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Do you believe in ghosts?

22 Jan, 2023

We do now - especially as  Laura Mitchison, now twice winner of a Sound Walk September Award, invites all of us to hunt ghosts in and around an Elizabethan church in Stoke Newington, a one-time village on the outskirts of the City of London, now one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in the metropolitan area.

Much more than just a 'haunting', Laura's sound walk is not only intriguing but masterful, and this is what John Drever, on of the Awards Grand Jurors wrote about it:

"Ghosthunter N16, or Are you a Ghost Hunter? affords the perfect excuse to visit the fascinating Old Church in Stoke Newington, East London. Kaleidoscopic vignettes are folded into this ostensibly short but substantial walk, which opens up the multi-layered psychogeography of the church and churchyard. A careful blend of registers and multiple voices is at play but is never overly complex."

This year's Awards shortlist was outstanding, with three further pieces selected as "Honourable Mentions":

Tony Onuchukwu created a soundscape with a focus on Birling Gap, a coastal hamlet that forms part of the Seven Sisters coastline, a series of towering white chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel near Eastbourne, East Sussex. Tony's sound walk Birling Gap is an intimate meditation on walking, eternal transformation, and the interconnection between memory and place. We learn about the monumental landscape from the narrator and how her geographical marvel is inextricably woven with her introspective expedition that oscillates between joy and remorse.

Created by Eleanor Rycroft, Night Walk follows a group of 17 women walking through Clifton Downs, Bristol, at midnight in July 2022. A significant area for histories of gender, sexuality and race in the city, the listener is let into this unique political act of reclaiming space through a raw and honest walk addressing critical current issues about the safety of women in a location historically associated with sex-work and, with a history of sexual assault and rape culture, as recent as 2021. 

Jo Scott submitted two piece to the Awards, but it was Wanders in the (wild) smart city that the Grand Jury picked out; a thought-provoking and also beautiful sound walk. It brings to our attention the unnoticed and overlooked, exploring the unseen digital networks monitoring and assessing our behaviour, without us being aware of this. 

For this year's Awards, we trialled an online jury to review the 80+ submissions and draw up a shortlist, from which our Grand Jury chose Laura Mitchison's Are you a Ghost Hunter? as the winner. We are recruiting further online jurors for the 2023 Awards, should you like to try your hand (or your ears) - just get in touch.

We are looking forward to seeing you at tomorrow evening's Walking Detective meet up find out who is searching archives and seeking out fellow walking creative practitioners from around the world and if you have a enquiry of your own, sign up and bring it along. 

Keep walking!

Co-founder of walk · listen · create

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