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A walk for Mary

19 May, 2024

Now that WLC is part of the Walking Arts & Local Communities collaboration, which is partially funded by the European Union, we have some room to strategise and work on institutional development.

One consequence of this is that I'll be heading to Lisbon in October, to attend Walk21, which "wants to make sure that walking is measured, valued and appropriately provided for so that everyone in the world can choose to walk and enjoy the experience". The yearly conference has been running for nearly a quarter of a century, and has been hosted by cities on every inhabited continent.

Come October, I'll be presenting a walk shop that will nudge participants to explore the built environment. The walk shop will focus on Lisbon, but the methodology works anywhere. Indeed, I've done this before.

Lisbon's urban design promotes walkability, with numerous pedestrian zones, and, in general, discourages the use of private transport, offering many public transportation options, including trams and funiculars. The city's commitment to green spaces is evident, and the waterfront redevelopment along the Tagus River, enhancing both liveability and sustainability, has made Lisbon a very popular destination in recent years. Lisbon's urban evolution reflects a balance of preserving historical heritage while embracing contemporary innovations.

The city has quite the history. The area was settled as long as 3200 years ago, and, as Olisipo, was integrated into the Roman Republic in 138BC, shortly after the end of the Punic wars between Rome and Carthage. A good 100 years later, the town was absorbed into the Roman province of Lusitania, but its capital was just across the current border with Spain, in a town founded by Augustus, Augusta Emerita, now a World Heritage Site, recognised as the Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida.

Ancient Lisbon was known for its production of garum, the fish-based condiment popular in the Mediterranean during Roman times, and for its trade with Roman Britain, perhaps prefacing the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, the oldest alliance that is still in force by political bilateral agreement, established in 1386.

Lisbon is the start of the Caminho Português, the Portuguese route to Santiago de Compostela. And it's also the start of Caminho de Tejo, one of the pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Fátima, in the municipality of Ourém. The sanctuary is dedicated to a famous apparition of Mary, seen by three kids, and many onlookers, in 1917.

I find the long tail of history fascinating; According to tradition, Fátima was said to be the name of a Moorish princess kidnapped by a knight in the 12th century. The knight took her to a small village in the Serra de Aire hills, in the recently established Kingdom of Portugal. Fatima 'fell in love' with her kidnapper and converted to Christianity to marry him. Though she changed her name, or had her name changed, the town commemorates her original given name, which, of course, itself commemorates the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, of which he said "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary", connecting Mary to Fatima, and Fatima to Mary.

Closer to our WLC home, this Wednesday, May 22, Kerri Andrews talks to Cheryl Markosky about her new book, Way Makers – An Anthology of Women’s Writing about Walking. Get a ticket, or go wild and get a combined ticket that also gives you access to the interactive writing workshop that's happening a week later, on May 30.

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New walking pieces

Partnering with the Canadian National Instate for the Blind and supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Touching Sound is a sensory-led nature walk and workshop that was available for individuals with sight loss. Social practice and sound artist, Dawn Matheson, along with Olivia Brouwer, a partially-blind artist, led t... Keep reading
A sound walk created for the Streets of Frome, Somerset, England, which explores the parallel between plants and people: fragility, resilience and determination. Keep reading
tracking a walk across the Downs on this day celebrated since Roman times, the feast of Terminalia, god of limitations and obstacles . Keep reading

Upcoming events

2024-05-19 02:00 · Online
The Australian Walking Artists meet online on a monthly basis to share walks, creative ideas and artworks. Keep reading
2024-05-22 18:00 · Online
Author and academic Kerri Andrews talks to Cheryl Markosky about her new book, Way Makers – An Anthology of Women's Writing about Walking in this one-hour writer's ... Keep reading
2024-05-23 09:00 · Snape Maltings, Snape IP17 1SP, UK
Ambling African Women walking group was created in 2023 and are delighted to offer their very first guided walk for the Suffolk Walking Festival. Join the group on ... Keep reading
2024-05-24 15:00 · Online
Join the World Trails Network’s Arts & Culture Task Team for a curated programme of online conversations exploring the role walking artists play in shaping, investi... Keep reading

From our network

Day 323 - Abbreviation an 1.6 km drawing. Keep reading
Route May for the Knock on Wood Community Sound Walk May 18 2024 Keep reading
Day 322 - Energy and 1.3 km drawing. Keep reading
Day 321 - Retire and 3.6 km drawing. Keep reading
A community sound walk that's part of the Urban Tree Festival. Meeting at the Pianodrome, 1.30 pm 18th May, and returning there by 3.30 pm for refreshments. Located... Keep reading
This year has been a rollercoaster of productivity and struggles. Despite feeling like running out of steam, reconnecting with creative projects and deep reflection... Keep reading
Day 320 - Economics and 2.8 km drawing. Keep reading

Stuff we found

Source: Call for papers | IJABER. International Journal of Arts-Based Educational Research Keep reading

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cat-foot

Cats aren’t known for clomping around like Clydesdales; they’re stealthy. That’s why cat-footing refers to walking that’s more subtle and graceful than that of the average oaf. In Harry L. Wilson’s 1916 book Somewhere in Red Gap, this word appears in characteristic fashion: “…I didn’t yell any more. I cat-footed. And in a minute I was up close.” Cat-footing is a requirement for a career as a cat burglar. Credits to Mark Peters.

Added by Geert Vermeire

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