W.A.L.K. is a research centre at the University of Sunderland (W.A.L.K. Walking, Art, Landskip and Knowledge) co-founded by Prof. Brian Thompson, Dr. Tim Brennan and Dr. Mike Collier.
In recent years, there has been increased interest (both practical and theoretical) in ‘art walking’. It is a subject that has attracted critical attention in a number of disciplines, including anthropology and tourism, but has yet to be properly defined and interrogated as an artistic practice that has a considerable history as well as a vibrant present. We believe that the centre will become very significant in its role as a ‘custodian’ and critical friend for the practice of ‘art walking’ and the relationship of ‘art walking’ to the practice of painting, sculpture, photography, music and performance.
W.A.L.K. is a natural research grouping at UoS. Prof. Brian Thompson’s own sculptural practice has, for some time, been focused entirely around art walking. Thompson was Mike Collier’s supervisor for a successful PhD submission that had ‘art walking’ and embodied practice at the centre of its research whilst Dr. Tim Brennan’s own practice has been underpinned by ‘art walking’ for the last 17 years. Together, our work forms a substantial area of research with the potential to develop and extend a combined knowledge of contemporary and historical practice. It covers the full range of artists’ walking practice, from ‘the walk undertaken to arrive at an object’ through to ‘the walk that is the art work’. We are also aware that research staff in other departments of UoS are interested in becoming involved in W.A.L.K. and are keen to harness and develop this support.
Our outputs include the the organisation of a series of regular seminars and symposiums and an on-line journal as well as organising and curating exhibitions. All three co-founders already have an extensive, international CV of ‘art walking’ projects (in the USA, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, as well as extensively throughout the UK and Ireland.