Monday, 22nd February 2021
The College and #The101Challenge
It may have been mentioned once or twice over the last few weeks that the College has a fundraising challenge running (walking!) at the moment. It’s a simple idea – to walk 101 miles for 101 days, starting on 19th January with the finish line of 30th April – Captain Sir Thomas Moore’s 101st birthday – whilst raising funds for NHS Charities. The challenge became all the more poignant with the recent passing of the man himself.
Although the idea of raising money for a good cause is noble – the College has already surpassed its modest target with several more weeks of fundraising to go – it’s not the overriding reason the College chose to do it. Since the start of the pandemic, it’s become obvious that these enforced periods of lockdown and social distancing are having an impact on the mental health and well-being of our staff and students.
The College has an established working group that specifically looks at ways to improve the wider student experience – no mean feat at the best of times. Over the last few months, this student enrichment group has focused its efforts on a variety of activities for staff and students to participate in. However, it wanted to come up with an activity that was easy to do and therefore very inclusive – one that could help with both mental and physical wellbeing in its own right, but would also give everyone a collective goal to achieve.
Accordingly, The 101 Challenge was created with this invitation to staff as well as students.
“We hope this light hearted activity will allow us to continue to feel part of a team.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to keep healthy.
Everyone at Brooklands College is welcome to join in.
Challenge yourself, challenge your friends, and join in!”
And join in we did. As of day 28 (the time of writing this) we have collectively walked in excess of 2,000 miles with one or two students being set additional targets as the 101 is left trailing in their wake. A Google Classroom has been set up and the students can record their activities, send photos, and generally prove how taken they are with this challenge.
Last week, one of our students, Jack, wrote an excellent piece for the College Spotlight on Health* blog where he talks about his own mechanism for coping with lockdown. He’s been in a situation before where his mental health suffered and has chosen this time to not dwell on his problems. So, from personal experience, he talks about the value of setting achievable goals and structuring his day in order to progress, step-by-step, to that goal. He also talks about ‘atomic habits’ – small actions that become routine but which are affirmative and positive. Jack’s example of atomic habits is great and so recognisable by most of us – “getting up when your alarm goes off and not pressing the snooze button”. You can read the whole article here.
*This week’s contains a lovely focaccia bread recipe which is well worth a look.
The BBC has also launched a mental health ‘hub’ called Headroom – one place where you can find helpful articles, programmes, documentaries to boost your mood or find help. Very apt and although for everyone, looks particularly good for a younger audience like our students.
One of the enrichment group members has been getting some feedback from students regarding the walking challenge. Some are walking more than they normally would during lockdown which is great – they’ve been given a purpose to get out the house. When asked about the challenge, our team members taking part found that they appreciated the nudge to step away from the laptop and observe the local scenery, with one stating “I go out purposely to hear the sound of silence, nature and no kids”. Oh, the joys of homeschooling.
LGBTQ+ History Month February
“Claiming our past. Celebrating our present. Creating our future”
One of the LRC team, pre-pandemic but with fingers crossed for a summer return, is a volunteer at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It’s a beautiful place to work, full of interesting art and cultural artifacts. There is a group of volunteers that coordinates and leads a variety of themed tours throughout the day (not our LRC team member though – she tells people where the toilets are and which is the quickest route to the cafe) and on select weekends throughout the year there are very well-regarded LGBT History tours.
Unsurprisingly, the doors of the V&A are currently closed and the museum has once again turned to the virtual world during LGBT History Month. A selection of objects have been chosen by the V&A staff LGBTQ Working Group and the LGBTQ Volunteer Tour Guides to reveal stories of diverse gender and sexual identities across time, place and culture.
Click this link to have a look at the Out in the Museum trail.
The student tutorial as we head back after a week’s half term break is the weighty topic of Brexit. Sian has helpfully put together a presentation on the subject, pointing out some of the key differences that occurred at the end of the transition period on 31st December. Click here to view it.
Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey by Steve Lowenthal
It’s no secret that I’m fond of music biographies and autobiographies. Even though a lot of this literature tends to follow well-established conventions and there are often similar themes, they can be very beneficial. I normally find myself asking these questions after finishing a title :
Did it reveal a lot you did not know beforehand?
Did it encourage you to revisit / explore the artist’s work in more depth?
Did it provide you with ideas or inspiration?
This is an accessible and enjoyable read about the talented and troubled guitarist John Fahey. His pioneering approach to music, record labels and his American Primitive guitar style lives on in his numerous instrumental acoustic guitar solo records. The answer to all of the above questions is “yes” and I would have been disappointed with anything short of that. Devout fans will argue, fairly, the book glosses over a lot and only scrapes the surface of Fahey’s psychology. From a personal perspective, it would have been good to have some more examples and information about Fahey’s paintings, but the author has pieced together a decent book about this complex musician. Maybe someday an expanded edition or a more in-depth biography could reveal even more.
This little gem appeared on social media recently and proved to be quite popular for a few days. The parents of this Twitter account holder have spent the pandemic building a model house – a very modern model house, with an attention to detail that is second to none. As their son says “I endlessly made fun of my mom when this project started, but…this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen”.
It has so obviously been lovingly constructed. And the basement? To us in the UK, that basement is so very reminiscent of those that we only ever see in an All-American sitcom.
Worried about fines as we enter another lockdown? No problem. All loans have been renewed and fines waived while the LRC is closed. Book returns can wait until the College has safely reopened.
E-Book of the Week
Each week, the LRC will be highlighting an e-book that we feel will be of special interest to certain students. This week, it’s an e-book for our Carpentry students.
Simply click the Brooklands College Login link here and access the book using your College student ID and password.
Access our virtual library online
You can search for e-books on the library catalogue or directly through our e-book providers.. Click on the Shibboleth login if requested and select Brooklands College. If you have any problems please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact us with an area you are interested in or your assignment title and we can suggest some resources for you.
The LRC website contains links to our resources, our online catalogue and is full of information about LRC use, plus there are book reviews, links to our displays and other items of interest. It is only available to College members (sorry) and can be found through links on the LRC Google Classroom, and on the staff and student intranets.
LRC Google Classroom page
Tutors have been invited to join the Classroom and will be passing the joining code on to their students. It’s full of links to resources, and helpful advice and tips.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you need support with e-books, e-resources or anything else.