Back in January, Mission:Explore was announced as one of the winners of the GeoVation Awards Programme, the initiative supporting exciting ideas that use geography. Everyone that met the team was impressed with their passion, vision and sense of adventure. Here, Daniel Raven-Ellison who gave the pitch which secured the award, writes about the project and it’s aims in the first of a series of guest posts.
You can find out more on the GeoVation blog.
PS look out for some exciting news about this year’s GeoVation Awards very soon!
Mission:Explore is a project to encourage people to see, explore and act innew ways. We started the project because while children’s geographies are being extended in some areas (such as social networks), they are being restricted and bound in others.
As a subject geography is often marginalised and in schools and neighbourhoods children’s physical geographies are being reduced due to risk aversion. Our geographies directly impact on our wellbeing and our understanding of those geographies can help us to improve the wellbeing not only of ourselves but our communities.
Mission:Explore encourages children to look at the world differently
We believe that it is vital that young people are given the opportunity to explore. Exploration is a state of mind and a process of enquiry. It is about searching for answers even if we do not know the questions and can be physical, emotional or imagined.
Exploration is strongly linked to creativity: both search for originality (if only for the participant) and involve taking and managing risk. These are skills that we need young people to develop and along with their health and education, are being held back when children are not allowed to explore.
Mission:Explore aims to engage young people with geography on their own terms by challenging them to complete challenges. Each mission challenges the explorer to complete quirky, funny, important, strange or just fun activity. The people involved can choose to follow the mission to the letter or just use it to inspire their own ideas.
How far can you get while sucking a mint?!
We have just launched the Mission:Explore children’s book which includes 102 missions. All of our royalties are being invested in free copies of the book for children who would never normally come across them. The first books have been given to Play Tower Hamlets who are distributing them on our behalf.
The book is powerful. As a parent it is a fantastic way to encourage your children to play outdoors in a meaningful way. As an object that can be carried around it can create a purpose for doing the missions and a reason to speak to members of the community.
Missions like “how far can you get while sucking the same mint” involves some basic science while “map (un)friendly places” engages young people with politics and encourages them to question who creates places and cultures. If all the children on a street had a copy of the book it could change that community forever.
The book is available nationally and we would love to hear what you think of it.
We are going a step further though. With the help of GeoVation we, along with The Workshop, are turning Mission:Explore into a website and iPhone App. We will be sharing more details on this innovation in the next blogpost.