Mallorca
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Fieldwork in Mallorca

Striking the balance between choosing a destination that inspires students, ticks all the academic boxes and is affordable can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to be.

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and has many fascinating landscapes, creating endless opportunities for fascinating fieldwork.

Mallorca is such a popular holiday destination that many students may have already visited the island with their families. Carrying out fieldwork in a familiar environment, will enable them to learn about the role of the geographer and compare that with the approach of the tourist.

We have teamed up with the Es Pla Education Centre to offer you a range of customisable fieldwork opportunities. These empower students, aid their self-development and help to contextualise their studies away from the classroom and in the world around them.

All options can be tailormade in content and duration. Popular topics include…

Coasts

edu mallorca es pla coastal

Prior to the arrival of mass tourism on the island, coastal processes and systems were largely unaffected by human interference. Coasts were naturally protected by dead seagrass leaves and water transparency was aided by seagrass meadow sediment retention.

However, since the 1970s, the impact of human activity has been considerable. It is estimated that 46% of underwater seagrass meadows in Mallorca have been affected and there has also been increased beach erosion. This study looks at the current situation, causes of the decline, the level of awareness among stakeholders and the conflicts between them, and the possibility of implementing sustainable coastal management policies.

Rural studies

edu mallorca es pla rural

This study is an opportunity to investigate and understand to what extent places are able to adapt to changing circumstances and engage in place making. If the island follows a process of regeneration, it can be rebranded. However, for it to succeed, all stakeholders need to be involved in the process. This is not something that has happened in the past.

The ‘sun, sea and sand’ model of tourism has been used in Mallorca for the past 50 years. But this model is unsustainable. As a result, in 2012 the Balearic Islands government approved the Integrated Tourist Plan. This stated that each local village council should develop a local plan for tourism, focusing on the development of the concept of sustainable development as promoted by the World Tourism Organisation.

The Mallorcan government has recently focused on a regeneration process in the Es Pla region. Previously this agricultural area was perceived as being of little interest to visitors and was therefore demoted by the tourist industry. As a result, it remains largely untouched. The regeneration process is presented by the government as an opportunity to develop a model of sustainable tourism, to give villages a chance to engage in place making and to provide employment opportunities for the local people.

Water security

edu mallorca es pla water processes

Access to freshwater is crucial for the survival of every community in the world. Sources, usage, infrastructure and planning all need to be considered. However, for a small island, whose economy relies on tourism, with limited supplies of freshwater, water security should be at the heart of every political, social and economic debate.

This study is an opportunity to investigate and understand the issue of water security using the island of Mallorca as a case study. The study includes different site visits. Each site focuses on a different aspect of water security in order to obtain an overview of the subject.

Students will learn about water conserving strategies which are specific to Mallorca include traditional techniques.

Sustainable city

edu mallorca es pla wind mill

The word ‘sustainable’ means “able to be produced or maintained for an indefinite period without damaging the environment, or without depleting a resource.”

Large cities are often considered to be unsustainable as they consume very large amounts of resources and produce huge amounts of waste. Sustainable urban development aims to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.

The study involves a visit to Palma to evaluate how successfully the city is becoming sustainable. The visit can consider all or some of the six key aspects of sustainability.

Urban studies

edu mallorca palma city centre and cathedral

This study considers the urban regeneration process and its impact on the residents of these neighbourhoods. It is an opportunity to understand the necessity of considering the opinions and the role of all stakeholders in plans involving urban change.

Over the past two decades, the historic city centre of Palma has undergone a process of urban change. Before this, poor quality housing, high unemployment and social exclusion defined the most deprived neighbourhoods. Public funds, followed by private investment, have been used to reverse the decline and revive these areas by improving the quality of buildings and public spaces and supporting local businesses.

More recently, buildings in the city centre have been purchased by foreign investors with the objective of converting them into luxury hotels, tourist apartments, second homes or nightlife venues. This new aspect of the regeneration process is currently provoking conflicts between local residents, the city council and tourists.

Tourism

edu mallorca sea kayaking

Mass tourism in Mallorca began in the 1960s. In 2010, 5.9 million tourists visited Mallorca. The total for 2018 was 11.94 million. Many tourists enjoy traditional beach holidays (the ‘sun, sea and sand’ package) with the possibility of sightseeing trips if required. However, there are many activity-based holidays available as well including cycling, golf, water sports, climbing, hiking, caving, cooking and wine tasting.

Tourism is a wide-ranging subject with many aspects that can be studied. Your field study will be tailored to the particular requirements of your group. Possible topics for investigation include:

  • Honeypot sites
  • Rural tourism
  • Urban tourism
  • Cruise ship tourism
  • Sports tourism
  • Package tourism
  • Accommodation

Other topics are available on request.

About Our Fieldwork Tutors

Our fieldwork tutors are from the Es Pla Education Centre which was founded in 2014. The centre is run by Richard Thompson and Catalina Gaya. Richard is an experienced British geographer who has worked in 20 countries across 4 continents. Catalina is from Mallorca and specialises in fieldwork methodology. Her experience as a journalist and lecturer makes her a passionate educator on social issues.

The Es Pla Education Centre team comprises of expert geographers, biologists and geologists. They will work with you to design a bespoke programme which matches your requirements perfectly. They offer fieldwork courses for GCSE, A level and IB students and will even accommodate KS3 and university groups too.

 

Benefits of undertaking Fieldwork in Mallorca

  • Amazing value: With flights to Mallorca being very affordable and reasonable costs whilst on the island, field studies trips to Mallorca are comparable in price to those based in the UK.
  • Flexibility: Your fieldwork will be tailor-made to your requirements including timescales and topics.
  • Fantastic weather: 300 days of sunshine a year means that there is a high chance you will be exploring Mallorca in glorious sunshine.
  • Designed by teachers: The dedicated team at the Es Pla Education Centre understand the connection between enjoyment and learning.
  • The wealth of curriculum links: The island is currently undergoing a process of conflict and change. This provides a variety of study topics including: coasts; tourism; sustainability; rural rebranding; urban regeneration; and water security.
  • Size: Mallorca is large enough to provide a wide range of field study options yet small enough to ensure that all field study sites are less than a one-hour drive from your accommodation.

“I’ve been privileged enough to have experienced the excellent work that Richard did with my students… and would have no hesitation in recommending his study centre.”

Matt Podbury, Head of Department at the International School of Toulouse. Author of www.geographypods.com and www.ibgeographypods.org

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