Whether inspired by radical pedestrianism, the French Situationists, green politics or a concern with historical heritage (and sometimes by a combination of the lot) alternative walks, trails and guided tours are proliferating all over London. This event invites participants to take a step back and reflect on the ideological and aesthetic starting points for these various expeditionary geographies by joining one of three walks in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, each with its own distinctive perspective. The walks will be led by a team of experienced practitioners, from natural and cultural history to architectural and landscape interpretation, and social media sampling.
The event will start at the View Tube (near Pudding Mill Lane DLR) and end at Timber Lodge with time out for a picnic. There will be a screening of John Rogers’s film ‘The London Perambulator’ introduced by its central figure, Nick Papadimitriou, followed by a panel discussion with our team of guides.
WALKSHOP ONE: Mashing up Memories in the Olympic Park
with Toby Butler and Richard White
Join us on a drift around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park! We invite walkers, delegates, shoppers, visitors online and offline, and anyone who has ever lived, worked or performed there to join us and co-create an instant social media map. We will conduct an emotional dowsing of the site locating stories, memories, myths, rumours and responses that the walkers bring, discover or generate. We invite contributions live from those on foot, and via social media online. We know the former Olympic Games site is already being repurposed, but what of the deeper layers of memory, industry, ecology and lost communities… What can we geo-locate together in a few hours in May? We’ll transgress the psychogeographer’s rules in that we have a destination, a vague sense of purpose..and two walk curators but perhaps even these structures will be challenged. Bring a smart phone if you have one.
Richard White is a creative producer and participatory media artist using walking practices and social media. Recent work includes White Horse Walks www.whitehorsewalks.co.uk and his current project Forced Walks: Honouring Esther www.forcedwalks.wordpress.com Richard is also an associate lecturer in the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries at Bath Spa University. Toby Butler is a senior lecturer in history and heritage studies at the University of East London who uses oral history recordings to create outdoor ‘memoryscape’ walking trails. He teaches a postgraduate course on Place, Oral History and Digital Heritage. Recent work has included trails along the Thames Path, around the Royal Docks and Victoria Park in East London www.memoryscape.org.uk
WALKSHOP TWO: From Plastics to Cappuccino Planning:
the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Before and After
with Nick Edwards and Alexandra Rook
An informal conversational walk round the park to appreciate the changes before and after the Olympics, drawing on the our guides long experience in exploring the practical boundaries of community engagement and participatory planning. This will be followed by a film and discussion on the gains and losses of ‘grand project’ regeneration. The walk will be led by Nick Edwards, co-founder of Fundamental Architectural Inclusion, who has been empowering and inspiring local young people for the last 12 years in the disciplines involved in place-making, and Alexandra Rook, a landscape architect and planner with past experience in community planning, who was also director of Walk London before joining the dark side of private practice.
WALKSHOP THREE: A Walk on the Wild Side
with Bob Gilbert and Hilary Powell
A walk that seeks out the wild in the highly managed landscapes of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We will look at the species that are colonising this new open space and hear the stories behind their spread, their names and their uses. And we will explore whether this planned parkland can also provide a space for urban foraging, looking for its local harvests, its unplanned crops, its edible blossoms and the evidence of a mellow fruitfulness to come.
Bob Gilbert is a long-standing campaigner for the protection of urban open spaces and public access. A pioneer of inner city conservation, his varied career has ranged from stand-up comedian to Director of Sustainability at a London local authority. He is the author of ‘The Green London Way’ (2010), a 110 mile walking route around London bringing together social and natural history. Hilary Powell is an artist working with a range of media from installation and film to printmaking to create projects that consistently explore and re-imagine urban sites and associated notions of time and change. Her most recent work drew on her background in Scenography to create miniature animated urban environments in the form of movable pop-up books.
RENDEZVOUS: THE VIEW TUBE 11AM
Lunch is available at the Timber Lodge cafe on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, or bring a picnic .
Tickets : £10 or £5 concessions.
Venue: The View Tube