Sunday, July 27, 2008

Built Environment Edutainment Attractions

The built environment consists of man-made constructions that have been created to facilitate society and human existence. In any urban area the built environment including houses, office blocks, roads, railway lines, factories, bridges, and churches surrounds us. The majority of the local built environment is unremarkable to those who live within it, but occasionally something within the built environment is created that becomes a spectacle, and as a consequence an attraction. When this happens it is largely due to the novelty of what has been created. Built environment attractions can be novel due to their uniqueness, architecture, history, notoriety, usage, size or any combination of these factors. When something has been created within the built environment that becomes an attraction this is often capitalised upon with the introduction of educational facilities so that visitors to the attraction can learn more about it. The majority of built environment attractions were not originally created as attractions, however in some cases their importance as attractions has become central to their existence. An example of this could be the ruins of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, that once formed an important functioning building, but today has no function other than to draw in visitors.

Many built environment sites that are recognised as being attractions, have often had educational facilities built such as visitor centers, or observation platforms. The intention of these is usually to help audiences interpret and understand the attraction and as such these facilities are edutainment venues.

Built environment attractions include the following:
  • Airport Viewing Areas
  • Archaeological Attractions
  • Bridges
  • Canal Based Attractions
  • Famous & Historic Buildings
  • Monuments, Statues & Sculpture
  • Sports Stadiums
  • Reservoirs & Dams
  • Towers & Tall Buildings with Observation Decks
  • Windmills & Wind Farms

Above The Gateshead Millennium Bridge - A visitor attraction in the built environment

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The 28th Kirkstall Festival

Entertainment was in abundance at the 28th annual Kirkstall Festival on Saturday 12th July. There was: edutainment in the form of narrated battle re-enactments; live music from a number of performers on the main stage as well as the brass band playing in the abbey ruins; spectator sports with rugby, football and tennis competitions; and thrillertainment on the noisy adrenalin inducing fairground rides. Apart from this there were an array of information stands, stalls, tombolas, and of course fabulous festival food from around the world.

The festival is held in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey, built by Cistercian Monks in the 12th Century. After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the Abbey slowly fell into ruin. Today these are accompanied by a Leeds City Council run visitor centre and museum. The site of the Abbey made a spectacular backdrop for the festival, which was visited by several thousand people from within and beyond the local area. It was really good to see representation from Leeds Met, including a stall run by the Sri Lanka 2008 volunteers, charity tombolas, and of course the Student Union run refreshment tent, all of which helped to make this another successful community event.

Above - Edutainment via a historic re-enactment

Above - The lure of live music