The highly successful Walking Reading Group, facilitated by Lydia Ashman, Ania Bas and Simone Mair, finished it’s current iteration of walks with a flurry of activity this month. Events included a suite of walks in Bilbao, a ‘Walking as Resistance’ walk around parliament and the surrounding area with texts and themes arising from the Human Rights Human Wrongs exhibition and a publication launch. As I’ve discussed here before, these walks have enabled me to explore an energising form of learning and connecting and thinking. The quality of reflection and engagement enacted by both the walks and the swapping conversation partners is striking. Through this and other influences, walking and learning has continued to become part of my practice as an educator and in my work.
The walks have been funded through the Arts Council allowing the walks to be free and openly available. Consequently all those participating have had the opportunity to meet a variety of new people with different perspectives and backgrounds in a safe environment. Unlike other networking events we have been able to have instantly intimate and lively discussions based on the reading and our own experiences and our route. Walking side by side fosters a kind of equality and openness and movement that affects conversations. The Walking Reading Group publication shares information and representations of the walks along with written and visual reflections on
the experience of the walks.
The walks have also enabled me to come into contact with people involved in creative walking projects such as:
John Levett is part of a group of artists walking and photographing in urban environments. Group members create art works using found objects, often cardboard, and return the art work to a location from the walk with a note asking anyone who finds it to take it home and share a photograph of it.
Elena Tognoli has created Yet Another Narrative, an audio-visual tour for the Foundling Museum. The work questions the ‘seemingly objective, authoritative voice of some audio tours by weaving into the narrative a subjective, intimate voice.’
Clare Qualman is a visual artist and lecturer at UeL. She is a founder of the Walking Artists Network which is ‘for everyone who defines themselves as a walking artist, and everyone who is interested in walking as a mode of art practice’.
Idit Nathan is an artist working on many projects including Play the City Now or Never. This an app that encourages pedestrians to take to the streets, interact with the city and play in public spaces such as shouting at the sky or drumming on a lamp post. The app will be launched at Peterborough Arts Fest 2015.
My next step is in asking how elements of these projects could be adapted for education purposes. How can we further use technology in capturing or facilitating walking and learning? How could we use walking to build relationships and communities in courses such as induction activities? How can we use walking to enable thinking, discussion and reflection? How could walking be used in coaching, mentoring or even personal tutoring?