THE WALK:

We will meet outside Kings College (5 King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2 1SJ). From there the walk will proceed down Trinity St. past several colleges (e.g., Trinity College Chapel and St.John’s College). The walk will be about 30-40 minutes, as we will be stopping at several points to engage in an activity. There will be several interesting sites along the way and we will be attending to a few of these. We will end as close as we can to the Faculty of Education in order to attend the morning plenary.

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^ Kings Parade, with Kings College along side.
(Photo © Dorset Camera)

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ABSTRACT

In this workshop, we will engage in walking as a methodology for exploring movement and the sensorial as a means to conceptualize both art and research as emergent, intercultural phenomena. Walking as a methodological practice is enjoying renewed attention across disciplines, including the arts and social sciences (see walkinglab.org). Of interest across disciplinary lines are the ways in which walking emphasizes embodied processes, sensory engagement, and chance encounters, foregrounding inquiry as a process of movement and materialization, a constant unfolding of experience. Citing William James (1996), philosopher Erin Manning writes about the “something-doing” of experience unfolding, in which new relational fields as well as new modes of existence are produced (2015, p. 55). These new modes create modes of knowledge that are not yet confined but are instead transversal, an “in-act” of unfolding experience (Manning, 2015, p. 55). Against method, of which Manning views as fixed, preformed, and bifurcating of subject and ecology of research phenomena, she speaks of radical empiricism and its offering of a technique of addressing the ever-shifting relations between knower and known; the knower, in this case, is not necessarily human but rather an occasion of experience—the field of relations that produces the means to define itself. She reorients the concepts of art and thought: art as a way rather than a form or object; thought as incipient to an occasion, still in the act, moving.

Building from Manning’s assertions, I connect the unfolding materialization of experience to the process of becoming intercultural, or the state of in-betweenness. I am suggesting, through a workshop that focuses on walking, that culture is not just something that we are born into and tacitly embody but is also something we improvise, create and envision through the everyday practices in which we engage (e.g., Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner & Cain, 2001; Varenne & McDermott, 1998). I open up the concept of interculturality to the sensorial and the material,examining intercultural practice as a state of in-betweenness remains open and dynamic to reciprocity (Bouchard, 2011) as well as to difference. My hope is that the walking workshop presents ways in which practices like walking are entangled with and by a diverse range of actants such as activities, people, objects, discourse, ephemera, memory, non-discursivity, the senses, and the immediate environment.

Our walk will be an intercultural practice in terms of place-making and engagement with others as we learn from and interact with other’s perspectives as well as the campus of Cambridge University. In order to engage in the process of walking as a form of movement and sensory experience, we will engage in techniques of de-familiarization, of interrogating the habit of walking as an everyday practice and raising awareness of what is encountered in, through, and as walking. We will begin the workshop with some movement exercises to warm up the body and mind and create attention to forms of movement. We will then engage in about a 40-minute walk with prompts that seek to engage walkers/movers in a variety of sensory experiences that will engage participants in bodily, aural, visual, and tactile explorations, documenting these experiences along the way. The workshop will conclude with uploading and creating a web page ( using Facebook’s group page format) which displays and assembles our walk collectively and makes the workshop visible to other conference attendees. Participants will reflect on the experience and discuss methodological insights and possibilities for walking research as a sensorial, intercultural, and emergent practice.

Participants will need to be able to move comfortably (e.g., without injury), either on foot or by wheelchair, and will need to bring a smart phone with them to document the experience.

Visit our Facebook group to post pictures and see where the walk took us!

 

 

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