‘Walking Women’ was a curatorial project created in collaboration with the artist Amy Sharrocks, which resulted in a programme of events at Somerset House, London and Forest Fringe, Edinburgh in July and August 2016.
The project explores the breadth and range of work by women artists using walking in their creative practice. It began with an open research enquiry to locate works by women in the medium of walking, using arts and humanities jisc-mail lists, literature reviews, exhibition catalogue reviews, archive reviews and an open call distributed through a range of arts organisations. Works were located, coded and analysed in relation to emerging themes. Under the aegis of two broad categories of ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ the following sub-themes were categorised:
lone travel and adventure; visual poetry; the power of getting lost ;
dialogic potentials of walking: bodies and landscapes, sites and specificities.
The resulting programmes were shaped around these themes, and additionally reflected the formats in which walking art is experienced, including live art/performance/temporal experience; film audio/sound art; and instructions. A central core of artists’ talks was programmed throughout to provide opportunities for as many emerging artists’ voices and works to be presented as possible. The artists’ talks strand predominantly consisted of UK and European artists; film works and live events added a global dimension, with contributions from Afghanistan, Australia, USA, Palestine and Jordan.
In addition, a series of new and existing works was commissioned, reflecting curatorial themes (including Collison, ‘Intimate Tour of Breasts’; Sabri, ‘Walk a Mile in Her Veil’).
Funding was provided by Somerset House (commissioned as part of their Utopia festival; University of East London; Live Art Development Agency; and the Forest Fringe.
The events have led to further artistic and curatorial commissions for Qualmann and Sharrocks, including a commission for the Wellcome Collection (2018).