People walking

Aisha Hannibal, our Living Streets Engagement Manager, tells us about a project exploring the connection between walking, health and the arts.

Aisha Hannibal

As it’s National Walking Month, now seems like a fitting time for an event that celebrates – well, walking.  

The #WalkCreate Gathering took place at the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) on 18 and 19 May – the final event of the research project Walking Publics/Walking Arts: walking, wellbeing and community during Covid-19. 

Now obviously Living Streets champions everyday walking so we’re proud to support Walking Publics/Walking Arts, which explores how creative walking activities can improve our health and wellbeing, mitigate feelings of social isolation and anxiety, enhance our connectivity with each other, and promote cultural empowerment.  

People walking

Going for a walk became the thing to do during the pandemic, partly because there wasn’t much else we could do – but also because we realised how beneficial it can be for our physical and mental health.

Over the past couple of years, researchers have looked at people’s experiences of walking during the COVID-19 restrictions, asking them why they walked and what challenges they faced when doing so.  It soon became clear that the arts have huge potential to sustain, encourage and more equitably support walking during and recovering from a pandemic. 

And the project generated so much interesting stuff that it resulted in a book. The Walkbook is a collection of 30 walking ‘recipes’ from UK artists to inspire us to get outside and walk. This free resource supports creative walking and wellbeing and challenges us to approach walking in different ways, like a poetry walk or walking indoors. 

 

Watch the webinar

Maxwell Ayamba, Henna Asikainen, Jenson Grant, Clare Qualmann and Morag Rose talk about Walking Publics/Walking Arts at Living Streets' National Walking Summit earlier this year.

Young woman walking

 

At the #WalkCreate Gathering the team:  

  • shared research findings on walking and creativity during COVID-19. 
  • hosted a series of ‘walkshops’ and presentations led by artists and Associate Partners. 
  • launched the Project Report on people’s experiences of walking during the pandemic. 
  • launched and demonstrated The Walkbook 

It’s refreshing to see that the project recognises that being active doesn’t only take place on foot – it’s also supported by wheels and other mobility aids. Resources created by the project and shared at the event included ‘walks’ for indoor spaces, the imagination and very short distances.