Walking Artists Network

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The Walking Artists Network (WAN) is an international network dedicated to walking as a critical and artistic practice; it reflects the growth and increased interest in walking art. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] It is based at the University of East London's Centre for Performing Arts Development and contains a network of over 600 members from across the globe, though predominantly based in the United Kingdom. [6] The network maintains an active email discussion community through JISCmail. [7]

Contents

Founding

WAN originated in late 2007 when a small group of artists in central London invited ‘all those who are interested in walking as a critical spatial practice’ to its first meeting. [8] It was further developed when Clare Qualmann and Mark Hunter successfully bid for Arts and Humanities Research Council funding in 2011. [5] [9] This facilitated the international development of the network and allowed it to expand membership, develop a website and fund the Footwork research group. [2] :80

Activities

The Walking Artists Network is works 'on the basis of events that having walking at their core (rather than arranging things at which people sit and listen to talking about walking)'. [2] :80 This has resulted in 'a variety of walking based initiatives' that bring 'people together to walk'. [2] :80

Step by Step (2014-2017)

An interdisciplinary seminar series at the University of East London that brought together artists and academics whose work engaged with the practice of walking. [2] :80 Notable speakers included Kubra Khademi, Anna Minton, Clare Qualmann and Sara Wookey. [10]

Walking Encyclopaedia (2014)

In 2014 the Walking Artists Network collaborated with Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, to produce The Walking Encyclopaedia (2014) a gallery exhibition and online archive of walking practices that includes more than 150 walking practitioners and artworks. [11]

Ways to Wander (2015)

In 2015, a collection of walk suggestions, experiences, techniques and case studies by members of the Walking Artists' Network was published by Triarchy Press with the title Ways to Wander. [12] The book was an 'output of the AHRC funded 'Footwork' project, and edited by Qualmann and Claire Hind. [13]

WALKING WOMEN (2016)

In 2016 Qualmann and Amy Sharrocks curated WALKING WOMEN, 'a series of walks talks and workshops that featured over forty women artists working with walking in a variety of media.' [2] :80 The event featured two programmes of work at Somerset House, London and Forest Fringe, Edinburgh. [14]

Artists presenting their work included Jennie Savage, Sharrocks, Deirdre Heddon, Kubra Khademi, Louise Ann Wilson, Rosana Cade, The Walking Reading Group on Participation, Monique Besten and Alison Lloyd. The Live Art Development Agency published a guide to WALKING WOMEN following the events. A radio programme featuring artists involved in the programme was broadcast on Resonance FM in July 2016. [15]

Further reading

Hind, Claire and Clare Qualmann. Ways to Wander: 54 intriguing ideas for different ways to take a walk. Axminster: Triarchy Press, 2015.

Morris, Blake. Walking Networks: The Development of an Artistic Medium. London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2020.

Smith, Phil. Walking's New Movement. Axminster: Triarchy Press, 2015.

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Deveron Projects, formerly Deveron Arts, is a United Kingdom arts organisation based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland that hosts international artists from a variety of disciplines to collaborate with the town community. Deveron Projects follows a '50/50' approach, which gives equal attention to impact on the local community and impact on the international art scene. Residencies have been provided to artists from China, the Americas, India, Africa and mainland Europe as well as North East Scotland.

Amy Sharrocks is a UK based live artist, sculptor, filmmaker and curator from London, England. Sharrocks' work focuses on collaboration and exchange, inviting people on journeys that they also help to create. She is known for large scale, live artworks in public places that use everyday activities, such as swimming or walking, in spectacular ways. Many of her artworks investigate the nature of cities, explore the importance of fluidity as a way of thinking, and question our constructs of city life. Her work has been supported by Arts Council England, The Live Art Development Agency and Artsadmin. Major works include SWIM (2007), a 50-person swim across London, and the ongoing Museum of Water (2013-Ongoing), a collection of over one thousand bottles of water from around the world.

Simone Kenyon is a performer, artist and producer born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She works extensively with walking, and in collaboration with other artists and dancers. In 2006, with the dancer Tamara Ashley, she made 'The Pennine Way: The Legs that Make Us', a durational art project in the form of a walk, creating a performance lecture about the project for ROAM a weekend of walking at Loughborough University in 2008, and a book published by Brief Magnetics in 2007. With Andrew Brown and Katie Doubleday she instigated the 'Open City' project in 2006, exploring the organisation and control of behaviour in the public realm. Kenyon worked with Deveron Arts in Huntly, Aberdeenshire on the founding of their "Walking Institute" and completed a commission 'Hielan' Ways' - a long distance walk in the Cairngorms in 2013-14. She has also completed walking-based work Step by Step, 2013 for Dance4 in collaboration with Neil Callaghan. Kenyon is connected with the Walking Artists Network.

Clare Qualmann

Clare Qualmann is a British multi-media performance artist based in London, UK. She is a senior lecturer in performing arts at the University of East London and also teaches at London Metropolitan University.

Walkwalkwalk (2005-2010) is a British artist collective consisting of Gail Burton, Serena Korda and Clare Qualmann. Based in London, their work focuses on their own routine walks in the Bethnal Green neighborhood of East London, as well as overlooked and forgotten spaces. Walkwalkwalk identify their move to walking as in part a response to monetary requirement and the financial restrictions present of living in London. Their work looks to bring attention to overlooked and forgotten spaces and create alternative modes of engagement with the city.

Cathy Turner is a British artist and researcher, specialising in dramaturgy, site-specific performance and walking art. She is a founder member of Wrights & Sites, and a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter. Turner's practice and research explore how one's life experience can influence one's perception of their environment.

Kubra Khademi is an Afghan performance artist based in Paris. She studied fine arts at Kabul University before attending Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan on a scholarship. In Lahore she began to create public performances, a practice she continued upon her return to Kabul, where her work actively responded to a society dominated by extreme patriarchal politics. After performing her piece Armor in 2015, Khademi was forced to flee Afghanistan due to a fatwa and death threats. She is currently living and working in Paris.

Monique Besten

Monique Besten is a walking artist, writer, performer, historian and activist. She is known for her long-distance walking work, and is the subject of articles and publications discussing the use of walking as an art practice; she is a member of the Walking Artists Network. She has been cited by scholar Phil Smith as part of a new generation of artists engaging site-specific theatre through 'performative journeys'.

The Loiterers Resistance Movement (2006–present) is a ‘Manchester-based collective of artists and activists interested in psychogeography and public space.’ They host a free monthly dérive on the first Sunday of every month that is open to the public. They are considered core contributors to the tradition of British psychogeography, and part of what Tina Richardson has identified as the 'new psychogeography'. The LRM have also been identified as contributing to the visibility and practices of walking women: they were featured on the BBC Radio 4 broadcast, 'The Art of Now: Women Who Walk' (2018), and are also included in the Live Art Development Agency's Study Room Guide on WALKING WOMEN (2015).

References

  1. Heddon, Deirdre; Turner, Cathy (1 May 2012). "Walking Women: Shifting the Tales and Scales of Mobility" (PDF). Contemporary Theatre Review. 22 (2): 224–236. doi:10.1080/10486801.2012.666741. ISSN   1048-6801. S2CID   143812276.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Morris, Blake (15 November 2019). Walking Networks: The Development of an Artistic Medium. Rowman & Littlefield International. ISBN   978-1-78661-022-5.
  3. Owen, Louise (1 November 2013). "Robert Wilson, Walking (Holkham Estate, 2012)". Contemporary Theatre Review. 23 (4): 568–573. doi:10.1080/10486801.2013.839177. ISSN   1048-6801. S2CID   143698890.
  4. Doonan, Natalie (25 March 2015). "Techniques of Making Public: The Sensorium Through Eating and Walking". Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches Théâtrales Au Canada. 36 (1). ISSN   1913-9101.
  5. 1 2 O'Neill, Maggie; Roberts, Brian (9 July 2019). Walking Methods: Research on the Move. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-317-29502-0.
  6. "Walking Artists' Network". www.walkingartistsnetwork.org. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  7. "JISCMail - WAN List at WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK". www.jiscmail.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  8. "History". 23 March 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  9. Research Council UK. "Footwork - The Walking Artists Network as Mobile Community". gtr.rcuk.ac.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  10. "Step by Step Seminar series". Walking Artists Network. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  11. "AIRSPACE". www.airspacegallery.org. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  12. Bonnett, Alastair (1 September 2017). "The enchanted path: magic and modernism in psychogeographical walking". Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 42 (3): 472–484. doi:10.1111/tran.12177. ISSN   0020-2754.
  13. Qualman, Claire Hind Clare (24 July 2015). Ways to Wander. Triarchy Press. ISBN   978-1-909470-73-6.
  14. "WALKING WOMEN - Events". Live Art Development Agency. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  15. FM, Resonance. "Clear Spot - 14th July 2016 ('Er Outdoors #3)". Mixcloud. Retrieved 2 February 2019.