The Turnpike, UK
2020 - Ongoing
Drift is part of ACTIVATIONS, a testing ground at The Turnpike that explores the ways that art can make long-lasting positive change.
I was awarded a research and development grant in early 2020 to research the possibilities of walking as an artistic practice. I initiated an investigative project with six members of the public.
Drawing upon principles of placemaking and psychogeogaphy, we tested the collaborative and creative walking methods through a series of conversations and workshops.
Emergent ideas included walking to maintain wellbeing, communities formed through walking (such as dog walking), sharing memories and heritage (as a navigating tool, emotional attachment, nostalgia and hope) and new ways of looking (what do we learn through the perspectives of others?).
Between October 2020 - March 2021 the project continued online, with a monthly study group - we inspired and motivated each other by sharing things to read, watch and listen to, as well as nourishing conversation and mutual support during the second and third UK lockdowns. During this time we have incubated our ideas until in-person meetings could begin in Spring 2021.
Between May 2021 - July 2021 I hosted over 30 walks with over 80 members of the public, recruited through open calls, face-to-face flyering and word of mouth. Together we created three walks (with ideas generated for many more) which focused on -
Creative Walking : (Turnpike to Pennington Flash Loop) bringing fresh perspectives and a sensory approach to walking.
Socially Engaged Exploration : (Turnpike to Bridgewater Canal Loop) to discuss current social issues afftecting Leigh, such as safety in public spaces, threat to green spaces and gentrification.
Post-industrial Futures : (Turnpike to Bickershaw Loop) linking the mining heritage to current re-wilding efforts being made by volunteers looking after Bickershaw Country Park. And discussing unions, community and social action.
These walks were supported by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and presented publicly during the Wigan Arts Festival in August 2021.
We now have an active creative walking group with over 20 regular members. If you are interested in taking part, please get in touch.
Over the next few months we will be taking some reflection and planning to consider the next stages of the project. I’ll post news here!
References & Reading:
Wanderlust. A History of Walking:
Practice of Place:
Social Class in the 21st Century:
The Situationist City:
Resilience is Futile:
Mapping The Terrain, New Genre Public Art : Edited by Susan Lacy
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Vital Little Plans: The short works of Jane Jacobs: Jane Jacobs
The Politics of the NUM (A Lancashire View): David Howell