Sweet Waters: walking-with reluctant heritage

White, R (2019) Sweet Waters: walking-with reluctant heritage. In: 7th EUGEO Congress in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers: Re-imagining Europe’s Future Society and Landscapes, 15 - 19 May 2019, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

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The paper presents a case study of a walking arts intervention using a walking-with method (Sundberg 2013; Springgay and Truman 2018) in the context of a UNESCO World Heritage designated place and landscape. An iteration of walking-with is discussed as an emergent participatory performative strategy developed by the artist towards an engagement with coerced walking and attending to reluctant heritage (Tomory 1999; Otele 2016). This approach to walking-with foregrounds sensual and affective experience, drawing on an attention to corporeal activity and embodied experience. The paper samples, Sweet Waters, a walking arts exploration of legacies of slaveownership in Bath (UK); the project sought to reveal obscured histories and interrogate the City’s authorised heritage narrative. Sweet Waters was a cycle of walks attending to the entanglements and continuing resonances of the infamous trans-Atlantic triangular trade of captured people and goods, folded into a commonsense understanding of the water cycle. The paper reviews this as a process of intangible cultural heritage (Smith and Akagawa 2009), materialised in analogue and digital multimedia formats, offering an active embodied critical engagement with the reified heritage (del Marmol, Morell and Chalcroft 2015) of the Georgian city. The paper samples this co-creative questioning of the past in the present, inviting a reimagining of a city of empire in the context of decolonisation. The presentation offers a creative practitioner’s account of the development and deployment of a walking-with method, proposing it as a creative non-confrontational method of engagement with contested heritage narratives.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 17:08
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 19:36
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/13885
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