Riccardo Marini talking walking

Riccardo Marini’s accent belies his Italian upbringing.  When Andrew Stuck met him a dozen years ago, he was Design Lead for the City of Edinburgh and Andrew was a researcher for the Academy of Urbanism. Since then, working first as a director for Jan Gehl Architects and now as founder of Marini Urbanismo, he has worked with cities to make their commercial cores more people-friendly.  They are in London’s West End, in the midst of the mid-morning hubbub on a chilly December day, so Ricardo’s cogent, forceful and passionate argument for putting pedestrians first is even more pertinent.  24’16” 11.4MB

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Stefaan van Biesen talking walking

Andrew Stuck (in cap) and Stefaan van Biesen walk a muddy track in La Romieu.

Walking in silence and stepping lightly on the ground are two rules with which Belgian artist, Stefaan van Biesen frequently asks his companions and participants to comply.  Today’s walk is an exception as Talking Walking‘s producer, Andrew Stuck and Stefaan step away from the activities of Made of Walking in La Romieu in south west France, for which Stefaan is one of the organisers.   Eschewing the car since 1994, and travelling lightly and slowly through Europe, Stefaan styles himself as a ‘flaneur’, observing human movement and interaction.  Walking is what he does, whether it is running daily errands, making artwork, or allowing his mind to relax. 22’44” 10.7MB

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Photo credits: Annemie Mestdagh

Rick Pearson talking walking

Often uncelebrated and rarely visited, the summits of each of the London boroughs can be somewhat of a let down, by the time you reach them.  However, in the company of Rick Pearson, even the climb to the highest point in London, becomes an enjoyable adventure.  Andrew Stuck accompanies him to  Westerham Heights, Bromley’s highest peak. Andrew admits he was somewhat underwhelmed when they conquered it, yet the passion and sheer exuberance of Rick as he recounts his previous conquests, and those to come, will carry you to the top.  Rick, in turn, has accompanied many others on these adventures, and you can listen to their stories on his londons-peaks.com podcast. 23’32” 11.0MB

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Listen to Rick’s recording of our adventure to Westerham Heights.

Sonya Brennan talking walking

Andrew Stuck is intrigued by Nordic Walking, not least as it is rapidly growing in popularity. Some of the questions that come to mind include: what attracts people to go for a walk using poles, what advantage do the poles bring, what health benefits does it accrue, and doesn’t one feel a tad self-conscious?  Andrew joined a Nordic Walking training session in nearby Lewisham with other novices under the tuition of Sonya Brennan.  Andrew asked Sonya to tell her story of how she came to taking up Nordic Walking, and in the interview that you are about to hear, she answers my questions as well as candidly revealing her motivations. 19’54’’ 9.3MB

Recorded in April 2018 on a walk in Manor House Gardens, Manor Park and the surrounding streets in Lewisham.

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ARTIFACTS talking walking

Leena Raudvee and Pam Patterson in conversation with Andrew Stuck

Andrew Stuck is sitting with Pam Patterson and Leena Raudvee in a woodland glade, on a rough track that curves towards a rural road, a couple of miles beyond La Romieu in south west France.  They have just performed a collaborative piece entitled “Listening: On the Architecture of Aging” as their contribution to the Made of Walking gathering of artists in August & September 2017.  The two of them have been working independently as solo artists and their collaboration as ARTIFACTS for more than 30 years.  Both have mobility issues, and Leena is also visually-impaired; they have differing experiences in using a cane to aid walking.  The discussion explores aspects of collaboration, creativity and reflection, as we explore how their collaborative practice has evolved.  The recording begins with Leena speaking. 24’14” 11.4MB

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Tom Hall talking walking

It is hard to find anyone more enthusiastic in revealing the hidden histories of London while walking around its backstreets than Tom Hall. Once you learn he is Editorial Director, and as he says, London office general manager, of Lonely Planet Guides, you realise that maybe everyone there is similarly inclined.  Office moves to new locations are often disruptive, but Tom took it as an opportunity to share his enthusiasm for local history and organised lunch time staff walks through the local streets.  Andrew Stuck joins Tom one lunchtime, not on any particular route, as we wander around trying to find less noisy streets on which to record this interview.  Whether in Istanbul or in Rome, his two favourite destinations for urban walking, Tom likes taking a stroll to explore and uncover the less obvious lived histories of city streets. 23’44” 11.1MB

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Wendy Landman talking walking

Andrew Stuck was attending the Made of Walking gathering of artists at La Romieu in remote south west France, when Andrew was surprised to meet American walking activist Wendy Landman, an executive director of WalkBoston, one of America’s longest running pedestrian advocacy groups. She is here, on an invitation from her college friend and artist Carol Mencke.

WalkBoston walk audit in action in the snow

Wendy discovers that the walking artists at Made of Walking are grappling with many of the issues that Walk Boston has encountered too.  In the blazing sun, they walk along gravel paths, seeking shade, and discuss how walking and pleasurable walkable places are now seen as key elements of quality of life for increasing numbers of Americans.  And how through subtle change in vocabulary, from talking about art to talking about delight  – the delight of walking and of delightful places – hearts and minds of politicians can be won over to the cause of better conditions for those of us who travel on foot.  25’21” 11.9MB

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Richard Smith talking walking

Although quite a few inches shorter than Andrew Stuck, Richard Smith was one of the few people Andrew has interviewed who has walked faster than he does.  Andrew had to stop a couple of times while recording the interview just to catch his breath!  Not only a fast walker, Richard is someone who packs a lot into one life: a gynaecology cancer consultant and surgeon, internationally acclaimed womb-transplant specialist, academic author and father of four.  However, it is his enthusiasm for walking long distances, chanting while walking, and discovering pilgrimage sites that has drawn Andrew to him.

Andrew was introduced to him by one of his neighbours, fellow Scot, Tim Ingram-Smith whom Andrew has also interviewed previously for Talking Walking, and who invited Andrew to the book launch of one of Richard’s books: The Journey: Spirituality, Pilgrimage, Chant.

Garroch Head, Bute: a ‘thin place’ & place of pilgrimage

Richard accompanies Andrew on a short walk along the Regent’s Canal and within the breadth of their conversation, they discuss the value to him of walking, chant and walking in silence, as well as the benefits that walking can bring to women as they grow older, whether cancer sufferers or not. 22’48” 10.7MB

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Bibi Calderaro talking walking

Participant on a sensory walk

On a Skype call, Andrew Stuck talks to Bibi Calderaro, an Argentinian artist and forest therapist, living in Brooklyn, USA, who has recently devised a number of sensory walks on behalf of the US National Park Service in 2015/6. She explains her own practice and how it has evolved, and what are the key elements that she includes in her sensory walks, that tackle the urban maladies of stress and anxiety, and the reaction of participants to them. Such has been the demand for her walks, she has been recommissioned to devise more. Our conversation also explores ‘shinrin-yoku’ the Japanese healing practice of ‘forest bathing’, that as an accredited forest therapist, Bibi has been incorporating in her practice. 23’20” 10.9MB

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Grace Adam talking walking

On an icy December day, walking with a friend in Queen’s Wood in north London, Andrew Stuck came across an intriguing set of pedestrian signs on which were written lines of poetry, lyrics, and instructions. His curiosity got the better of him, and when he got home, he tracked down Grace Adam, who had created the signs.

Returning to the wood in January, when the muddy ground was as slippery underfoot, Andrew interviewed Grace Adam to find out what had been her motivation, in creating the installation called “Out of the Woods…Words to navigate by”. 20’05” 9.5MB

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If you are reading this entry before the Spring Equinox (20 March) 2018 then you will still find Grace’s work in Queen’s Wood.

Nick Hallissey talking walking

Andrew & Nick walk along “The Backs” in Cambridge with King’s College chapel in the background

A warm mid-summer’s day stroll through the Grantchester Meadows beside the river Cam should have been the idyllic setting for an interview by Andrew Stuck of Nick Hallissey, Deputy Editor of Country Walking magazine.

A professional walker and writer who has an encyclopeadic knowledge of walking routes throughout Britain.  For many, his must be the dream job, but as he reveals it is not just endless walks in the beautiful countryside, there’s research and meticulous preparation.  Neither of which Andrew appears to have done for this walk.  In addition, there are office-bound days prepping monthly issues of the magazine. We are also accompanied by a photographer, as Nick is keen to use images from our walk in a future feature. It is an experience Andrew has not encountered before. 11.4MB 24’19”

You can read Nick’s account of our walk in the March 2018 issue of Country Walking magazine. Want to read more of Nick’s adventures?  Country Walking Magazine are offering listeners to this podcast a discounted rate on subscriptions (including a trial package of 3 months for just £5) – just follow this link

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Why don’t you take up the Country Walking Walk 1000 miles challenge in 2018?

 

Photos were expertly taken by Richard Faulks.

Maggie O’Neill talking walking

Maggie O’Neill is a leading academic researcher in criminology and sociology.  Walking is a key element of her ethnographic research into the lives of asylum seekers, the homeless, refugees and sex workers in England’s northern cities.

Maggie walking on Lindisfarne

A recent recipient of a Leverhulme Scholarship, she invited those she had encountered through her research to walk with her, along and across borders of significance in their everyday lives.

Andrew Stuck caught up with Maggie on a brief visit of hers to London. Just as they set our for a walk, the heavens opened, and they sought shelter, so the interview took place in a crowded hotel lobby. 20’05” 9.4MB

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