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]



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


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, organized by Clare Qualmann and Blake Morris, that brought together artists and academics whose work engaged with the practice of walking. [2] :80 Notable speakers included Kubra Khademi, Anna Minton 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]


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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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.

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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.

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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).

Walking art is the act of walking as an artistic practice. While walking artists have diverse interests and backgrounds, many scholars have foregrounded the way it explores the connections between the mind and body, as well as space and time. Some artists consider walking an artistic end in itself, while others use walking as a means of mark-making, storytelling, social practice, or to create work in other artistic media. Despite emerging from a variety of artistic and literary traditions, a 'common feature [of walking art] is the engagement of the body in a process of walking through a landscape based on a specific artistic design.':161


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