Online meetup: Claudia Zeiske on ‘Going the distance’

walk · listen · café

80 items

Event details

2020-04-28 18:00
18:00 UTC
3 euros

walk · listen · create hosts walk · listen · café, a bi-weekly (once every two weeks) online meeting for creatives in the fields of walking and sound art. Every ‘café’ lasts between 1 and 2 hours, is headed by an expert introducing a particular topic, and followed by an open discussion on the topic at hand.
Online meetings are hosted through BlueJeans or similar. Participants will be sent the conference password shortly before the event kicks off.

I often walk for pleasure, to find a peace of mind, a pace that gets my rhythm back in order. But I also like to walk for a purpose. Those purposes are often self-imposed, related to an interest of either political or personal nature. 

When I walked the 1800km home to my mother in Bavaria from my home in Scotland, I sometimes called this walk a pilgrimage. It was something that I had to do at that time. But many people criticized or at least questioned this. So, I am now in doubt, when a long-walk is a pilgrimage, and when it is a long-distance walk? I would like to find clarification on this question, so I can keep walking without thinking about this.

Claudia Zeiske

Since ancient times, with neolithic origins, people made lengthy journeys on foot, often on sacred routes and pilgrimages, usually only with a stick and a light bundle. These long and fatiguing endeavours are covering long distances, sometimes hundreds and thousands of kilometers, for a period of many days or even months. Some starting from one point to a final
destination or others without defining an end in advance.

What is important, however, is the day by day effort to move from one point to the other, in most times with an exhaustive effort, extending physical limits. The body is transformed into another level of consciousness and perceives the milieu of the realities that are met through a hard and ongoing effort lasting long periods.

But, what is a pilgrimage, and what is a long walk?



Geert Vermeire


Geert Vermeire is a curator, poet and artist, moving constantly between Greece, Portugal and Brazil, with a focus on spatial writing, locative sound & performance and social practices. He develops collaborative processes, departing from the ethical in...

Geert Vermeire


Geert Vermeire is a curator, poet and artist, moving constantly between Greece, Portugal and Brazil, with a focus on spatial writing, locative sound & performance and social practices. He develops collaborative processes, departing from the ethical in...

Claudia Zeiske

Writer in residence 2021/22

Claudia Zeiske is a Scotland based curator and art activist who realises a lot of her projects through walking, bringing people, ideas and politics together.


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6 thoughts on “Online meetup: Claudia Zeiske on ‘Going the distance’

  1. Thanks to all who participated in our first walk · listen · café. We thought it was a success. Thanks to Claudia for an interesting introduction, and thanks to the participants for insightful, relevant and thought-provoking questions and comments.
    We’re looking forward to doing this again.

    If you have any follow up questions or remarks, don’t hesitate to add them right here.

    I’ll start by pointing out that, I think, we observed that a ‘pilgrimage’ contains elements of ‘belonging’, ‘redemption’ and ‘discovery’, to set itself apart from ‘just’ a long walk.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Thanks Babak,
      for me that is totally right. I pilgrimage must have also a beginning and an end. It must be something personal to you oneself, rather than walking a traditiona/tourist pilgrimage route, which has become very popular in recent years. To me that is more a long-distance walk.
      We also talked about political walking. Walking with a message…

  2. During the chat I posted a couple of things that came to mind:

    If Claudia would like to invite more people to join her global Slow Marathon initiative, then I would recommend that she taps into the #Walk500 and #Walk1000 campaign that the UK’s Country Walking magazine launched a few years ago – it has been a huge success in getting more people walk longer more often – and has a thriving Facebook presence too. You can get a feel for it more by checkin in with Nick Hallissey , the Dep Editor whom I interviewed for Talking Walking:

    For Andrea who was mentioning his planned walk to Italy, then the most recent episode of Talking Walking is absolutely relevant, as it is with Justin Butcher who led the Just Walk to Jerusalem and followed many of the routes that Andre mentioned. Another episode is with Nick Hunt who walked in the footsteps of Leigh Fermore Cooper – that too might be of interest. Each episode has handy pdf of notes that you can download that offers links to all sorts of resources.

    Tim Hagyard who introduced me to Justin also undertook a long walk / buddhist pilgrimage in the UK – another Talking Walking episode.

  3. Claudia was keen to find out whether anyone had mapped walking routes between towns, villagers and communities in Britain – well it just happens it is underway right now. Dan Raven-Ellison with the assistance of Ordnance Survey Leisure has recruited hundreds of volunteers on a project called Slow Ways: – here’s their latest bulletin:

    Wow! We’re making massive progress.

    The Slow Ways project kicked off three months ago today. Since lockdown we’ve been making massive strides forward together.

    Thanks to Jason for putting together these stats:
    430 people have uploaded routes so far
    5,000 routes made
    Top 10 route makers have designed 869 routes
    10 routes created per person on average
    14km is the average distance of a route
    70,000km drawn – equivalent to Europe’s coastline
    10,000km from lapping the equator… twice!

    If you want to find out more and get involved – try this link:

    Listen to Dan here

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