Sophie Krier is a relational artist-researcher and editor who turns to walking as one of the tools and situations for collective narration and reflection. In 2015, Krier founded a new international honours college at Utrecht University where she developed and directed a practice-based track. Now she is responsible for the artistic development of the Plateforme “art, design et société” atEnsadLab, the research laboratory of École des Arts Décoratifs Paris. Additionally, she directs the Summer School How to think like a Mountain in a Land of Sea, and co-designed & realised an Outdoor Classroom.
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The research group ‘Walking as Research Practice’ explores walking practices in a range of disciplines and across discipline boundaries. Although everybody walks, “the subject of walking is, in some sense, about how we invest universal acts with particular meanings,” (Solnit 2001: 3). Whether we are engaged in site-specific or virtual wanderings, feminist flâneries or digital dérives, and whether we prioritize listening or looking, day or night, urban or rural, pre-planning or play, being alone or walking with, through walking practices we can transform ourselves, what we make and the landscapes/environments we stroll. As a research method, walking can be used to perform and/or document in creative ways the act of walking, the path, the environment, or the events unfolding during this practice.
We invite everyone interested in walking practices as research to join us for group discussions, close reading of texts, and walking expeditions, in order to rethink the dynamics between critical walking methodologies and the disciplines with which they are involved. Walking as a practice of research aims for a reflection on the relationship between theory and practice in different fields, on the role of practices as theorization, on embodiment and site-specificity, and on the influence practices such as walking may have in higher education. The group welcomes researchers from different fields in the Social Sciences and the Humanities such as urban studies, architecture, sociology, ethnography, design and the arts. But we also hope to traverse disciplinary boundaries, allowing unexpected connections and collaborations to emerge. In their individual and joint research practices and projects, members of the group are encouraged to share research methods and approaches, especially in relation to experimental and non-standard forms of research.