As the first in a series of blogposts introducing the panels at our September symposium Talking Place, Anna Chilvers thinks about what walking means to her.
When you have a dog and no garden, the first thing you have to do every morning is take the dog out. It doesn’t matter about the weather or how you feel, or how cosy the duvet seems on a Sunday morning. Often the early morning walk is a joy – clean and fresh, the colours sparkling; but sometimes you dash out, head down, willing the dog to get on with it as quickly as possible. In 2010, my morning walk was in the woods at the end of our road, and I decided to take a photo in the same spot every day all year. I didn’t manage every single day, but most. Sometimes in winter it was too dark, and my photo is grainy, or even just black, but I took it anyway. I had ideas that I might make some sort of slide show of the changes through the year, but I never got round to it, and the photos languish on my laptop, a reminder of those woods and that part of my life. This one is from April 2010.
Women Walking, the first panel session of our in-person symposium on Friday 9th, reminded me of that unfinished project of mine. Walking doesn’t have to be about long treks, pilgrimages, feats of endurance. A walk doesn’t even have to feel like an event: it can be part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Recent events have shown many of us how important it is to us to walk our local pathways. The three women on this panel will invite us to look at the way we walk, how that is tied up with our emotions, our memories, and how it can be a way of adapting to uncertainty. Julia Bennet shares her Lockdown Scrapbook, a story told in photographs from a time when daily walks became a precious way of interacting with place. Mary Pearson also uses photographs to explore the changing seasons within a locality, weaving in personal stories and reflections to show our interconnectedness. Lastly, psychogeographer Sonia Overall invites us to go on our own creative walks, invoking playfulness and awareness.
Follow this link to explore the whole symposium programme and book your place!