Well, I could edit the header picture and, maybe, someday I shall but for now it is both representative of me and of the world of learning in which I believe so passionately.

Brought up in Penzance, in the ‘toe’ of England, city lights and global air-travel were unknown. Yet, in that pre-internet era, a love of ‘finding out’ and ‘getting better’ at things was sparked and nurtured by a number of people. Today, many years later, I’m still learning, occasionally getting better and am widely involved in creating all sorts of learning and qualifications programmes. I still think of Cornwall as home.

So, the header picture suits the personal ‘me’ but what about the learning and qualifications side?

That picture is a landscape of many elements: differently shaped self-contained fields, a road, hills, valleys, cliffs and the seeming emptiness of the sea. Each element on its own is not much. Together, it all works. What’s more, it works as a whole but also in sub-sections (the fields make a farm, etc.)

Making sense of what we see and use of what we know: learning and qualifications.


  1. 🙂

  2. Gillian,

    I just want to inform you that the DIUS HE Debate website has been updated in the last few days.

    The section on ‘part-time study’ now carries a report by Prof. Christine King on this issue (http://hedebate.jiscinvolve.org/parttime-studies-in-he/).

    Given that you left a comment on an earlier version of the blog I thought I should alert you to this update.

    Best regards

    Vincent McGovern

    [Vincent: thank you! I’ll reply separately.]

  3. This reminds me of a poem – Neruda or Borges? – latter I think. I paraphrase:

    we spend our waking and sleeping lives walking down streets and alleys, back streets and boulevards, smell the scent of blossoms and wisterias of suburban avenues, traipse up mountain paths, run along the crushed grasses of meadow trails, follow unknown footsteps on the beach…then one day, we look in the mirror and we realise we have but followed the lines in our face…

    • I like that, Paul! Do let me have the original ref when you find it. To my shame, both writers are but names to me and it looks like I’ve missed a gem.

  4. I must have conflated two Neruda and Borges poems. Here is the Jorge Luis Borges:

    “A man sets out to draw the world. As years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers, the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”

    Aleph and other stories.

    The Pablo Neruda is more lyrical. I’ll send it when I find it. Paul.

    • I’m not too sure about the ‘a short time before he dies’ but that’s a thought-provoking image. I prefer your more lyrical version, though. Smelling the scent of blossoms, traipsing, crushed grasses, unknown footsteps – much more vivid.

  5. Yes, me too. I much preferred Neruda. I came to both the cerebral, masonic, Borges and lyrical Neruda through Andr̩ Breton and Octavio Paz Рmy all time favourite. Take care in 2010 to you and all those you love. Paul x

    • That’s my next book order sorted out, then! Cerebral and masonic should be a multi-layered read and I’ve just looked up Neruda to see that he’s not only ‘lyrical’ as you say but has written an ‘Ode to Ironing’ which suggests he’s not afraid to mix thinking and ‘real life’. Stay warm!

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