Walking helps us to think. It opens up the lungs and the imagination. It enables discoveries and improves ideation. It brings self and place together. If you spend a lot of time thinking or making, you will probably find walking helps.
Because women walking alone are suspect. Women walking without dogs, children or shopping. With notebook, sketchbook, camera. What are we doing? We must be up to no good. We must be suspect. We must be asking for trouble.
Why? Because we are women.
There is good reason to believe that women who walk alone are more vulnerable than men who do so. Rebecca Solnit has much to say on this in her history of walking (Wanderlust, 2001). We are behaving outside societal norms, putting one foot in front of another, asserting independence. Our mothers warned us about it. Our friends express concern. Strangers stare, cajole, threaten.
But we do it anyway.
Will Self refers to the psychogeographic fraternity of middle-aged men in Gore-Tex (Psychogeography, 2007). But there are plenty of women, in Gore-Tex or otherwise, trudging field, alley and urban landscape. Walking with attitude, with intent, drifting. Flaneuse. Walking artists. Scribblers.
This network aims to bring together women who use walking in their creative or academic practice. If this is you, please join in.