– Complex social settings
– International and national work
– Easily ignored groups
One of my areas of expertise is running qualitative ethnography workshops, both in the UK and internationally, that are based around the activity of walking. Local knowledge is central to these ‘walkshops’, which build data, as well as establishing relationships and outreach. All workshops focus on a particular area, and draw attention to its unique character and physical features. A new group of walking researchers coined the term ‘walkshops’ and they have helped me form new ideas around this way of working.
As part of a group invited to explore research methodologies concerned with walking, I’m seeking to co-develop an innovative visual method – Walking Maps – that I’ve already trialled with various stakeholders, including in the project Ruritage. In my workshops, walking is used as a tool to assess how people interact with their environment, as a way of creating a narrative, and also to promote reflection. Participants are invited to walk around a chosen area, collecting materials and objects that resonate with them, while facilitators ask open questions and record participants’ responses. At the end of the walk, the group creates an outdoor display featuring an outline of the route taken, the objects collected, and a record of responses.
A Movement Heritage Project: Wells, Shells, Saints and Saunterings
Following a project to restore a Neolithic quoit in Cornwall, we were keen to extend our local knowledge by exploring nearby Fenton-la, a ruined early medieval chapel. Aided by oral history exchange, we organised participatory walks – chosen jointly after democratic discussion – with the aim of reclaiming lost trails and forgotten connections to these two sites. Through the process of mapmaking and re-walking the land, we began to discover, for example, why restoring them would be important for local heritage. The project team has also adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to help gain funding.
You can read about the project here: Martin J, Serrano J, Nowakowski J, Williamson, D. (2022) ‘Heritage Trails: to Sustainable Development Goals’, Pathways: Exploring the Routes of a Movement Heritage, Cambridgeshire: The White Horse Press. Available online