Rozhovor s dr. Tomem Ballem
Dr. Tom Ball je geograf, který se ve výzkumu orientuje na klimatickou změnu, ekosystémové služby, management povodí a povodňové riziko. Při svých výzkumech využívá metody fyzické i sociální geografie. Za svou kariéru působil v řadě předních univerzit a v současnosti působí na University of Winchester v jižní Anglii. V soukromí se rekreačně věnuje létání.
Hi Tom, what was the purpose of your visit in Ostrava?
I wanted to make a visit to the Department of Physical Geography to work with Stanislav Ruman on a project we’ve been collaborating on for a few years now. The history of this is, he made contact with me when I was a lecturer at Dundee University and we arranged an ERASMUS placement for him for a year. This went really well and he also made a research visit separately to UCL last year, to meet with another collaborator. I’m living down in London now, so that offered an opportunity to meet again and this then led to discussions about the possibility of me coming over before Christmas 2015, to follow things up and do some work together. We’re at the stage where we are starting to get results from our hydrological modeling work so these sorts of „face time“ visits can be really productive.
Apart from that, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try and make some links between Univ. Ostrava and the University where I have my new job (University of Winchester) and its brand new geography programme, by perhaps making some formal arrangements through ERASMUS. I was able to do this which was a great bonus and I hope it results in some student and teaching exchanges. I also gave a seminar and had some chances to talk about research and field sites with some of the other staff which I greatly enjoyed.
How the collaboration will continue?
Well, we’ll see but I think we will continue to work on the same research problem both in the catchment where we are currently working and also in other catchments, perhaps in the Czech Rep. We’ll try and get some papers together and go to present at more conferences over the next year to two years.
How do you like Ostrava as a living space? Did you visit any interesting places in the city?
I really enjoyed it during my week there. I had some really interesting visits which Stanislav arranged, to the coal mining museum and also the converted steel works and the industrial housing that Rockefellers built. I didn’t know much about this city before and it was a real discovery and I learned a lot about the history. I had been to Prague but never to this part of Czech Republic, so it was an eye-opener for me. I also spent several evenings in the bars and went to a folk concert, and did a bit of Christmas shopping too!
And what about people living in the city? Did you meet some of them?
Yes, quite a few who lived in the city, Stanislav and Teresa and colleagues, a few students. I had the chance to chat to some people in the tourist sites who spoke a little English. I got to know my hotel manager pretty well who was a really friendly guy and told me about the history of the building and the city a bit more.
Tom, can you compare the feel and atmosphere between our department and the Universities you know from UK?
I get the impression that the students are quite focused and work harder in the Czech Republic, but this is just an impression! The atmosphere is perhaps slightly more formal, but this is nice and more what I prefer from a department.
Thank you for the interview.
Author: Jan Lenart