Studio 15: London Walking

Studio brief

Walking as a mode of art practice has its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early twentieth century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s. High profile art practitioners known for their use of walking, such as Hamish Fulton, Janet Cardiff and Francis Alÿs have continued to establish the act of walking as art practice into the twenty-first century. Over the last ten to fifteen years a much more extensive, rich and interesting field has emerged crossing disciplinary boundaries in the arts, with artists, architects, filmmakers and writers employing walking as a means of creatively appropriating the city. Architects have been particularly active in this development, with writers such as Jane Jacobs and Jane Rendell, and practitioners such as the Stalker group in Rome, transforming the way that public space, the built environment, and everyday interactions can be understood, shaped and framed by walking.

The studio will look at these phenomena with particular attention on our own city, London. The studio will use extended walks through London as well as texts, films and artworks which are structured in the form of guided walks, take inspiration from walks, or are developed on foot.  We will place particular focus on the role that walking might play in the formulation of an artistic practice or design methodology.

You will ultimately be asked to lead a walk of your own devising – a journey structured around a particular theme.  Its documentation in words and images will form the basis of your dissertation. The studio aims to encourage ways of looking at the city ranging from the architectural to the literary, the economic to the biographical and to explore ways in which those different kinds of observation might inform each other.  By inviting you to construct the narrative of your dissertation with attention to the needs of an audience, we also hope to encourage your development as writers.

Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities

  • Join the Walking Artists Network. The network has an active jisc-mail list which members use to share details of walks, and walking work. Join the list to start getting an idea of the range and breadth of creative walking practice happening right now. 
  • Watch an extract from Astra Taylor’s film Examined Life in which philosopher Judith Butler and activist Sunaura Taylor walk together 
  • Read Morag Rose’s ‘Buzzing, Bimbling, Beating our Bounds’ in LivingMaps Review, Issue 3 (2017) 
  • Listen to a podcast from Walking Women, a 2016 programme of events at Somerset House and Edinburgh Festival fore-fronting the work of women walking artists 
  • Walk an instruction from the book Qualmann and Hind, Ways to Wander (Triacrhy Press, 2015) 
  • Listen to artist Lottie Child discussing her ‘Street Training’ project 
  • Read Francis Alÿs, Seven Walks London (London, Artangel, 2005) 
  • Watch artist Michaelangelo Pistoletto take a sculpture for a walk
  • Read Guy Débord’s theory of the derive
Red signposts for routes on a wall


Tutor Clare Qualmann

Dissertation Studios


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