Ian Williamson | learn (mind) advocate
I first became aware of Human-Nature Escapes CIC through their launch event at Keele, and immediately saw similarities between their outdoor ‘wellbeing focused’ activities, and those I personally enjoy myself outside of work – particularly landscape and wildlife photography.
I’ve learned for myself how necessary it is to switch off from workplace pressures, and to achieve a good work-life balance. I’ve found that escaping into local landscapes with my camera, whether it be to capture the sight of the sunrise through an early morning mist, or to capture the golden hues of a closing sunset sky, is for me one of life’s true pleasures. I especially like to photograph at my favourite local landscapes of Mam Tor, The Roaches and Shutlingsloe.
Over recent years, I’ve grown increasingly interested in photography. I’ve really enjoyed the process of learning too – starting out with a simple digital compact, becoming hooked on taking holiday snaps, but taking time to explore the multitude of settings and how these impacted the resulting photos, even with just a relatively basic ‘point and shoot’ camera. Nowadays, I take it a bit more more seriously, and have to admit I’m becoming more perceptive when it comes to camera equipment paraphernalia, and what it takes to capture what I notice to be a high quality photo image.
But photography is by no means the only thing that I’ve learned outside of work, which I think positively supports my own health and wellbeing. I’m not much for watching the telly, but instead tend to keep myself busy with a multitude of racket sports, like tennis, badminton and squash – but I do have to admit, I am rather competitive!
I’m also very much into music, as a listener to multiple different genres including my all-time favourite Ska, but also as a player of Clarinet and Sax, and being part of a live skiffle band , who occasionally get out and about into local pubs and clubs.
Working for Keele University, as a ‘learning’ establishment, in my role as Occupational Health and Safety Manager, and sensing the positive benefits of lifelong learning for my own health and wellbeing, I’m happy to offer my support to Human-Nature as the ‘Learn (Mind)’ Advocate. Even when we feel that our academic days might be behind us, it’s never too late to learn new things and to keep on learning. It’s simply got to be good to keep our minds stretched, agile and active. Learning new things is something we can, and ought to do, into later life and right on into our more mature years.
I guess just like our bodies, our minds need regular exercise too!