The walkshop as land-based research and pedagogy

Year: 2019

Author: Springgay, Stephanie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Walkshops, according to Wickson, Strand and Kjolberg (2015) are situated in particular contexts, emphasize relations between participants, are spatiotemporal events, and provoke multi-sensory engagements with matters of care and concern. Walkshops engage with what Tsing (2011) calls the “arts of noticing” (p. 19), ways of attuning to our sense making practices so that other worlds within this world can come into view. This paper examines a graduate research methods course and the culminating class research event: MIGRATION: A sound based walking research event. The 10-km walkshop took place on a land-fill that has become home to more than 300 species of birds, in Toronto Canada. The land-fill, a toxic dumping ground, complicates conservation ideologies of ‘wildness,’ nature-culture, and the geo-social. The largest double-crested Cormorant population is slowly eroding the ecology of the spit (their excrement is toxic) further amplifying the noise of deforestation and human-more-than-human entanglements. Through various sonic practices, movement exercises, and discussions the research event explored both human and more-than-human migration contexts and issues. The walkshop was guided by the following questions: How does migration sound? How can we listen for and amplify the muted narratives of this multi-species place? How can walking and listening become practices for unlearning settler colonial ways of perceiving land, living species, and cultural history? The paper will critically examine the walkshop as land-based research and pedagogy; walking methods that are situated and relational; and ways of documenting and contextualizing sonic field work.