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The Walking Library for Forest Walks

event
posted on 01.07.2021, 00:00 authored by Misha MyersMisha Myers, Deirdre Heddon
The Walking Library for Forest Walks

History

Event

Timber: The International Forest Festival (2021, Feanedock, England)

Publisher

The National Forest Timber: The International Forest Festival

Place of publication

Feanedock, Eng.

Start date

02/07/2021

End date

04/07/2021

Language

eng

Notes

'The Walking Library for Forest Walks’ is a socially engaged, relational performance and walking art project that explores how walking and reading in situ may connect people to forests and promote the re-storying of landscapes towards more sustainable futures. It was commissioned by The National Forest (NT) for the Walking Festival and Timber: The International Forest Festival, Feanedock, UK, but due to pandemic restrictions was presented as an artist takeover of The National Forest's social media channels in May 2020 and at the Timber Festival in 2021. The work is part of an ongoing series of editions first conceived and initiated in 2012 to co-create knowledge about local environments through sharing walks and readings with the public from collections of books, each aesthetically composed and curated for a specific context in partnership with local commissioning organisations in global contexts.

Research statement

‘The Walking Library’ is an ongoing socially engaged, relational performance and walking art project, conceived and created by Misha Myers and Deirdre Heddon, that co-creates knowledge about local environments through sharing walks and readings with the public from collections of books, each aesthetically composed and curated for a specific context in partnership with local commissioning organisations in global contexts. In 2020, ‘The Walking Library for Forest Walks’ was commissioned by The National Forest (NT) for the Walking Festival and Timber: The International Forest Festival, Feanedock, UK, but due to pandemic restrictions, was presented at Timber 2021 instead. NT is restoring woodland landscapes and cultures in the post-industrial landscape of the UK Midlands. For this context, the project inquired how walking and reading in situ may connect people to forests and promote the re-storying of landscapes towards more sustainable futures. This question became an invitation for suggestions of books from the public, with a library selected and gathered from 100 received. The story of why they were suggested was included on a book card inserted in each book. With the pandemic restrictions, the project shifted focus to consider how to encourage and sustain connection with the natural world while people were isolated indoors. To this aim, the project produced a series of video readings with photographs of the NT’s woodlands by photographer Hazel McDowell, which were published on NT’s social media channels (15-22 May 2020) as a week-long artist takeover, a format that emerged to sustain live performance in the UK during the pandemic. The takeover promoted the organisation’s Outdoor Learning programme and was taken up by the NT’s youth program Youth Landscapers to create their own set of video readings. An article on the project was included in The Ecologist (3 July 2020) and the project was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Ramblings (18 September 2021).

Publication classification

JC2 Curated Exhibition or Event – Exhibition/Event

Scale

NTRO Medium

Extent

2 x PDF of performance PR; 7 x MP4 video files; 1 x colour photograph of installation; 1 x MP3 file