your own design.

 

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Etsy

A few other bicycle temporary tatoos providers -with much smaller ranges

Ali Express has a limited rage

Tats and Tags

For our European friends – there one sweet image available at Happy Bicycle (Portugal)

 

How to DIY bicycle temporary tatoos

If you don’t see anything you like – then feel free to make your own design.

Here is a quick 3 min video on a simple DIY hack to create your own temporary bicycle tattoo.

 


*Please note: the owner of this post and blog DOES NOT receive any financial compensation or incentives from any of the providers contained in this post. In fact we never have for any of our posts!!. The outlets included here are merely provided as a point of reference to start looking for said products. BBC does not take any responsibility for the organisations, services, actions or products contained within this post. Please exercise buyer discretion when purchasing anything online.

If you come across any other bicycle temporary tatoo providers, artists or services you think should be included here – please email me the recommendation via the contact tab.

Student engineer experiments with bicycles

As a teacher, I have many different experiences in the classroom, some challenging, some unusual, but most are very rewarding.

I am currently working on my favourite program at Griffith University, 5903LHS Language and Communication for Sciences. This course is only for international students but combines all the Science disciplines into one class to improve language, knowledge and communication skills required for science-based study and practice in their discipline.

That means my class has students from IT, Engineers, Biomedical, Environment, Planning and Architecture and Natural Sciences, Aviation and all the hard sciences as well (Marine, Biology, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Mathematics etc) which I relish!

Even though I know there are engineers in my class, I was still happily surprised when during a class discussion, one female engineering student, Win, casually mentioned that she had previously worked on a project looking how the weight of wheels affected the performance of a bicycle. I was stoked!

Student Engineer experiments with bicycles for Science/English report

Win told me about her report (which you can read below). Essentially, it focuses on testing the impact of wheel weight for a bicycle travelling uphill. This report was an assessment to demonstrate her understanding of scientific principles to a practical situation as well as practising her English.

I won’t reveal Win’s final results or her key findings, suffice to say she covers aspects such as:

  • gravitational potential energy
  • rotational inertia
  • analysis of wheels with weight vs wheels without weight
  • velocity vs time
  • momentum and acceleration forces
  • the influence of Newton’s first and second law
  • inter-observer variability

We got chatting about her bicycle report after class. I was intrigued. She told me she had selected this project for a college assignment, but that the real focus was to practice her English. She had a great time researching, testing and writing the experiment up – and have gotten a lot out of it in the process.

Bicycle Experiment Report

Here is a copy of Win’s Engineering report on the bicycle experiment she investigated: Win’s Report -Lighter wheels vs heavier wheels experiment

Bicycles being used in tertiary education

I told her I was really impressed, as not many people would think of bicycles as the basis for their assignments. I have previously posted on how zero-gyroscopic bicycles were used to teach Systems Dynamics in the late 1980s and that there are still a few tertiary programs integrating bicycles into the curriculum to more practically explain all manner of complex concepts. We agreed that bicycles are a brilliant way to learn and they should be utilized more in classrooms.

Will bicycles be more prevalent as an educational tool?

I was impressed that Win chose to focus on bicycles for her research paper, for many reasons. Not many engineering students would choose bicycles as their object of study, even less of those I presume would be female and from overseas. From my experience, purely based having to use English, most international students will select a topic that is easier to work with and write about.

I was even more impressed when she brought the paper to class the next week. Although she was a little embarrassed about her English level at the time, she gave me a copy of her paper and permission to upload it here.

The reason I wanted to share Win’s story is that I found her, her paper and the organic way that her bicycle research had come up very encouraging. It made me feel happy that bicycles were the focus of productive education (engineering and English) in ways and places that I didn’t expect. I am sure this goes on all the time (at least I hope it does!), but it was very reaffirming for it to confirmed to me in a totally unexpected way – and in a totally unrelated situation and with a student that I usually would not have been my first pick as being a bike-centered education candidate. It hoped that there were many more of these situation occurring in classrooms around the world.

The irony that she is now in my academic English class and that were bonded over her bicycle-inspired assignment was not lost on me. I love that as a young, female, international Engineering student with no cycling background (she doesn’t even ride a bike) did this topic. I also admire her bravery in giving me a copy and allowing me to share in on this blog.

If you are studying, or have a child or friend who is – perhaps plant the seed by chatting to them about the opportunities and merits of incorporating bicycles into educational settings for greater student engagement and educational/social outcomes.

Student Engineer experiments with bicycles

Cycling from India to Sweden for love

Thanks CT for recommending this story as a post. This story is the perfect mix of all the good things that this blog celebrates- community, adventurousness and positive people making remarkable changes – but most importantly, how bicycles help people not only come together – but flourish as a result.  Reading about PK and Lottie really lifted my spirits and reminded me to be grateful for all the good things in life – and especially those that come on two wheels!

This post features a heartwarming tale of a serendipitous meeting, creativity, travel, hope, love and the bicycle ride that brought two lovers from opposite sides of the world together (*sigh*)!

For me, it brought up lots of happy memories of riding with family, friends and loved ones, the unique exhilaration, and opportunities that travel provides and how you should never give up on your dreams.

Cycling from India to Sweden for love

You may have heard of this tale; it is about PK (then a young Indian artist) and Lottie (a Swedish backpacker) who met in India while Lottie was travelling here in the mid-1970s. They met by chance and instantly fell in love. This is a picture of them now, over 35 years later.

 

Cycling from India to Sweden for love
Source: The Guardian – PK and Lotta in Sweden, where they live. Photograph: Scanpix Norway/Press Association Images

After a whirl-wind romance, Lottie had to return home. Missing each other terribly, PK decided to take fate into his own hands and embark on an 8,000 kms overland bike ride from India to Sweden to be with her again.

The full story of their initial meeting, PK’s bike journey and what has transpired since, is an epic story in itself- the details of which you can read more about here.

Ultimately, over 35 years later they are still happily married – and still riding bikes!

Love life, love bikes, love lovers

In a world that broadcasts so much doom and gloom, this story was a lovely reprieve. There are so many elements of PK and Lottie’s story that many of us can identify with. For those of us who have travelled overseas, or who cycle, or who have fallen madly in love their life (or all three!) wonderfully reaffirming love story.

I was also really touched by PK’s unwavering positivity and commitment to making their dreams come true. Unfortunately, it is quite rare these days to see a couple exude such genuine joyfulness and love for each other – and for life in general.

Which makes this story even more important.

It is a wonderfully reaffirming love story (for them) and a reaffirming life story as well (for us).

May each of us love well.

And may we all ride courageously

to make happen,

the things that make us most happy.

The Lightning Furies

I love it when readers suggest and recommend people and projects for this blog.  RG sent me an email suggesting I check out The Lightning Furies – which I did. I checked them out online and then contacted them. Anna replied and we ended up meeting for a coffee. Here is what transpired. Enjoy! Nina.


 

The Lightning Furies

The Lightning Furies is one of a number of projects created under the SNAPCAT umbrella by Perth duo – artists Renae Coles and Anna Dunnill. As Snapcat themselves describe, their work is “ambitious, cheeky and political and involves painting, sculpture, video and participatory performance.”

Snapcat has produced a number of interesting, topical and provocative works – and none more so than The Lightning Furies. This project came out of their researching into women and sport and then was further developed in response to other input (like community consultations) into the feminist bike gang The Lightning Furies.

In their own words, The Lightning Furies are “a bike gang of tough women and non-binary people, dedicated to a feminist mission of utopic bad-assery. Wearing denim vests, bikes adorned with pennants, the Furies ride en masse through urban streets, wind through laneways and hold up traffic. Aesthetically, the Lightning Furies fall somewhere in between an outlaw bikie gang, Girl Guides, and the Vuvelini (Mad Max: Fury Road). We have a Manifesto and an Oath. We have gang colours and patches. We are fierce and inventive and ready to smash the patriarchy with boots and glitter.”

Meeting The Lightning Furies

Following a reader recommendation, I contacted the The Lightning Furies and this weekend met up with one of the co-creators, Anna.

Over a coffee, it was very inspiring to hear the background, development, reasoning and evolution of how The Lightning Furies came to be – and what they do.

I was intrigued by this project for a variety of reasons. It has significant impacts as an arts project and for personal and community development, as well as creating a space for much needed further discussions about important concepts such as gender, access to public spaces, the Australian cycling culture/s, normative behaviours, social governance and civic participation.

Their website gives a broad overview of the monthly rides and few cool snapshots of what happens on the rides, but correspondingly, these rides as a rich platform to cast a light onto the underlying ideologies, practices and outcomes that this project is addressing.

During our conversation we spoke about many ideas. We covered bikie groups, girl gangs, females feeling safe to ride bikes on the road, public perception of women riders, feminism, being part of inclusive group, how to get more women riding bikes, The Lightning Furies being invited to perform at events, the role of patches and branding, sport and female participation, and how women do (or do not) ‘take up or use’ public space. It was a great conversation!

Sharing stories and riding bicycles for personal confidence

Particularly interesting for me to hear, were the other critical ’empowerment’ aspects that were built into the project – such as the ‘crafternoon’ sessions that happen before the rides. In these session, participants make their own customised patches, bike pennants and other decorations to adorn their outfits and bikes which encourage individualism, expression of self and celebrating vibrancy through colour and art.

Not only is it valuable to be physically creative and to have a space to express yourself, but also a safe place to share stories.

It was inspiring to hear how important the ‘making’ sessions are for participants to come together and have time to not just work on this projects – but also to connect as a group of women. Anna told a few stories that while making decorations, participants would open up and discuss their riding experience, their fears, new insights and later on, how much stronger and more confident they now felt after being on a Lightning Furies ride – and how they had been able to hold on the excitement and strength they had felt during the ride, and translate it into other areas of their lives to great effect. So great to hear.

I thoroughly enjoyed my meeting with Anna and came away feeling inspired and excited about the innovative and creative ways that people come up with to get more people on bikes and The Lightning Furies is just one example of this.

 

The Lightning Furies
Source: The Lightning Furies Website

The Lightning Furies

Source: The Lightning Furies Website

 

Future Furies Action

I will be staying in touch with Anna and have invited the The Lightning Furies to guest blog post – I am very keen to see what the future holds for this group.

Whether The Lightning Furies is your style or not, they are a wonderful example of a local grassroots collaboration driven by genuine passion, creativity and a strong commitment to positive social change.

The Lightning Furies is just one example of how two women have come together to address an issue that important to them  – it presents the rest of us with a delicious challenge – what issue is important enough for us to get up off our butt and get some action and how would we go about doing it?

PhD ECMR submitted

Celebrating my first PhD Milestone!

It has been a year since I started my PhD. This week I am celebrating submitting my first  (of three) PhD Milestones – my Early Candidature Milestone Report (ECMR) – Hooray!

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know that there have been a few ups and downs over the last year. This is totally expected in any PhD process and there will be many more to come!

My PhD research investigates NGOs that donate bicycles to rural African girls for greater access to education. Part of the challenge over the last 12 months has been the process of narrowing down and organising my research scope, problem and approach.

To keep up motivation, interest and momentum, required submission dates provide clear structure and help to have a goal (or a few) to work towards.

So to help keep things in perspective and to stay positive while undertaking my PhD, I’m making sure that I take time to adequately recognise and mark objectives achieved and progress made thus far – like today!

Early Candidature Milestone Report – PhD ECMR Submitted

The purpose of Griffith University ECMRs is to:

  • assess whether the candidate has a viable research project and is appropriate for the degree in which the candidate is enrolled.
  • identify whether any further education and training is required to ensure timely completion.
  • identify any resources needed by the candidate to undertake the research.
  • Identify any problems/difficulties that have caused or are likely to cause an impediment to progress.

For my University, there are three major PhD milestones requirements.

  • PhD Commencement
  1. Early Candidature Milestone (12 months part-time)
  2. Confirmation  (18 months part-time – mine is in August, 2017)
  3. Mid-Candidature Milestone (24 months part-time)
  • PhD Submission

What’s in the EMCR?

The outline ECMR  below is for a Masters program – the PhD is the same structure and content, but is more developed – but this gives the general ECMR sections required:

ECMR

Additional celebration – new Principal Supervisor confirmed!

In December, my original Principal Supervisor retired.

This created a bit of a problem for me. It was just before the Christmas break and the Uni was closed for holidays and New Year. Feeling a little nervous about my upcoming ECMR submission, I had to speed dated some academics when Uni reopened to find a new supervisor.

While I was doing this, one of the Professors took me on as my ‘temporary supervisor’ just until I submitted my ECMR. This Prof. was recommended by others for me to approach to be my Principal Supervisor, so having the ‘temporary’ time to work together was a great way to test the waters.

A couple of weeks ago, I told the Prof. that I wanted our current situation to continue and be formalised and that I wanted her to be my Principal Supervisor for the duration of my candidature.

The project scope and research questions are far more refined since we started working together since January. I like the way the Prof. operates with clear and timely communication, actionable advice and logical development.

To my delight, this week Prof agreed to take me on – and will be my Principal Supervisor! Shazam!

ECMR Submitted
Source: PhD Comics

English Australia (QLD Branch) PD Fest 2017

Yesterday I attended the annual English Australia (Queensland Branch) PD Fest.

My ride into UQ, St Lucia on Leki my flower bike put me in a particularly good mood. It was a beautiful morning despite the clean up still happening due to (ex-) cyclone Debbie having passed through. Although I admit to stopping on the bridge to marvel at the state of the Brisbane River (click on the Instagram link at bottom of this post for more photos of Debbie’s impact). Once on site though, I found a great spot for Leki to chill out for the day just near the Conference entrance with all the other bikes. It was lovely to have other delegates come up looking for me and tell me they had seen my bike outside I knew it must have been me. Leki is far better than any name tag!

english-australia

What is the PD Fest?

This event is primarily for teachers who teach English at various levels to people from overseas. Delegates come from a range of organisations all over Queensland. Participants are in various roles (not just teaching), but the commonality is that we all work with International students, migrants, refugees or any other ‘English as a second language learner’.

I presented at this conference two years ago and so can appreciate the effort that the presenters and organisers put into making this event happen. This year I was interested in attending to see if there were any new ideas to experiment with in my class and to see what other projects, practices and approaches other teachers were using. I made an effort to meet a few new people, all of whom were interesting company and had a wealth of teaching (and life) experiences. There was a good array of sessions that were thought-provoking and useful – as you can see from the schedule below.

English Australia (QLD Branch) PD Fest 2017

Here is the full Conference Program book: 2017 PD Fest Program Book

English Australia (Queensland Branch) PD Fest

$6 million Partnership Fund – anyone want some?
I stayed to the very end. I was keen to see the All Star Band play – and all day I been thinking about something that Patrick Mafenstein (Group Manager – International Education and Training Unit, Trade & Investment Queensland) had presented in the morning session. He had outlined the new Queensland state strategy focused on International Students and ELICOS Education – which involves a $6 million partnership fund. One of the stipulations to apply for this funding is that application needs to be a consortium (two or more organisations – to spread the resources, work and results around). Here is an outline of the Strategy and all its details: International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026

International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026
Source: International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026, pg 5.

 

During his presentation, Patrick asked if anyone was thinking of applying for some of the funding and as far as I could see only two hands went up in a full auditorium.

At this stage, one of the PD Fest organisers jumped in good-naturedly to tell the audience that the EA Queensland Branch was in a position to apply (was a consortium) and would welcome ideas on some projects.

Supply bicycles to international students studying in Queensland

So this is my idea for English Australia to apply for a slice of the international student funding.

To address one of the major strategic imperatives (specifically #17, as well as community engagement), I think Queensland should pilot a program where international students are supplied with bicycles for greater educational, employment and recreational mobility.

This idea could go in any number of ways and is only limited by the imagination (and interest and budget of course!). Part of the program could be safety and some riding skills as well as basic mechanical skills (changing a type etc.) needed to get started.

Additional considerations would be things like helmets, lights, reflector and locks.

To my knowledge, there is no ‘educational’ initiative that is specficially addressing international student transportation needs, so it would be ‘innovative’ as well as being sustainable, novel and practical.

The cost of transportation is currently high for international students and the impact of being isolated and unable to ‘get out’ can have serious negative impacts ranging from boredom to depression – but having access to a bicycle is mitigates such issues – it also means students are out and participating in social community life.

Mobility is an aspect of student life that is fundamental to community accessibility and interaction, yet is rarely discussed. Bicycles are a great way for students to also access other livelihood imperatives, such as health, fitness and vocational opportunities.

Queensland has some great weather for cycling, so there is even more of an impetus to get students out and about and enjoying it.

There could be an opportunity to link into other local community groups and programs or develop the idea to meet other strategic imperatives. WOudl be good to link into the local community via canvassing and collecting bicycles and collaborating with local organisations and bike and/or men’s shed to refurbish appropriate bicycles for use.

Anyway, that was the idea I pitched to the organisers at the end of the day – will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens…I’ll keep you in the loop!