LocationSomerset House; Drill Hall; University of Bristol; CCA: Centre for Contemporary Art; School of Lost Arts; Newcastle North East Library
Place of publicationLondon, UK; Edinburgh, UK; Bristol, UK; Glasgow, UK; Newcastle, UK; Geelong, AUS
Notes‘The Walking Library for Women Walking’ is series of participatory performances and installations that invites audiences to donate, walk with and read aloud together books made by or about women who walk to explore how gendered space of the street and domain of art practice is a political matter, unevenly distributed and occupied.
Research statementWhile walking art has been widely acknowledged as a contemporary form of arts practice, walking artworks created by women have mostly gone unacknowledged (Heddon and Turner 2012). ‘The Walking Library for Women Walking’ aimed to redress this neglect through a series of performances and installations that invited audiences to donate, walk with and read aloud together books made by or about women who walk. The project challenges the persistence of masculinist norms of walking and explores how gendered spaces of the street and domains of artistic practice are a political matter, unevenly distributed and occupied. The series of participatory and site-specific performances and installations, each conceived and tailored for the placed and context of its performance, was initially created by Heddon and Myers as a headline event for Walking Women produced by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Walking Artist Network at Somerset House, London, a first of its kind arts programme that placed women at the centre of discussions and debates about walking and art (2016). Subsequent iterations of the project were created for Forest Fringe, Edinburgh and Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference, Bristol, UK in 2016 and for Women Artists of the North East Library, Newcastle, UK, and ‘Moving Out of Doors’, Geelong, Australia in 2017. The collection of 175 donated books gathered through the project was exhibited in ‘The House that Heals the Soul’ exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, 2017, attracting 4850 visitors, and became a permanent artwork and collection within the holdings of Glasgow Women’s Library in 2018. The project was reivewed in the Scottish Writer’s Centre blog (20 September 2017), cited in BBC R4 programme The Art of Now: Women Who Walk (8 Oct 2018) featuring the work of prominent examples of women walking artists, and featured in Resonance FM’s Er Outdoors: Women in the Open - Stories of Walking (11 July 2016).
Publication classificationJ1 Major original creative work
Extent8 colour digital collage photographs documenting 6 performances and participant responses; 1 pdf file of library catalogue; 4 pdf files of event websites and blog responses; 2 pdf of online archive of radio broadcasts; 1 project blog
EventWalking Women (2016: London, UK); Forest Fringe (2016: Edinburgh, UK); Theatre and Performance Research Association Conversation (2016: Bristol, UK); ‘The House that Heals the Soul' (2017: Glasgow, UK); ‘Moving Out of Door’ (2017: Geelong, AUS); Women Artists of the North East Library (2018: Newcastle, UK);
PublisherWalking Women, Somerset House, UK; Forest Fringe, The Festival of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK; 'The House that Heals the Soul', CCA: Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, UK; 'Moving Out of Door', School of Lost Arts/Deakin University, Geelong, AUS; North East Library, Newcastle, UK