The Walking Reading Group is a project that facilitates knowledge exchange in an intimate and dynamic way through discussing texts whilst walking together. In this reading group the table is broken up by the street and the dominant voice is replaced with the sound of conversation partners talking simultaneously. Anyone can participate and the walks are free to attend.
Texts, which vary in discipline and formats, are set in advance and form the backbone of the exchange. We depart from a venue and walk in pairs usually for up to two hours, swapping conversation partners and discussion focus several times. Apart from the texts personal experiences, projects related to the area and the route inform the conversations.
This format of cross-discipline reading and discussion emerged from a desire to provide the impetus to read a wider selection of texts and to hear a variety of voices and perspectives on issues that are important to us. The Walking Reading Group facilitates new understandings and perspectives through dialogue and exchange, and we acknowledge conflicting or contradictory positions.
We were inspired by The Reading Groups organised by Dutch collective If I Can’t Dance, and we have adopted two of their rules:
1. You do not need to speak from a fixed position. You are not here as a representative of anything or anyone else.
2. Say anything… This is all about making the u-turns needed to discover common points of reference.
We added one more rule of our own:
3. Walk in pairs to allow for intimate, one-to-one dialogues between the participants.
Since 2013, we have organised three editions of The Walking Reading Group on Participation, which have explored issues surrounding participation, engagement, collaboration and Social Practice whilst walking through London. Each edition consisted of four evening walks over the course of a month. A number of visual arts venues provided ongoing support, a meeting place and a departure point.
For the May 2014 edition, we invited Rebecca Beinart, Kit Caless, Faiza Shaheen and Ken Worpole to set the texts and routes with us, and we explored participation through the lenses of architecture, economics, fiction and ecology.
In March 2015 we organised our first edition of The Walking Reading Group on Play that took place in Bilbao. This edition was possible thanks to a partnership with Histeria Kolektiboa and funding from eremuak.
The Walking Reading Group is a project run by Lydia Ashman, Ania Bas, Simone Mair.
The project website is coming soon. Funded by Arts Council England.
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