Choppin’, loppin’, circus and swing – notes from Hazel Hill Autumn Conservation weekend 2015

Last weekend 38 people came down to Hazel Hill for our annual Autumn Conservation weekend for two days of woodland conservation and human restoration. We design the weekend to be…

Designers: turn off your phone – harness the wandering mind

I recently read Daniel Goleman’s excellent book Focus, and I have been thinking about how our ability to focus affects our ability to design. This thinking was the basis of…

Are you doing a French Mazurka?

I’m writing this on the train home from Towersey Festival to which I had been invited by my friends Nat and Sophie to help out with some swing teaching and…

What makes a good conceptual design statement? – working notes

Today I am working on course material related to defining what is a good conceptual design. I think, in construction at least, it is quite difficult to identify good conceptual…

Workshop inspiration from Jackson Pollock

Today I went on a recce to the Tate Liverpool for a course we are designing at Think Up for a client. As I left the event hosting space I…

Follow the deer tracks, who knows where they’ll lead

Every time I go to the woods I find new insight or inspiration that I can use in my teaching. Today’s comes from deer tracks. I know the main tracks…

Teaching le Charleston Stroll – the Port Sainte Marie Method

Teaching the Charleston Stroll has become the mainstay of the Mudflappers’ festival swing dance teaching. I think there’s three reasons why it is so popular with crowds: the footwork is…

Reflections on video selfie training

Yesterday at Think Up I ran a workshop training engineers in how to use selfie movies to tell communicate to people about engineering. The aim of the workshop was to…

Notes on ‘Teaching Design in the first years of a traditional mechanical engineering degree: methods, issues and future perspectives’

From the latest edition of the European Journal of Engineering Education (Vol 40 (1)) I have just read the very interesting paper ‘Teaching Design  in the first years of a…

Photo of a buggy with a shopping caddy attached to the back carring two large bags of washing

A systems engineering approach to parenting

In 2012, as I was preparing to begin my parental leave, one of my colleagues told me about an engineer he knew in New Zealand who quit their job in…