Claudia Zieske talking walking

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Getting artists out and about in rural north east Scotland has been the aim of Claudia Zeiske,  founding director of The Walking Institute and of community arts organisation Deveron Arts.

A keen walker herself, she uses walking not only as a creative practice but also as therapy.  Having been invited to compete in a marathon as a runner, she found the experience far from inspiring, and set about creating a ‘Slow Marathon’ in the rural countryside that surrounds Huntly in Aberdeenshire.  Each year a different artist is invited to devise a new marathon route where people are invited to walk as slow as they like.

Andrew Stuck caught up with Claudia between her busy schedule of meetings in London.  We walked a circular route around the Whitechapel Gallery, trying to find quiet streets in which to record our conversation – a staggeringly difficult challenge in an area beset with development including a new Crossrail station, as far from the tranquillity of north east Scotland as one can be. 17’30” 8.2MB

Download notes from this interview with: Claudia_Zeiske

Photo credit: Christine Sell

Dieter Schwab talking walking

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Austria is the first country in Europe, if not in the world, to have a National masterplan strategy toMasterplan-grab promote walking.  This has come about in a remarkably short time.  It is a little over 8 years since Vienna resident Dieter Schwab formed the Austrian Pedestrian Organisation, to rally supporters in every echelon of government, to plan how they could put the pedestrian first in their strategic plans and policies.

Speaking to Andrew Stuck during the 2015 Walk21 conference, from the Rathuas in Vienna, Dieter begins the interview by explaining just how rewarding living in an inner city walkable neighbourhood can be.  10.1MB 21’48”

Download notes from the interview with: DieterSchwab

Listen to Dieter’s 5 year walking forecast made in December 2013.

Tim Pharoah talking walking

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What do we mean by walkability? What makes a neighbourhood walkable and why does it matter?  These are questions put to Tim Pharoah, a transport researcher who has been championing mobility on foot for more than 40 years.  Recorded on a walk through the streets between Waterloo and London Bridge railway stations, part of London where Tim once lived.

Bankside, The Cut and Waterloo Quarter, as this part of London in 2015 is now known, is a hive of construction and a tourist attraction to boot.  Few places offer quiet with Red Cross Gardens as a welcome exception.  The recording opens with Tim telling us about his chief concern of traffic speed and how to calm it. 28’53” 13.5MB

Notes from the podcast interview with Tim_Pharoah

Idit Elia Nathan talking walking

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Idit Elia Nathan was brought up in Israel in the 1960s, her memories of playing in the streets of Jerusalem either side of the Six Day War have frequently influenced her thinking and actions, on how she, her children and all of us can and might ‘play the city’.  Recently she has exhibited and presented work in galleries based on documenting her seven walks through Jerusalem and anIditNathanIMG_3868 adaptation of a Monopoly game that she calls Hegemonopoly (in which you can win power to control the movement of others).  Believing that playfully limiting a walk often generates creativity and unexpected encounters, she has worked with fellow artist Helen Stratford as “Play the City now or Never” to develop an app which will disrupt people’s movements through the city to reclaim some of its spaces through play.  Concurrently, she is completing a PhD titled Art of Play in Zones of Conflict focusing on the case of Israel Palestine.

Andrew Stuck joins her on a walk around Hampstead in London not far from where Idit’s father lived during the Second World War. The route they follow was determined a by a throw of a dice. 10.5MB 22’20”

Download notes from this interview:Idit_Elia_Nathan

STOP PRESS

Meet Idit Nathan in person:

Please join us Play the City Now or Never (aka Helen Stratford and Idit Nathan) for lightbulb walks at the National Theatre in London this Saturday 18th February 2017 1pm and 5pm (45 mins), £3 – see details and book here or at https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/lightbulb-walks

Meet in Dorfman Foyer,

  • Walk and talk in and around the National Theatre with artists Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford to play the cultural spaces in and around the building with the help of props, cards and dice.
    Wrap up warm and be ready for a short walk with stops along the way.

Bradley Garrett talking walking

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Bradley Garrett describes himself as a ‘professional trespasser’ who has been exploring many hidden places and spaces ‘where we are not supposed to be’: climbing The Shard while it was under construction, breaking into the Maze prison and  abandoned underground bunkers and tube stations. When he agreed to an interview, Andrew Stuck wondered whether he would be blindfolded, bundled in a car and taken to a remote destination.

Maze prison

Maze prison

It wasn’t quite like that, although they did travel by car to the outer edges of Southampton, and then walked amongst motorways to reach a country route that took them to the River Test, in full flood.

Whether you judge Brad as a hero or a villain, there’s no

Aldwych Disused Tube Station,

Aldwych Disused Tube Station,

 

way of escaping his infectious enthusiasm for going into places that you might think twice about visiting. 23’14” 10.9MB

Download notes from this interview: Bradley_Garrett

 

Like what you heard and want to read more, then check out Brad Garret’s book                      Explore Everythinghttp://www.versobooks.com/authors/1820-bradley-l-garrett

David Watson talking walking

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David Watson is an Australian photomedia artist and writer intrigued by ‘progress’. In 2012 he completed Wild Ryde, a doctorate fuelled by the ‘findings’ of a slow, six-year walking and swimming pilgrimage across suburban Sydney:  He currently works with a collective of environmentally-concerned contemporary artists opposing new coal mining and CSG fracking in New South Wales.  He has always considered himself a street artist. First in London in the 80s when he lived in a housing cooperative in New Cross, and then in Bethnel Green. On weekends he would comb the London A-Z by bicycle with his trusty Olympus OM-1, seeking out forgotten corners, layered textures and colonial echoes.

Latterly he has been walking the streets through the suburbs of Sydney to capture memories.  DCIM100GOPROIn 2005 he determined to walk west from his home in urban Rozelle following the spine of Victoria Road, a major artery, out of the city. Over two years and 19 walks his path led inexorably to his childhood home in suburban Dundas, where his elderly, now-ailing parents had lived for 60 years, looking out to the Blue Mountains. Although less than ten miles as the crow flies, David’s serendipitous, looping route covered perhaps 100 miles of concrete, bitumen and harbour-shore. When he reached his destination, he chose to swim back, along the Parramatta river to Sydney.

This interview was recorded on a blustery day in October 2014 while on a walk through Greenwich Park, London.

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with David_Watson

Lisa Pook talking walking

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Lisa Pook is a fun-loving outdoorsy woman, just an ordinary person (so she says), but she has chosen an adventure that one can’t help thinking is a bit bonkers – not least because it is hard to grasp where she is planning to go, or how she will know when she actually gets there.  Add to theIMG_3564-2 mix, freezing cold temperatures and hurricane force winds, no wonder she is happy to be picked up to fly the return leg home, makes you wonder what makes her want to set out in the first place.

Since we recorded this interview, Lisa’s planned adventure, the Ice Warrior Challenge to the ‘Northern pole of inaccessibility‘ has had to be postponed, so she will now set out early in 2016. 22’34” 10.6MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Lisa_Pook

STOP PRESS: Can you help Lisa reach the Pole?  Donate here

Bill Aitchison talking walking

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Have you ever been tempted to take a guided walking tour?  Visiting a new city, it is often a thing to do.  Some walking guides are accredited by their local tourist bureau, but it is rather hit or miss whether what you end up going on is of any quality.  DSC_0309Performing artist Bill Aitchison, while on a residency in Dubrovnik, started studying the myriad of guided walking tours offered to the throngs of tourists attracted to its historic centre.  His interest has turned in to a performance he calls the “Tour of all tours” in which he reviews guided walking tours offered by others.  Unusual? Yes but popular too.  Our interview takes place just an hour before he begins his artistic performance, and is recorded on a walk along the busy streets in Shoreditch. 25′.51″ 12.1MB

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Julia Killingback talking walking

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Have you ever thought that you would like to write a guide book of walks to your local area – imagining seeing your book piled high in bookshops and bumping into people reading from your guide as they walk your local streets?

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Julia Killingback didn’t just leave it to her imagination, she put her heart and soul, and considerable experience as an author, illustrator and product designer  into just such a dream.  Four Explore Walks Guides to Bristol and Clifton are the result.  However, the route she had to follow to reach this end was far from straight or smooth. 24′ 22″ 11.4MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Julia Killingback

Other title in the Explore Walks series – order copies of Explore Walks from here

CLIFTONWOOD COVER HOTWELLS COVER VICT CLIFTON COVER

 

Charlotte Spencer Projects talking walking

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Walking Stories is described as an audio walk, but it is much more than just a walk in which one wears headphones, in all it includes performance, observation, thoughtfulness, play and interaction with fellow participants and the surroundings in which you find yourself in.  Andrew Stuck caught up with Charlotte Spencer and two of the multi-disciplinary artists involved in devising and producing this extraordinary piece of immersive performance.  Walking Stories.5We met in Greenwich Park days before they put on Walking Stories, and before Andrew was able to sign up to take part himself.  The ambient noise of aircraft, helicopters, parakeets and children playing is intrusive in parts of the interview, however, it strangely echoes the way in which these artists have interwoven a soundscape of current and prerecorded sounds within Walking Stories itself. Part scripted with directional instructions, the genius of Walking Stories is the way in which it allows participants to follow their own course whilst all listening to the same soundtrack. 29’45” 13.9MB

Download items mentioned in the interview with Charlotte_Spencer_Projects

Walking Stories will be back in 2015 touring a range of different
parks in London. Keep up to date with news of dates and locations
through the website: www.charlottespencerprojects.org

Photo credits: Pari Naderi

Jennie Savage talking walking

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Going to interview someone who is intent on getting lost is likely to be an adventure, and so it was when Andrew Stuck went to meet Jennie Savage in the New Forest.  Jennie creates ambient soundscape audio walks punctuated with instructions on various routes to follow.

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Photo credit: T. Hall 2014

On the 3rd of October 2014, Jennie invited people from all over the world to ” Fracture Mob“, to listen to such an audio walk and “Get lost”. 23’38” 11.1MB

The experience of taking this walk was unexpected. Meditative and surprising. There were moments when the sound track and what I was seeing seemed to make sense. It was at once disorientating and re-orientating.

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Jennie_Savage

Nick Hunt talking walking

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Have you been inspired by a piece of travel writing to try a similar endeavour of your own, but found circumstance or lack of courage has knocked you off your stride?  Not so Nick Hunt, who as a teenager, read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of a walk across Europe.  bavaria_2Nick has followed in Fermor’s footsteps, walking from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul, recounting his seven month journey in a book entitled ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’.  What pace do you set yourself? How do you keep yourself going? Who do you have as your companions? What do you learn about yourself and about walking? As I try to keep up with Nick on a walk along the popular canal towpath from Broadway Market to Islington, I ask him these questions and more. 29’27″14.5MB

Download notes from the interview with Nick_Hunt

 

walking the woods and the water_2Buy: Nick Hunt’s Walking the woods and the water published in trade paperback by Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Photo credits: Nick Hunt