Step by Step Seminar series

The Step by Step seminar series was inspired by thematic connections in a diverse range of walking practices. Each seminar seeks to bring together artists and researchers from across disciplines whose work uses, addresses, results in, or engages with walking. Speakers have included: Blake Morris, Rhiannon Firth, French&Mottershead, Maggie O’Neill, Toby Butler, Luis Carlos Sotelo-Castro, Georgie Wemyss, Göze Saner and Marion Vargaftig.

Jump to Step by Step One, Two, Three, Four

Save the date
Step by Step 5, 24th April 2017, 6-8pm UEL, USS, Stratford

co-hosted by UEL’s Centre for Performing Arts Research (CPAD), Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB), and the Walking Artists Network

Kubra Khademi, Anna Minton, Mary Paterson
This seminar will bring together the Afghan artist Kubra Khademi, discussing her iconic 2015 walk ‘Armor’ alongside more recent performance works; with writer and journalist Anna Minton, whose research interests include cities, democracy and public space; and writer, artist and producer Mary Paterson whose recent work has explored the the practices of writing and walking in parallel, alongside stories of migration.

Free, please book a place here:

Step by Step 4, 23rd March 2016

This seminar is the fourth in a series bringing together artists and researchers from across disciplines whose work uses, addresses, results in, or engages with walking. This year’s first Step by Step will focus on issues of walking and migration, and feature Dr. Göze Saner (Goldsmiths); Marion Vargaftig (Manifesta); and Dr. Georgie Wemyss (University of East London).

Dr. Göze Saner is a lecturer in theatre at Goldsmiths University. Göze has trained with The New Winds, led by Iben Nagel Rasmussen of Odin Teatret, with Claudia Contin and Ferrucio Merisi on commedia dell’arte, with Enzo Cozzi on leather mask-making and with Alison Hodge on her clown.  Since 2005, she has been working with The Quick and the Dead led by Alison Hodge.  In 2005, Göze founded her company, cafila aeterna,  Currently, the company is working on developing a traveling performance in response to the tortoise as archetype. Dr. Saner will be discussing her project Migrant Steps, a community theatre project that engages migrant women living in the UK and Europe. Starting from the figure of a travelling tortoise and combining methodologies such as psychogeography, performance art, physical theatre and autobiographical writing, the project aims to transform participants’ relationship with the urban environment.

Marion Vargaftig is a founder of Manifesta, which aims to facilitate creative expression of marginalised and youth voices (including migrants) using arts and culture and film-making, in order to express young people’s ideas and perspectives, and put them ‘centre stage’ – using traditional exhibition sites as well as more unusual public spaces to reach the widest possible audience mix, and to provoke refreshed discourses on key current social and cultural affairs. She will discuss her project In My Footsteps, which used walking to create interactions between people and place – combining local history and heritage with communal culture and personal identity. First piloted in London’s East End – Whitechapel, Limehouse and Poplar – it has engaged local residents, young and old, in living-heritage activities: unearthing, highlighting and celebrating fresh ‘takes’ on particular places that matter to them.

Dr. Georgie Wemyss is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging. She is currently working on the EUBorderscapes project, investigating the evolving concepts of state borders in Europe. Her interest in the everyday processes of bordering grew out of her D.Phil ethnographic research about Britishness and belonging together with insights gained from 20 years teaching social anthropology to adults returning to education in East London. Previously she worked as a youth worker in Tower Hamlets and lived in India and Bangladesh where she studied at the Bangla Academy.

Step by Step 3, 20th May 2015

This seminar is the third in a short series bringing together artists and researchers from across disciplines whose work uses, addresses, results in, or engages with walking.  The speakers hail from backgrounds in fine art, cultural geography, and dance respectively but share common threads in the way their work addresses differential mobilities, public space, walking as transport and the everyday.

Clare Qualmann is an artist (and part time Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at UEL) working across a wide range of media; from drawing and sculpture to text-works and live art events (often in the form of walks). As part of the collective walkwalkwalk she has created walks as site specific performances, as live art events and as research method for developing text, installation, film, audio and performance works. Clare will speak about Perambulator a walking project with prams, most recently produced for Deveron Arts in Huntly (Scotland). Working from an auto-ethnographic standpoint the project explores gendered spaces, maternal narratives and shifting identities, inequality and mobilities. Clare is a founder member of the Walking Artists Network, and currently holds AHRC funding to facilitate its development.

Dr Jennie Middleton is a Senior Research Fellow in the Transport Studies Unit in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. Prior to this she has held lecturing posts in human geography at Plymouth University and Kingston University. Whilst having a background in urban, social and cultural geography Jennie’s research strongly relates to the field of mobilities and transport research. Her current research explores everyday urban mobility, particularly people’s mobile experiences on foot, and the implications of this for urban and transport policy. Jennie will speak on the walkable city, drawing on both previously published research, and projects that are under development.

 Sara Wookey is an American dancer and choreographer based in London. She is interested in the ways that performance and publics interact and, more specifically, how dance enlivens the social in intimate, playful and engaging ways. Sara will speak about her work as a consultant for the Art Program at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2012-2014) where she programmed cultural events to draw people onto public transit, includinMetro Art Moves You a series of public art walking tours throughout Los Angeles County.

Step by Step 2, 16th March 2016

 This seminar is the second in a short series bringing together artists and researchers from across disciplines whose work uses, addresses, results in, or engages with walking. The speakers hail from diverse backgrounds but share common threads in the way their work uses walking to facilitate processes of listening, understanding and the sharing of stories and histories.

Maggie O’Neill is Professor in Criminology and Applied Social Sciences at Durham University where she co-directs the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities. Drawing upon participatory research conducted in the North East of England with women asylum seekers and Fulbright scholar and film maker Janice Haaken she will share a walk, images and a short film Searching for Asylum. Maggie suggests that through the visual representations of the walks we are able to get in touch with womens lives in sensory and corporeal ways that foster ‘understanding’ and critical reflection. Maggie has a long history of working with artists and communities to conduct participatory and arts based research. Recent Books include: Transgressive Imaginations: crime, deviance and culture [with Lizzie Seal]; Advances in Biographical Methods: creative applications [with Brian Roberts and Andrew Sparkes]; and Asylum, Migration and Community.

Luis Carlos Sotelo-Castro (PhD) is a Colombian artist-researcher now based in the United Kingdom, and a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance at UEL. He creates live environments of memory in collaboration with other artists and participants from specific communities and locations. He has done work with and for internally displaced people, Indigenous communities, and elderly people both in Latin America and in the UK. In his current practice-based research he explores whether and how participatory theatre and performance might facilitate listening. The Most Convenient Way Out, an ongoing project on listening, performance, and audio-walks in zones of armed conflict was commissioned by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and premiered in Colombia in July 2014. A second version was featured as part of the Why? What’s happening for the young festival at London’s Southbank Centre in October 2014.

Toby Butler leads the History programme at UEL, his research interests include oral history, digital heritage, historical interpretation in museums and the social and cultural history of London. Toby has worked extensively with audio walks, locating oral histories along specific routes and creating Memoryscapes in collaboration with communities. He will present on his work creating Memoryscapes and the community-based development of its methods in his Ports of Call project. Toby is an editor of History Workshop Journal and is currently working on an Heritage Lottery funded project exploring the Bethnal Green Tube disaster. He has published widely on the use of audio walks to deepen a sense of place, and the integration of art, oral history and cultural geography.

Step by Step (1) 17th December 2014

 This seminar is the first in a short series bringing together artists and researchers from across disciplines whose work uses, addresses, results in, or engages with walking.  The speakers hail from diverse backgrounds but share common threads in the way their work addresses resistant practices, public space, the everyday, education, autonomy, critical cartography and empowerment.

French & Mottershead is artist duo Rebecca French and Andrew Mottershead. Their work explores and reveals the social dynamics and narratives inherent within public and private spaces. Adopting diverse methods and approaches, projects are often borne out of rigorous research, when the duo embed themselves within a particular site/community, or work with experts in order to harness material on their chosen subject. Within this process the role of participants is often directed and framed, requiring them to become active collaborators. Resulting works have taken the form of film, performance, photography and installation, and are as much playful and poetic, as they are subversive, calling into question and reframing individuals’ relationship to their everyday. They will present Walkways, video documentation of Performed Walks created with four citizens of Southwark, commissioned by Tate Modern in 2012.

Rhiannon Firth is a Research Fellow in the Cass School of Education and Communities at UEL. Her work engages with political utopianism, critical pedagogy, popular education and autonomous social movements. Rhiannon will present on her research (and practice) in Critical Cartography, a methodology and pedagogy that begins from the premise that maps are embodiments of power. Map-making can facilitate learners to understand, in spatial terms, how power claims can be asserted as truth and the effects that this has on everyday lives, as well as empowering them to spatially illustrate their own struggles and desires. Furthermore, the process of map-making can be at least as important as the produced maps, building collectivity between participants. Rhiannon’s research argues for a new understanding of critical cartographic research and pedagogy that is horizontalist and anti-hegemonic, rather than representative and counter-hegemonic.

Blake Morris  is a postgraduate researcher at UEL, where his work focuses on group walks as an artistic medium. He is a founding member of the New York City based Walk Exchange, and his work has been seen at Ovalhouse (London), Bogart Salon (New York City), and Superfront (Los Angeles). Examples of his artistic practice can be found at This is not a Slog. Blake will present on his Walk Study Training Course (WSTC) methodology, developed with Dillon de Give and the Walk Exchange. WSTC is an educational project that focuses on walking as both practice and subject, addressing a wide range of ideas through the common activity of walking. The course is based in a non-hierarchical approach that views participants as equal partners in the learning experience and emphasises the transmission of embodied knowledge.

 Footwork is an AHRC funded research group attached to the Walking Artists Network (WAN). WAN is for everyone who defines themselves as a walking artist, and everyone who is interested in walking as a mode of creative practice, in fields including (but not limited to) architecture, archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, history, spatial design, urban design and planning.

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