WalkingLab is a SSHRC-funded research-creation project co-directed by Stephanie Springgay (McMaster University) and Sarah E. Truman (University of Melbourne) that studies and advances the theory and practice of walking methodologies, exploring and developing innovative interdisciplinary practices.
The various projects and events activated at WalkingLab draw on feminist-queer, anti-racist, anti-ableist, and anti-colonial thought and practice with a goal to question who gets to walk where, how we walk, under whose terms, and what kind of publics we can make. The flâneur, we contend, is a problematic walking trope in that he is conditioned by autonomy, ability, Whiteness and masculinity, and as such he is able to walk anywhere, detached from the immediate surroundings. In order to counter this overused figure, Walkinglab developed critical walking methodologies that don’t assume walking is a convivial, automatically embodied, inclusive and depoliticized mode of doing research and teaching.
We argue that walking methods must engage with the intersections of gender, race, sexuality and disability. Critical walking methods accounts for the ways that walking is imbricated in legacies of settler-colonial harm, white supremacy, and functions to police and regulate bodies. Critical walking methodologies insist that intersectionality, the place where research takes place, and how one moves through space be critically complicated and accounted for.