Some thoughts on Assignment 1: Square Mile

I have been thinking about the Square Mile assignment, and hatching plans and scheming schemes! When I signed up for the course way back in April last year I read through all the assignments and started thinking about the first one straight away.

I had some clear initial ideas based on the childhood theme:

  • Go back to where I lived as a young child
  • Take photos of places that were important to the five-year-old me (front porch, cul-de-sac, school, sweetshop, library, grassy bank on the side of the road)
  • Take the photos from a low angle, to simulate the point of view of a small child.

I am a primary school teacher who specialises in supporting schools with using technology, and have worked with many Early Years practitioners to encourage them to hand the class camera over to the kids, and have always been struck by the surprise generated by staff seeing the child’s-eye-view of the Nursery…it looks very different from down there!

Anyway – this idea solidified in my mind and I was quite excited about going on a ‘shoot’, potentially having to talk to local residents to explain what I was doing snooping around their front gardens etc.

I had written a series of poems based on photos and events in my childhood as part of a Poetry course, and the idea seemed a natural extension of this.


I lost the plot with the course, and have been procrastinating until very recently. (Let’s not even go into why I would spend money on something I love doing, and then not do it for seven months.)

Now I am approaching the Assignment, I am having a bit of a radical re-think. I have re-read the brief, and although the places of childhood are integral to the idea, there is scope for using any familiar place as a ‘square mile’…and so Maz Walks has emerged as the new good idea.


How computers classify images…

This was interesting – and I understood it up to the point where the algorithms appeared!

I am thinking about comparing the way computers sort images to how we sort images – the purely logical (although still defined by the programmer) versus the emotional… 

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Sorting and Classifying: Borges

Some thoughts on this topic raised by the Wellcome Collection exhibition

  • The act of sorting and classifying feels like it is putting chaotic things into an order they were MEANT to be in – like tidying my desk
  • Actually, sorting and classifying IMPOSES a constructed order on things.

This fictional list of ways of classifying animals by Borges is very funny, and also very serious:

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