Still Walking 5: July/August lovely things at Still Walking 5, nine walks over two weekends from 25 July to 3 August:

  • 25 July: Still loitering – what is loitering? “As long as the public can maintain conscientious behaviour, then they can have access to public access spaces. Various signs across Birmingham warn against loitering, which is apparently spending 15 minutes to two hours in a public space without intention.”
  • 25 July: Boscage Run #19 – an 8km run at sundown; never fear, the run “explores the experience of moving through a space in a cinematographic context”
  • 26 July: Sights in motion – “pedal powered invisible cinema”; visit 17 former cinemas which have been “re-made, remodelled, regenerated or ruined”: see essay with some well chosen Debord quotes and Flickr album
  • 26 July: Deeper roots – Why do we have trees in cities?; insert heart icons here…a tree walk which “addresses our deeper understanding of the trees we encounter daily in our gardens, parkland, suburban streets and city centre”
  • 27 July: Shooting traces of ikonic places – part of the Ikon Traces season, a series of walks celebrating 50 years of the Ikon Gallery
  • 27 July: Video strolls – a selection of walking themed short films at The Magic Cinema; “we’ll show any film as long as it’s under 15 minutes …we encourage the submission of films that are in some way exploratory, ‘meanderthal’ or somehow walking related”; list of films shown – see Video Strolls for lots more
  • 1 August: Wayfinding – Does anyone look at signs? Colette Jeffrey is researching why some people find their way easily and others get lost. She has designed over 50 wayfinding systems, for cities (inc Leeds and Brighton) and for museums, libraries and hospitals. Time to dig out that draft about signage in CPH again…
  • 2 August: Waylosing – a guide to getting lost from Tour of tours‘ Bill Aitchison; see Way losing in Beijing and Bill’s tour report (update: What is way-losing?)
  • 3 August: Dave Travis at Ikon Traces, sharing locations, memories and anecdotes from the alternative music scene of the 1980s in Birmingham during a 70 minute walking tour

Note these walks cost £5 max and frequently sell out well in advance.

See Are you a still walker for the September 2013 extravaganza, and Still Walking 4 for March 2014. Lots of ideas for Jane’s Walk CPH and friends. Next up, B_Tour Berlin.

Still Walking 4: March 2014

Quick look at Still Walking 4, a week long programme of new walks around Birmingham, one walk a day:

  • 14 March: Budds in Brum – a tour of artworks made by Budds Mosaics, led by Oliver Budd
  • 15 March: Walking the middle way – walk one stage of a circular journey around the A4540, Birmingham’s Middle Ring Road, with Glen Stoker
  • 16 March: Mystery boulder walk – Roland Kedge has located mystery boulders, granite glacial deposits that made their way to Birmingham from Wales during the last Ice Age
  • 17 March: On the beaten path – a recognised method of identifying walking routes is to observe ‘desire lines’ created when pedestrians or cyclists follow the shortest or most desirable route between two points; led by Alan Bain
  • 18 March: This is freedom – interdisciplinary theatre piece by Amerah Saleh, aimed at  breaking down our understanding of human rights, the way we perceive them and our responsibility to act on them
  • 19 March: Free seeing | What even is free seeing? – audience led art that allows participants to find beauty, mood and pattern in the most unexpected and often ordinary of places – found places; by Francis Lowe
  • 20 March: Cornered! – the social life of corners, with Roxie Collins; who designs a city’s corners? how do they come to be? does no one ever question their purpose, or consider how they might be occupied by people and objects over time?

Despite having lived in Coventry for several years I never walked the ring road and the Midlands didn’t attract (inevitably there’s an ebook and book coming out, with accompanying blog and Twitter), but it’s striking how much walking activity there is in the area. Straight after Still Walking the Flatpack Film Festival (20-30 March) hosted a number of walks & talks, including Still Walker Ben Waddington on Birmingham-on-sea, Birmingham on tap on the local water supply and  a SOUNDwalk on the Grand Union Canal.

Also featured was Tim Knowles’ Talk the walk, on his exploratory walks utilising systems, rules and mechanisms to remove control from the walker – see his website for the results. Tim’s latest exhibition, Paths of variable resistance, was shown alongside The Walking Encylopedia in Stoke…

See Are you a Still Walker? for the September 2013 festival, aka SW3. SW5 is due in July. What is particularly interesting is the mix of walks, and how the SW umbrella supports practitioners across the cultural spectrum. Something similar was on show at the other second city’s Histories Festival.

Still walking: are you a Still Walker?

Still Walking celebrates all that walking is and might be. Are you a Still Walker?

Still Walking is an annual walking festival in Birmingham, aka the city of walking, run by artist / historian / typophile / tour guide Ben Waddington. This year it took place from 13-22 September, but a closer look shows there’s rather more to it:

The standard guided tour is usually a round up of the top 5 buildings, biographies of the civic dignitaries of yesteryear, then a visit the commercialised canal areas in time for lunch. There’s also the ghost tour…the Still Walking outlook is that there are plenty of other subjects suitable for guided tours, and they mentor people to create them. 

The 2013 festival consisted of ten guided walks over ten days, plus various investigations, blogging, promoting other people’s walking events and generally wandering. A mixed programme with arty, town planning, heritage and performance oriented works, aimed at bringing different audiences together. See About us for lots more inspiration! Plus @stillwalkers and #stillwalkers, and the Flickr group.

The walks:

On the fringe:

More walks on Still Walking on Eventbrite:

Ben’s advice: gear up for the festival by going for a short walk to visit the nearest street to your home that you haven’t been to before.

Funded by Kickstarter.

Could something like this work in Copenhagen? Counter that cycling dominance! Like Ben,

I’d love to see Birmingham have a huge calendar of walking events that covered the whole range of experiences that walking can be about: people walk for exercise, as a social experience, as a means to explore or learn new information, for mental well-being, for performance or artistic reasons and of course as a means of transport.

The Metropolis Festival covered the arty side, DAC does architecture while the literary and history side is sewn up and presented via various companies and the adult education forening movement, but what about Copenhagen as place, and what could bring it all together? They are certainly usually well up for a festival…first step has to be to get ducks in rows. Walk Colchester and even Thundersley on foot (via Ramblings; review) offer other models.

Updates: new posts on the Lost rivers of Birmingham and on sensory walks (taking proper photos, sounds); plus Pete Ashton’s thoughts. Also a review and article by Bill ‘Tour of tours’ Aitchison.