We caught up with Sandie Robb founder of StampIT to find out more about the youth programme and what a typical day is like.
2. How did you start it?
StampIT started in 2004. It was originally a programme I developed for youth groups and Girlguiding took part in an amazing competition to design some Cinderella stamps which were produced in mini sheets. However, StampIT has evolved in so many ways since then. I started to design language board games which still have their place but now StampIT is developing more online activities.
I have always wanted children to discover stamps as tools for learning, as inspiration for art, for finding facts and just for fun!
3. What do you do in a general day?
I am not able to work on StampIT everyday because I am very busy with my job at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). When I do have time to set aside for StampIT, then it will usually be developing a new game, organising a competition or preparing for an event. I can’t really say how or where my inspiration for designing the games comes from, I just suddenly get an idea and then start to make rough drawings of the designs. If the game features certain stamps, then I first have to write to the relevant country postal authority to ask for permission and this can take some time. For competitions, I like to keep the rules as simple as possible and they are mainly aimed at non-stamp collectors to take part. Preparing for an event takes a lot of time as I will prepare craft and stamp activities, goody bags with stamps, covers, miniature sheets etc. and some interesting displays.
4. Do you collect stamps, if so what ?
I do have my own collection. I collect China because I teach about China, giant pandas and the Mandarin language and have visited the country twice. However I also collect postal history and other associated ephemera. I’ve started collecting perfins and I also have a wide eclectic collection of just whatever stamps I happen to like. I started collecting as a child and still have my first world album.
5. Why do you enjoy working in the hobby?
I find stamps fascinating! They are beautiful little pieces of paper with an incredible amount of information within them.
6. What plans does StampIT have this year?
I hope to launch a new game and to continue Stamp over October but I may redesign some of the activities within the month. The Around with World competition will not be continuing for now but there will be a revamp of the Language Competitions and they run all year round.
7. What is your favourite game you have on the website?
Oh this is a difficult question. I have more than one for different reasons. The Japanese Sugoroku board game is my favourite for its design. The Australian board game is my favourite for a fun way to learn about the wildlife. The Nature Language Cards are my favourite online interactive games and available in Spanish, French, Mandarin and Gaelic.
8. You have the coolest job, tell us what that is and how you bring stamps into it!
I am the RZSS Language Project Coordinator and that means I manage a programme called ‘Science in the Language Class’ which is an educational programme providing resources that link language learning to RZSS conservation projects in the wild or to the conservation breeding programmes within RZSS sites. There are programmes for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Mandarin and Gaelic! I don’t speak all those languages. I speak a little Spanish and some Mandarin.
Within that wider programme there is a major Mandarin project called ‘Beyond the Panda’ and that’s what I spend most of time working with. Developing resources, delivering sessions, teaching both online and in-person. Recently I am back to travelling across Scotland. Over the years I have been to various schools from Shetland Islands to the Borders and many places in between.
RZSS and StampIT have often joined forces for events and competitions. Stamps are an excellent medium for learning languages. Of course, animals and the conservation work is an excellent attraction and thus both can complement each other.
It is fantastic to bring along skulls and other interesting objects to stamp events. To discuss biology and wildlife conservation; to introduce language learning and then show examples of wildlife, geography, nature, the environment on stamps!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.