The Indian Institute of Geographical Studies starts two new GeoVidyaa Geography Centres in Tamil Nadu– one at Nirmala College, Coimbatore and one Cascade Montessori Resource Centre, Chennai.

GeoVidyaa Geography Centre – Coimbatore

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In collaboration with:

Department of Geography, Nirmala College for Women, Red Fields, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

At a charming inaugural function that the Department of Geography, Nirmala College For Women, Red Fields, Coimbatore organized, a panel consisting entirely of geographers declared the GeoVidyaa Geography Centre – Coimbatore open.  The entire Geography Department was present in full force and filled with great energy and enthusiasm.

Dr Miriam, Chairperson of the Department, spoke about the need for such a collaboration between the two entities. She spoke of the dire situation that geography education is in in India and the importance of professional development of teachers.

Dr Sr Dona Grace, Principal, welcomed everyone and offered all encouragement to our efforts.

Dr Jagadesan, Regional Joint Director, Collegiate Education, declared the GeoVidyaa Geography Centre – Coimbatore open.

Dr Muthatha Ramanathan, Research Associate of TIIGS, briefed the gathered teachers and students about the philosophy, mission, and achievements of TIIGS. She spoke of the new academic culture that TIIGS is endeavouring to bring about by getting everyone to connect with the geographer innate in themselves. She urged us to connect with place in very personal and intimate ways.

Dr Chandra Shekhar Balachandran, Founder & Director, TIIGS, spoke about what GeoVidyaa Geography Centre – Coimbatore will do to help teachers and students engage with geography in new ways to make geography education fun, exciting, and relevant to contemporary needs. Workshops, teacher support newsletters, and other forms of interactions will be undertaken in collaboration with the Geography Department of Nirmala College, he added, urging teachers to be in touch with us and to tell us what their needs are.

Dr Maria, Vice-Head of the Department, ably coordinated the proceedings.

During our 1.5 days of interaction, we found the faculty of the Department very very energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to make a difference.

We look forward to our growth together.

Following the function, Dr Balachandran conducted an interactive workshop for teachers (with some students) on “latitudes and longitudes.” The workshop was well received. About 50 teachers and 10 students participated.

GeoVidyaa Geography Centre – Chennai


In collaboration with:

Cascade Montessori Resource Centre, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai

On 6 and 7 December 2014, TIIGS conducted four workshops over two days at the Cascade Montessori Resource Centre*:

  1. Latitudes and longitudes
  2. Mapping our neighbourhood
  3. Geographies of Ebola
  4. Geographies of Edward Snowden

(These same workshops will be presented on 13 and 14 Dec. 2014 in Bangalore also. We encourage parents to join their children for these workshops also.)

The workshops were well-attended and well-received. Even children as young as 8.5 years participated eagerly and intelligently in all four workshops.

Interestingly, several parents also attended the workshops with their children. This is a very good thing because parents not only learned some new things and new ways of using geography to look at and understand the world, they also enjoyed an intellectual bond with their children. TIIGS has long advocated this, but this was the first time, we say it happen. The effects were very good.

Ms Vidya Shankar, Director of Cascade, Montessorian, and an ardent geography enthusiast, has invited TIIGS to partner with Cascade to start Chennai’s first GeoVidyaa Geography Centre at their premises in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai. Here, we plan to offer weekend geography workshops once every two months.

We have also decided to set up an online year-round TIIGS workshops, courses, and other activities calendar. This calendar will be available to the public and you may register for these activities online.

The formal inauguration of GVGC – Chennai will occur in January or February 2015 with the next weekend-workshops that will be offered there.

TIIGS will also continue to reach out to underserved sections and those who are not linked to the internet, as we have always done in the past.

So, gear up for some exciting geography engagements coming up this year:

  • Geography workshops (by TIIGS associates and other geographers)
  • Communication skills for geographers (especially suitable for undergraduate and graduate geography students; by TIIGS associates)
  • Lectures (by geographers from various fields)
  • Documentary film-screenings (TIIGS’s screenings are interactive; you don’t just watch a film and go away)
  • Citizen Geographers initiative – modules to help you become a more empowered and informed member in the community

… and many more!

Here are some scenes from the recent events in Coimbatore and Chennai


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