Wednesday 26 June 2013

Farewell North, Hello South

Well it seems like a whirlwind farewell to the north and hello to the south as I travel on the train to London! I am sad to be leaving the north and didn’t expect to discover so many interesting things about this part of the world. This trip has taught me a lot about some revolutionary characters such as Edward Carpenter, John Ruskin, the Suffragettes and the Bronte sisters, all of whom I will continue to learn more about. It is fascinating to see where reformers and creators such as these have came form. What inspired them and how their legacy has extended across time and space. After visiting Manchester a couple of times, I think I will miss that place the most. In Manchester I found a city I could possibly live in in Northern England; a city not unlike Melbourne, however having a much richer history architecturally.

I wish everyone well on their onwards travels and was happy to meet everyone and hope to stay in contact with many. I will have some new friends at university to discuss interests that are not simply confined to my area of study. The interactions with students from other disciplines on this trip has positively contributed to my understanding of the north; a place that will continue to spark my curiosity for a long time to come.

- Rose Potter (Bachelor of International Development)

Looking back

It has been a week since our class finished and a lot of us are travelling around Europe. I have a lot planned for before I fly back to Australia, but I definitely have to squeeze time in to work on my essay!
Looking back on my first blog post, I think that the biggest challenge that I faced over the two weeks was the group project, rather than the blogs. I always find group projects a bit difficult, and working with people I didn’t know well was intimidating. I think that we all had different strengths, and they could be seen in our presentation, although I wish that we had a bit more time to work on it!
I met some great people, and we went to some interesting and beautiful places. My favourites were probably York and Chatsworth house, although I absolutely loved the whole region and I went to Liverpool on the weekend, which was incredible.
Sheffield Hallam University was a great university and Sheffield itself was a really interesting place and I could definitely imagine coming back again.
I am so glad that I decided to do this class. Learning about the history of a city like Sheffield made me think about how a city develops and works, which are things that I’ve never thought about before. I’m really looking forward to researching Edward Carpenter, a 19th/20th century poet, philosopher and gay rights activist, who is the topic of my essay. He is one of the many people/topics that I would have never learned about if not for taking this class.
- Bethany Exiner (Bachelor of Archaeology)

Post Trip Overview

Now in Italy, after having travelled through more of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria, my appreciation for home and Sheffield has grown. I now realize that I belong in a mid-size city, not a metropolis like London or Paris. It is a challenge to pull myself away from exploring the Dolomites outside my window to write this blog post but I’ll give it a go. It is fitting given the nature of the study I have undertaken that my last glimpses of Sheffield were of Park Hill looming over the train station. The focus of my group presentation was on public housing in the U.K. In London there are many examples of public housing models similar to Park Hill. It is a strange thing to notice on a holiday but I can’t help myself now. My friend (Aussie ex-pat) who I stayed with in London has never visited Sheffield and has contempt for the Northerners.

It is a shame about the technical issues with the presentations. Fortunately for my group, everything fell into place nicely and I am quite satisfied with the finished product, which featured historic videos of Sheffield found on an online archive database and a local soundtrack including The Arctic Monkeys. I enjoyed the interdisciplinary aspect of the subject and learning about a variety of historical figures including the architect Le Corbusier, the entrepreneur Henry Lever, the artist John Everett Millais and the all-rounder John Ruskin. The morning lectures enhanced my experience and understanding of the places we visited. It was obvious that visiting the United Kingdom was more than just a study tour or a holiday for many students, but rather a pilgrimage to their ancestral home. I commend the lecturers for their organisation of the trip and I will cherish my memories of Sheffield and the lifelong bonds with students formed there.

- Angela Plazzer (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

Homeward bound!!

It's all over, it went so quickly yet it feels like I've been away for months but I think that is a sign of a good trip! After our frustrating but interesting day of presentations yesterday - frustrating due to the technological issues we faced, interesting due to the wide variety and high quality of projects that were presented - it was a little sad to say goodbye to everyone... And the goodbyes were quite rushed... Or didn't happen at all as some people had to leave before presentations were over as we had run over time! But one by one people began to leave, with the majority taking off today to all parts of the UK or Europe... Me though, I'm heading home back to Australia and I am actually really looking forward to being in my comfort zone again! However Liberty Works did end up feeling like home – hmmm -the me that arrived 2 weeks ago certainly would not have imagined I would be saying that! But Sheffield did end up feeling like home: I was able to navigate the city; saw the same local faces each morning on my walk to uni; I knew which pubs were the best to eat at; and the general greeting of 'hiyalurrve' from the locals began to sound normal. I spent one night in York on the last weekend, and I was so looking forward to sleeping in a comfortable bed with cotton sheets, but I hardly slept at all due to the 'strangeness' of it... I had a great sleep upon returning to Liberty Works, polyester sheets and all, go figure.

We all had difficulties becoming comfortable in our interdisciplinary groups, it was certainly a challenge, but I dare say that was the idea of the powers that be - to throw us in the deep-end and make us either sink or swim! And to our credit I believe we have managed to swim, perhaps badly, but we have made it to the end! A few stumbling blocks were encountered, some of which are to be expected, some of which may need to be considered and on future study tours could be dealt with differently. For example, mixing disciplines is positive as it allows each student to view things from a different point of view - rather than say a historical or sociological view, we learn to consider things from a planning view - thinking about how the space is used, how it can be developed and looking towards the future -which is sometimes something forgotten about when studying history! However, it became apparent that planning students and arts students tackle assignments and presentations differently - with arts students very much about the written assignment and a critical, analytical, academic take on it, but planning students appearing to be far more tactile, visual and interactive. This is great in hindsight as it brings many varied skills to the table. However with individuals not realising this until quite a way into the group assignment, it took some time to 'get on the same page' so to speak. Perhaps in future a discussion could be had about the way in which each discipline tackles their work, so that each individual understands how the other thinks and works. 

As you can see from above, I can certainly see the value to the inter-disciplinary idea, but I would have much preferred to be in a group with like-minded people, and then have been able to discover, research and report on something I am passionate about myself, rather than something that we have all reluctantly agreed upon as it sort of fitted in to each person’s area of interest. I feel I would have got far more out of this study tour had I been able to focus on a real area of interest. Of course we have our individual research projects to consider, and I am very keen to get stuck into that - but during this trip, with the very full schedule and the looming date to present our group work - I have honestly not had enough time to think about my individual project and this is disappointing. However I do feel fortunate to have visited places like the gorgeous town of Haworth where the Bronte sisters wrote their amazing novels, and of course being in Sheffield allowed me to understand how and why Bjetman saw the city as he did. I am sure as I begin thinking about my final piece of work I may realise I soaked in more detail and have more insights than I do at this point in time. 

I would highly recommend other students participating in an overseas study tour. Even as a 'mature age' student I feel I have certainly learnt much about myself, about people in general, and the way in which I view the world. Even though I have travelled before, I have not been further than Southern Thailand and China, therefore going that extra distance has really opened up the world to me. I now feel the world is more accessible, friendlier, and the people who inhabit this world don't seem poles apart as I thought they were. Of course, England and English people are intrinsically linked to Australia and its people, so obviously that gives one a feeling of comfort. When the English realise you are Australian, they seem to feel a connection to you. However, I noticed this more so in Sheffield and around Yorkshire rather than in London – so perhaps that comes from the ‘friendliness’ of the Northerners! One local told me he thought his forebears got it all wrong when they sent the convicts to Australia... Why send the bad people to such a beautiful place?! All the 'good' English should have made their way downunder! 
- Jessica Willman (Bachelor of Arts)




The study tour has been great, exhausting but definitely worth it.

I was nervous about going especially after I seen the subject guide. But it has been very interesting and I am glad I got the opportunity to go. We learn when we are travelling around and going to different places, and not only study wise but in general. Travelling, especially alone for study not as a holiday also changes you as a person and makes you stronger and more mature. I think the study tours are interesting and helps you learn a lot more as you are out seeing things and learning by visiting places and not just stuck in front of a computer or in a class room. I also found that the lecturers understood how we feel and were very supportive which was nice. This was my second study tour and I learn a lot from both, and will look forward to going on the next one. It is definitely an experience worthwhile.
However I think that there could have been away to learn more about our discipline. Even though I found our topic on the group project interesting, I was the only planner so I don’t feel like I have learnt anything concerned with planning. I think it would have been better if people were put into groups depending on what their major is. Also I would have liked the projects to be similar to what we did on the US study tour, as I feel like we have benefited and learnt a lot as it is something we would do in the workforce in the future. However overall I really enjoyed my time on the study tour, and I am glad that I didn’t drop out as that would mean I would never get the opportunity to go to the places that we went to and wouldn’t have got the chance to experience what I have experienced in Sheffield.
- Mariam Al Maskari (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

Here I am in Fishguard, South Wales

I hired a car as it was the easiest thing to do after exploring buses and trains, and roughly about the same price. On my way to the station I walked the back street to get to where all the taxis park, and found a working foundry. I was delighted to be able to witness the molten steel being tipped from the furnace into the ladle (a huge bucket thingy) and then poured into pre heated moulds to eventually form steel bars, which are then sent off to numerous businesses to be made into stuff. What a fitting closure for my time in the steel city. Lucky ay. I then drove down from Sheffield, with a tear in my eye, arriving in Solva at 12.30, thank god for the old GPS!!. Wales is so very beautiful, and I get to spend some time sailing with my old friend before heading to Ireland on Monday. There hasn't been a dull moment and this morning as I write I am grateful for the stillness and focus writing requires. Id like now to proceed by saying something insightful and intelligent about Sheffield and the North, but I don't think my brain will let me. Anyway, here goes.. 

The multidisciplinary approach to this study tour has been really interesting and I really appreciate learning about planning and development. Not much was focused on from a community development point of view but its all community development anyway, just different perspectives. As our time grew to an end in Sheffield, community centres, projects and organisations started leaping into my field of vision, allowing me to see that there was plenty of places to go and explore in my free time (ha ha) had I taken the initiative. 
The community child care centre we visited with Trevor Hogan was run and funded quite similarly to those at home, except that it is dealing with a city clientele, a multicultural clientele and primarily it offers numerous services that childcare centres in Central Vic don't. Everything from breast feeding guidance to fathers clubs to family violence intervention. That place was one of quite a few scattered across Sheffield, but recent funding cuts have forced closures and now the remaining are under pressure from greater demand for their services. Sounds familiar.
Our little unit was knocked sideways during the build-up to presentations, which were brilliant, well done everyone, by the passing of Cathy's dear father Peter. We all banded together and stayed the distance, getting our tasks done. I just want to say, all you people who offered condolences, hugs, cups of tea and tears of your own are to be blessed and sincerely thanked, you were just brilliant and I know Cathy was taken aback by how lovely everyone was.
The next couple of days will be learning about tides and sailing culture, nice.
- Anna Hardinge (Bachelor of Community Development)

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Reflecting on the study tour as a whole

So I am currently sitting on a train to Glasgow, however we have been delayed! It is seriously because someone in Darlington, at the station is running around naked… The north is interesting! J Anyway, I look back at the tour, already, with a kind of nostalgia. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and enjoying spending time with the people I had made friends with. However, I am disappointed that the archaeology of Sheffield was not touched upon much. Sheffield is a goldmine for industrial archaeology, and that type of study blows my mind. It is amazing. I am disappointed we didn’t get to look into that further. However, as a history student as well, I was impressed. I do believe a few things could have been better organised, I know things can go wrong, but overall, I think it did need some more organisation. I was surprised how exhausting the entire two weeks was, some days I knew would be very full on, it is what I had expected for a 30-credit subject, but I didn’t take into account how exhausted I would be. Nevertheless, the study tour was fantastic.
- Kimberley Crabtree (Bachelor of Arts - History and Archaeology)