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Walking as Research Practice (WARP) 

The research group ‘Walking as Research Practice’ explores walking practices in a range of disciplines and across discipline boundaries.

Coordinators: Prof. Dr Alice Twemlow, MSc Tânia A. Cardoso and MSc Fenna Smit.

Although everybody walks, “the subject of walking is, in some sense, about how we invest universal acts with particular meanings,” (Solnit 2001: 3). Whether we are engaged in site-specific or virtual wanderings, feminist flâneries or digital dérives, and whether we prioritize listening or looking,  day or night, urban or rural, pre-planning or play, being alone or walking with, through walking practices we can transform ourselves, what we make and the landscapes/environments we stroll. As a research method, walking can be used to perform and/or document in creative ways the act of walking, the path, the environment, or the events unfolding during this practice. 

We invite everyone interested in walking practices as research to join us for group discussions, close reading of texts, and walking expeditions, in order to rethink the dynamics between critical walking methodologies and the disciplines with which they are involved. Walking as a practice of research aims for a reflection on the relationship between theory and practice in different fields, on the role of practices as theorization, on embodiment and site-specificity, and on the influence practices such as walking may have in higher education. The group welcomes researchers from different fields in the Social Sciences and the Humanities such as urban studies, architecture, sociology, ethnography, design and the arts. But we also hope to traverse disciplinary boundaries, allowing unexpected connections and collaborations to emerge. In their individual and joint research practices and projects, members of the group are encouraged to share research methods and approaches, especially in relation to experimental and non-standard forms of research.

OBJECTIVES

We aim to open up a creative space to collectively rethink, discuss and experiment with walking practices as research, to explore the overlaps between theory and praxis and between different disciplines. We look for the development of productive and thoughtful walking methodologies that do not necessarily prescribe to a specific outcome but are intended to explore and question their advantages and limitations as research tools.

In addition to its regular discussion meetings, presentations, close readings of texts, and walking activities, the research group intends to share some of its processes and findings in a range of formats that may include a walking symposium co-curated by all participants, articles, sound recordings, guides and installations.

SOCIETY RELEVANCE/CONTRIBUTION

The ‘Walking as Research Practice’ research group wants to experiment and closely rethink and/or develop walking practices as research. It  values non-standard and experimental forms of research and seeks to share outcomes with the arts and academic communities and with a broader public beyond. This group’s work has the potential to open up new types of collaboration between researchers from different fields, to foster exchange between scholars at different stages in their careers, and thereby to contribute to ongoing processes of institutional renewal.

In our search for interdisciplinarity and collaboration we partner with ARIAS and CUS in Amsterdam, invite researchers from the KABK in Den Haag, from Leiden University and Maastricht University, and work closely with international associations of walking studies such as the Walking Lab and the Walking Artists Network

Expected timeline: The sessions will have a bi-monthly regularity.

  • Late September 2021 – presentation and reading discussion session;
  • November 2021 – show and tell session and possible future research collaborations;
  • January 2022 – guest lecture;
  • March 2022 – walking session (practice) with end discussion;
  • May 2022 – second walking session (practice) with end discussion;
  • ES September 2022 - walking symposium.

The exact dates will be announced shortly after the beginning of the school year and the timeline is provisional regarding the current insecurities concerning COVID-19 measures.

If you would like to join the research group network please contact Tânia, t.a.cardoso@uva.nl.

This Research Group Contributes to the follwing constellations: