Scores for Walking Research-Creation Project (2021)

The pandemic has challenged what it means to have a collective and socially-engaged practice. While restrictions on movement and physical distancing have changed how we are in relation to one another, increased activism on racial injustice, mutual aid, and radical care, have shaped new ways of togetherness and solidarity. Artists, activists, and educators are reimagining how community, resilience, and social justice matter in the present moment and what it will look like in the future.

Invitation to Collaborate

WalkingLab invites you to imagine this future otherwise through a community-led, collective, and iterative walking research-creation gesture on place. We’d like to send you something. In the mail. To be activated and re-turned in another form. We would like to walk-with you now and into the future.

There are 12 scores printed on limited edition postcards. If you would like to receive a postcard score, please email: springgs [at] mcmaster [dot] ca with your complete mailing address (your office/house/PO box etc.)

Scores are open-ended instructions or propositions that ignite the potential for future action. As invitations to activate and imagine different futures, scores are iterative, but while repeatable, are not concerned with predictable outcomes. Scores are highly improvised and open with many possible realizations of a given work.

Protocols for Activating your Scores

Critical place research moves beyond static understandings of place and is instead concerned with how place is entwined with the social, material, cultural, and political dimensions of diverse human bodies, experiences, and communities. It understands place as intimately tied to issues of race, gender, ableism, capitalism, and settler colonization. There is an urgent need for explicit and political attention to critical place research in order for people to understand and develop a critical awareness of how they are connected to, implicated in, and responsible to place. In order to conduct critical place research, we need research practices that break with ableist, racist, sexist, extractive and settler colonial logics, and instead focus on ones that are situated, relational, and ethical. At WalkingLab we emphasize critical walking practices and insist that intersectionality, the place where research takes place, and how one moves through space be critically complicated and accounted for.

Research-creation combines creative and theoretical/scholarly practices. As a conjunctive practice research-creation is concerned with thinking-making-doing. Walking research-creation insists that walking scholarship open up transmaterial relations between human and nonhuman entities, become accountable to Indigenous knowledges and sovereignty to Land, consider the geosocial formations of the more-than-human, prioritize affective subjectivities, and emphasize movement as a way of knowing. Walking research-creation is accountable to an ethics and politics of critical walking methodologies. Walking research-creation combines movement with other creative practices that might include, but is not limited to the following: photography, drawing, mapping, sound, senses, performance, and conceptual art practices.

We are interested in generating walking research-creation critical place practices that are creative, ethical, political and in situ. Place should not be a background to the work, but a site of deep exploration. However, place is more-than a specific site, such as a city, but could include: waterways, a historical building, a hill, an excavation, a park, a room, a tree, a classroom.

Use the score to activate critical place research that combines walking research-creation with other forms of creative practice. Document your work (documentation does not need to be limited to photographs). Consider the temporality of the score practice: an hour, a day, daily for a month?

When you receive your postcard you are under no obligation to complete the research-creation activity. However, we are interested in what you have activated and would like to create an online exhibition and artist book publication. We also want you to be sure to walk safely. Once you complete your score we invite you to send images or high quality scans of your activities and any other ephemera generated in the process along with a 100 word description of your walking research-creation to WalkingLab (springgs at mcmaster dot ca). Sending your work to us is consent for us to use the submission in curating an exhibition and publication.

The 100 word description should think critically about your actions and the place. This does not need to be a conventional academic piece of writing. In your submission include: Your full name, institutional affiliation if applicable, the score you received and activated, and the name of the place where you completed your score research. Anonymous submissions will be accepted (we will know your email from the submission but you can indicate that you do not want to be credited on the website or in the book).

Selected documentation will be curated into an exhibition for the WalkingLab website and a small artist book dedicated to critical place walking research-creation. If your work is selected for the exhibition, or the publication, we will contact you for final confirmation of consent to use your material.

Published participants will receive a copy of the publication. The deadline for sending us your walking research-creation materials is June 1st, 2021. We will consider all submissions for the exhibition and publication. If your work is selected, we will contact you for final confirmation of consent to use your names and submissions (or please indicate if you wish to be anonymous). You may withdraw at that time. Images on a website exhibition can be withdrawn at a later date but we can’t withdraw materials from the publication.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Springgay: springgs at mcmaster dot ca

This study has been reviewed by the McMaster University Research Ethics Board and received ethics clearance. If you have concerns or questions about your rights as a participant or about the way the study is conducted, please contact: McMaster Research Ethics Board Secretariat. You can find contact information here: https://research.mcmaster.ca/contact-us/#panel-700

For instructors or teachers interested in activating the scores with larger groups or classes as pedagogical activities, please contact us for a digital version of the scores. Suggested lesson ideas on how to activate scores can be found here: Score Activation Lessons.