Valla Gård – a walk with the fisheye lens

One of the nice things about staying in Valla Folkhögskola is that it’s right next to lovely walks through Valla Gård – with all of its historic treasures of rural life in Sweden – and into the forest beyond. Of course, it’s also handy for going to conferences on the Valla campus of Linköping University which is why I was there last week.

I’ve been taking lots of pictures lately using the body cap fish eye lens for my Olympus.  I find that taking just one lens with me means I get used to what it will, or will not, do and here’s a range of the pictures I took with it.  The students were doing a group project and I bumped into them one lunchtime and asked if they minded me taking their picture.  As you can see, some of them had to be dressed as fictional characters.  The rest of the pictures were taken one evening and I experimented with different foregrounds beneath the interesting cloud formations.


African Water Futures Workshop: Linköping University 29 April

Our time at Linköping University is unfortunately drawing to a close.  We have just had a long weekend to celebrate Valborg but before then Kate and I held a Futures Studies session with our Sustainable Resources Masters students in Temahuset.

Kate at Tema

It ended with the students workshopping Future Scenarios for Water Use in Africa.

The four scenarios they came up with were provocatively titled:

  • The Garden of Eden
  • Noah’s Ark
  • The Tower of Babel
  • Dante’s Inferno

This lively set of pictures were taken when they were drawing up short descriptive narratives to go with each scenario.

Per-Olof Hansson’s Disputation

Friday last week was taken up entirely with the public defence of Per-Olof Hanssons’ PhD thesis: New Ways of Learning: Participatory Action Research and Kenyan Runners’ Appropriation of Smartphones to Improve their Daily Lives and Participation in m-Learning.


I was invited to be the opponent and soon learned that meant I had to make a presentation (below) summarising the thesis and then lead the discussion.  All of which is open to the public.  The three examiners, interested colleagues, friends, relatives and the general public all took part in the debate that followed.  This was a lovely experience to be a part of: one that is radically different to the behind-closed-doors process in South Africa.

After the discussions the examiners and supervisors withdrew to deliberate and returned later to announce the successful award of the PhD.  The partying then started and continued late into the night.  Per-Olof had kindly organised a really nice meal for family, friends, colleagues and guests at the faculty club on Linköping campus.  The proceedings  were punctuated by speeches and present giving (as you can see from the pictures!)  The live band kept the dancing going and we returned to Valla Linköping many hours later.

PO gift

Crate of Tusker for Per-Olof


Tusker with rainbow trout




Elin Wihlborg (one of P-O’s supervisors)

I was fortunate enough to be sitting with two of the elite Kenyan runners who had benefitted greatly from Per-Olof’s programme.  They were in Europe to compete for the Spring season and were hoping to win in this year’s Copenhagen marathon and half-marathon.  Last year they had won 13 of the fourteen events they had entered.

Here’s the presentation I made.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.15.32 PM


Bikes everywhere: Linköping University Valla campus

When you walk up the rise and on to Valla campus your first impression is bikes, bikes and more bikes.  There must be several thousand on the campus and they congregate outside Kårallen (the student’s centre).  What a difference to Rhodes University where there are maybe a hundred or so – and how this must benefit the health of the students and the environment.  Making the environment a part of everyone’s education at Linköping University has been in the campus news recently. Also the University’s goals to reduce energy use, paper use, short haul flights ….

Every LiU car will run on non-fossil fuels or electricity by 2015 at the latest, and there will be more bicycles for hire for use at work.

All makes makes you think a little about our own goals and priorities in South Africa.

The cyclists and the bikes make a lovely theme for this little photo essay …..