Helen Ottaway is a musician and composer, and Frome resident for 22 years, who has been invited to curate LISTEN: A Season of Sound Art taking place in Frome from the 20 July until Sound Walk Sunday on the 1 September, 2019. In this episode, interviewed midway through the LISTEN, Helen explains how it came to fruition, its breadth of events taking place, and how she particularly wanted to include a listening walk and a geo-located sound walk. Helen herself, has been involved in creating sound art outdoors and is keen to include more walking in her future work. 21’24” 10MB
Listen: A Season of Sound Art runs until Sunday 1 September – check the programme of events here
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In this extended episode, published to coincide with the Festival celebrating London becoming a National Park City, Andrew Stuck talks to Dan Raven-Ellison, the campaigner behind the initiative. Dan is far more than just a ‘one trick pony’ having spent a lifetime seeking ways of getting people, young and old outdoors into nature. He has also been exploring new ways of making it easier for people to understand the scale of increasing urbanisation and its impact on the natural world of which we are all part. A self-styled, ‘guerrilla geographer’, the conversation begins with Dan explaining what that means. 34’41” 16.3MB
Recorded in April 2019 in Walpole Park, Ealing in West London on a windy day in which the recording had to be stopped as planes passed overhead.
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Within striking distance of Hebden Bridge, as dusk falls, accompanied by his dog Freda, radio producer, presenter and writer, Horatio Clare takes Andrew Stuck on a ‘slow walk’ close to his home in an area known as Hard Castle Crags. The sky above us fills with insects and the birds and bats that feed on them. Always alert to the nature that surrounds him, they don’t walk far before they stop, so Horatio can point out some creature Andrew had not as yet spotted and can’t identify. In a candid conversation, Horatio shares his enthusiasms for slow walking and how it makes compelling radio listening, as well as talking about his writing about nature and travel, and how walking through the landscape are critical to his work. 25’45” 12.1MB
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Peter Jaeger is Professor of Poetics at Roehampton University. For over 30 years he has been making pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world, keeping journals of his discoveries and walks. Using these as source texts and drawing on literature and walking narratives, he has composed Midamble a long form poem of book length, in which he has held to specific structural constraints for more than 400 pages. He compares writing long form poetry to walking long distances and during the discussion reveals how he structures the work in a rhythmical durational performance. 23’08” 10.8MB
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Swiss artist Simone Etter’s ‘Walk Book’ is full of techniques to disorientate you, not necessarily to get you lost, but to muddle your thoughts, even on a familiar route. Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, and Simone set out on a walk together towards a campsite beyond La Romieu in south west France, where they have been attending Made of Walking. They know where they are aiming for but don’t know the way to get there, and once they are there, they are not sure as to how to return via a different route. Along the way, Andrew is convinced that Simone is applying her techniques, as he becomes increasingly more disorientated as to the route – his only hope is that you as a listener can follow it too. 16’38” 7.8MB
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Simone Etter’s WALKBOOK is currently only available in German at the University of Art and Design Basel.
Walking along London’s Regent’s canal in Hackney with George Fort who has been developing a digital platform called “Placecloud”. Placecloud is all about animating the places through which we walk with place-specific recordings (‘placecasts’) written by writers, artists, scholars and everyday people. George maintains it is not a collection of audio tours, recorded in a studio by a dislocated actor, but instead numerous placecasts dotted across London, recorded by people like you and me in the very places we are observing and describing. He spells out an intriguing and persuasive argument for why there’s an appetite for Placecloud and why he is convinced that it is going to be popular among us walkers. 19′ 24” 9.1MB
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On Placecloud, leading cultural researchers tell the stories of the world through “viewpoints” – short podcasts about places. Viewpoints reveal the significance of the everyday places that surround us, bringing the world to life.
With an initial focus on London, Placecloud will soon feature viewpoints across the world, from Melbourne to Caracas to Tehran.
Lesley Cartwright – “Love tokens & Bad pennies” 2019
Alban Low is the curator of an unusual art exhibition involving more than a dozen artists and as many writers, called “Love Tokens and Bad Pennies“, which you can explore by walking the streets of London in February 2019. He tells Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, he is like an absent party host, arranging experiences and artistic interventions in public space for everyone to enjoy, while himself, keeping to the shadows. A publisher of chap books, illustrator and cartographer, he has a lot of projects on the go, for which walking and walks are integral. 15’39” 7.3MB
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Discover some art on the streets of London – seek out work by more than a dozen artists and writers in “Love tokens & Bad pennies” curated by Alban Low – happening all through February 2019.
At the time of the publication of “Walking to Japan”, Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, was lucky enough to catch up with Canadian Carolyn Affleck Youngs in London; she had co-authored the book with her now deceased husband, Derek Youngs. Carolyn took a walking holiday on the Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain, where she met and eventually fell in love with Derek Youngs, himself a long time pilgrim, who walked for peace. Carolyn has quite a story of long walking of her own, but we also discuss the power of pilgrimage and she and Derek walking together, and how simply putting one step in front of the other, can have profound meaning to an individual as to society as a whole. Behind us is bustling Bermondsey and Bankside. We had to stop several times as the ambient noise of traffic and construction became too intrusive. 18’25” 8.7MB
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 forJan 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
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
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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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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