26 Mar, 2023

What have Janet Cardiff's "The Missing Voice (Case Study B)", Greece's "Street Panthers", and "Theatrelandscapes" from the German Theatre an der Ruhr have in common? I found leaflets to each of them in a magazine storage box marked "Walking Projects to follow up" that I tripped over as I tried to reach something at the back of my studio. In fact, this last week, I've tripped over rather too many folders, envelopes and boxes with similar labels on them. I also appear to have kept 23 DVDs, 16 CD-Roms, and a floppy disc (thankfully not that 41/4 inch version). All of those have gone straight in the bin, as I don't have a player / reader for them anymore. Worryingly, there are an awful lot of newspaper cuttings, and conference handouts, with those ever so helpful lists of participants. I have made a rule, this time around, to throw out anything that predates 2019*. So far that is 11 recycling bags! You've guessed it, I am in that annual fruitless mission to tidy up and archive my studio (AKA the shed at the end of the garden).

All my life, I have been far more of a "piler" than a filer - I frequently have a pile best described as "could be things worth saving as they might come in handy one day" and then there's the "worth reading again" pile, and the "tasks for a rainy day" pile - of which today was a rainy day, and you won't be surprised to learn that that pile wasn't even tackled today. It is a good feeling, when you are able to create a space by combining files or just moving them around, so you don't have to clamber over them to reach the printer - and there's another almost redundant piece of kit.

Did I imagine that I would one day be giving lessons, lectures or making presentations, as I appear to have hundreds of transparencies / slides? I don't have a slide projector anymore, so I have been holding them up one by one in front of an angle-poise lamp. Genuinely, I think all of them could go in the bin. Although, those slides of the greenway trail along the Lake Ontario shore might come in handy one day.....

30 years since I co-authored an Access and Interpretation Strategy to the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, do I really need to keep government and NGO policy guidelines on disability access and rural road networks, or a public engagement literature review on the disconnect from nature and its effect on health and well-being?

If you do attempt a "Spring Clean" or a studio clear out in the next few weeks, just be careful, as you might trip over something that sets your mind to recalling memories from decades past, and before you know it, the piles will grow and not diminish.

*well not everything, as some of the things made it to safety on the "worth reading again" pile.

Luckily for you, you don't physically have to join me in my studio on Monday to meet up with others who enjoy sifting through the archives - we have our monthly Walking Detectives meet-up online - come along to discover what others have tripped over.

Meanwhile, keep walking.

Co-founder of walk · listen · create

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26 Mar · Sun · 14:00 (UTC) · Lesnes Abbey Woods, Walden Close, Belvedere, UK
Walk through an ancient woodland and listen to wild stories guided by the writers and a beautifully drawn map. Keep reading
27 Mar · Mon · 18:00 (UTC) · Online
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