Learning in Limbo #blimage

"Birmingham Airport Departure Lounge (gate 14/15)" by David Hopkins. Creative Commons licence CC
“Birmingham Airport Departure Lounge (gate 14/15)” by David Hopkins. Creative Commons licence CC


The gauntlet was thrown down by David Hopkins, to participate in a game or challenge if you will. David had responded to a similar challenge passed on to him by Steve Wheeler, who, in turn, was enlisted in the original challenge offered by that High Priestess of EduPunkery, Amy Burvall.

This is the aim of the challenge as perceived by Steve Wheeler:

You send an image or photograph to a colleague with the challenge that they have to write a learning related blog post based on it. Just make sure the images aren’t too rude. The permutations are blimmin’ endless. (Wheeler, 2015)

The notion of the #blimage,  a portmanteau of “blog” and “image”, was coined by Amy Burvall (Wheeler, 2015).

A Dead Zone?

The image that David has presented me (and a few others I believe) is the departure lounge at Birmingham Airport. At first glance this is a space that feels dead, lifeless and sterile. It is a space that is fixed and controlled, it reeks of slick corporate uniformity. A space that is waiting… for something… to happen. But, then…

Liminal Spaces

I see a space that is between worlds. A space that is both fixed and fluid. A space that erupts between moments of order and moments of chaos. A space that is designed to create collisions, not in the literal sense of the word. But, collisions that are constructive and creative; collisions that may be planned or serendipitous; a collision of people, ideas, spaces, cultures, technology and knowledge. This space is a powerful and potent reminder of Meyer and Land’s (2003) concept of “threshold concepts”.

Learning in Limbo!

This is a space that gives people the permission to connect, create, construct and communicate. It is a dangerous and violent space where prior knowledge, learning and ideas are questioned and contested. This troublesome space can cause confusion and, even, disruption. Learners are forced to confront troublesome knowledge as they try to navigate and reconcile this prior knowledge and understanding. They look for beacons to help them illuminate and chart their way through the seas of uncertainty. Each epistemic obstacle they encounter; be it a whirlpool, a mythical creature or a sea mine; can either enhance or encumber a learner’s understanding. The point is that the journey is not necessarily meant to be a safe one, but it does entail for some form of valuable lesson to be learnt. This space, therefore, allows us to make those transitions.

Your #blimage Challenge

"Midsummer Chronophage (Detail)" by dun_deagh. Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA
“Midsummer Chronophage (Detail)” by dun_deagh. Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA

OK, over to you. You can use the #blimage above (or another of your own choice), incorporate it into your blog, and write your own post about learning based on it. When you are done, pass an image of your choice on to someone else so they can do their own #blimage challenge.


Hopkins, D. (2015). “Desks of Doom! #blimage”. Technology Enhanced Learning Blog, 20.07.2015. Available at: http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/elearning/desks-of-doom-blimage/ [Accessed 21.7.2015].

Meyer, J. & Land, R. (2003). Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines. ETL Project, Occasional Report 4, May 2003. Edinburgh, Scotland: University of Edinburgh. Available at: http://www.etl.tla.ed.ac.uk//docs/ETLreport4.pdf [Accessed 21.7.2015].

Wheeler, S. (2015). “Blimey, it’s #blimage!”. Learning with ‘e’s, 20.07.2015. Available at: http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/blimey-its-blimage.html [Accessed 21.7.2015].