In August 2015, Sarah E. Truman walked St. Cuthbert’s Way on the border of Scotland and England. As part of her documentation process she left 30 postcards, stamped and addressed to herself along the trail in the tradition of the 19th century walking practice known as “Letterboxing.” With each postcard was a note asking fellow walkers who encountered the postcards to send her a postcard telling her about their own experiences on St. Cuthbert’s Way.
To help contextualize the unexpected responses this project generated Postcards from Strangers draws from physicist and new materialist scholar Karen Barad (2007) who views creativity and agency as attributable to a complex network of human and nonhuman agents, including historically specific sets of material conditions that exceed the traditional notion of the individual. Such a view is a departure from a human-centric approach prevalent in much educational research. Accordingly, Truman’s own walk of St. Cuthbert’s Trail becomes entangled with and made sense of through a productive assemblage of others’ ephemeral writings/drawings/musings.