1st Edition

Walking as Embodied Research Drift, Pause, Indirection

Edited By Christian Ernsten, Nick Shepherd Copyright 2025
    272 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores walking as a form of research practice. The contributions by a wide range of scholars and practitioners cover a variety of urban and non-urban landscapes around the world. They describe and reflect on ways of working that involve walking, and the kinds of ideas that inspire walking practices. A key theme is embodied research and how the act of walking brings the body into presence as a material part of the research process. The book also examines the ways in which walking opens out to multi-sensorial understandings and appreciations of landscape, and touches on ideas of presence and witnessing. Landscapes are themselves considered to be in motion, subject to the changing regimes of the era that we inhabit and the effects of Anthropogenic climate change. Finally, walking is thought about as political intervention and the volume addresses questions of social justice, decolonial futures and alternative forms of knowledge. It will serve as a source of inspiration to readers from across the humanities and social sciences who are interested in walking methodologies and in new and sustainable research practices.

    Introduction: Walking as Embodied Research

    Nick Shepherd and Christian Ernsten

    Part I Multisensory Walking: ‘Deep Mapping’ and ‘Sounding Places’

    1 Layers of Perception in the Altai Landscape: A Visual Essay

    Marjolijn Boterenbrood and Bas Pedroli

    2 On Listening in Movement and Stillness: A Reflection through Sonic Vignettes

    Karolina Doughty and Kristina Hansen

    Part II Walking and the ‘Arts of Noticing’: ‘Social Trackways’ and ‘Storied Landscapes’

    3 Walking with Landscape Relations: Tracking and More-than-Human Sociality in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

    Pierre du Plessis

    4 Walking as a Mnemonic Practice for Abundance in a Storied Landscape

    Jan Bender Shetler

    Part III Critical Walking Methodologies: Feminist and Queer Walking, Decolonial Walking

    5 Notes on Feminist and Queer Critical Walking Methodologies in the Amsterdam City Centre

    Chandra Frank

    6 Escape from the White Cube: Walking as Decolonial Intervention

    Nick Shepherd

    Part IV Activist Walking and Walking for Academics

    7 Activism on the move: Decolonial walking at Bremen’s Bürgerpark and Cape Town’s Two Rivers Urban Park

    Steven Robins with Matthew Wingfield

    8 Walking for Academics

    Annamarie Mol

    Part V The Art of Getting Lost: ‘Homo Eclecticus’ and the Wadden Sea Polder

    9 Walking paths: ‘Homo Eclecticus’ about strolling

    Jan Rothuizen

    10 Salt, Fresh, Bittersweet: Walking a Wadden Sea Polder Against the Grain

    Christian Ernsten, Marten Minkema, and Dirk-Jan Visser

    Part VI Flanerie Reinterpreted: Walking and Drawing, Walk Like a Designer

    11 Illustration on the Move: Embodied Practices of Walking and Drawing in the City

    Tânia Alexandra Cardoso

    12 Walk Like a Designer: Following the Haagse beek, Artist Krijn Giezen, and the Water System of the Hague

    Henriette Waal and Clemens Driessen

    Part VII Walking through Time: Coloniality and Multi-temporality on the Liesbeeck River and the Qhapaq Ñan

    13 Walking with Peter Kolb: Transhistorical Journeys between Colonial Pasts and Presents

    Christian Ernsten

    14 On the Road: Musings on Walking and Writing

    Cristóbal Gnecco

    Part VIII Walking and Writing: Mount Sáos and the Rižana River

    15 Ascending Sáos: A Chorographic Excursion in the midst of Incompressible Objects

    Christopher Witmore

    16 Foot Notes: Walking and Writing with the Rižana River

    Nataša Rogelja Caf

    Part IX Lockdown Walking: ‘Becoming Attentive’, the ‘Infraordinary’, and Memory and Mortality in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg

    17 Walking Forest in Suburbia: Becoming Attentive

    Ike Kamphof

    18 Lockdown Walks: Rhythms and Gestures of the Everyday

    Jo Vergunst

    19 In Passing: Walking in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg

    Ivan Vladislavic


    Christian Ernsten is Assistant Professor in Heritage Studies at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

     Nick Shepherd is Associate Professor of Sustainable Heritage Management at Aarhus University in Denmark and Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.