Course Leaders: Dr Kate Moles and Dr Robin Smith, WISERD at Cardiff

Walking and mobile methods are increasingly adopted by researchers wishing to engage with ideas of place and identity. As part of this walking method, the participant might take the researcher on a guided walk, show them around their ‘patch’, or accompany them on a bumble around. The landscape becomes an active participant in the conversation, and the rhythm of the walk offers engagements and disengagements, a mass of encounters, diversions and disruptions.  The motion, commotion and distractions are productive in the sharing of intimate narratives, as conversations meander at the pace of the walk, leading to unhurried sharing of narratives. These research encounters are ‘rooted’ in the everyday, yet the walks open up avenues for the exploration of memories and imagined futures. Walking methods allow the space for narratives to be shared to be opened up, closed down, diverted and revisited.

By looking at the different types of walks that can be part of research, for example, as method with guided walks, go-alongs, bimbling and as practice, with looking at how walking actively constructs the way we come to ‘know’ places – we could begin to think about the potential that research going mobile has. There are theoretical, methodological and practical issues to be considered with walking, and a walking workshop could usefully engage with these topics to produce a coherent and informative day based on walking.