Street training at the Spitalfields city farm

Submitted by Phillida on Wed, 2010-07-21 20:37

Here's a place to continue conversations sparked by the Spitalfields street training sessions.

Walk Walk Walk session

For this week’s street training session Gail, Serena and Clare from Walk Walk Walk came to the city farm and talked to us about the projects they have been doing around Pedley Street.

Over bread, cheese and melons they told us about the historical research they had done into the area around the city farm, and their attempts to discover when the area had become ‘cut off’ from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring Brick lane. (It seems that the first railway line to come to the area in the 1840s was a major factor in turning the area around the farm into a disconnected, liminal zone.)

Describing the different techniques they use on their walks, they talked about their interest in ‘speaking back’ to the area through flyposting. They said that by leaving behind traces of their walks – burned out fires, writing on walls, etc - they were able to create feedback loops within the architecture of the area. Lottie mentioned that she’d encountered these traces herself, and that it had affected her own relation to the area, creating a dialogue between strangers who had never met but who shared the same locale.

Then they took us on a walk, leading us through territory familiar from our previous street training sessions but made new again through their fresh perspectives and historical knowledge. At several points they stopped and read out stories, referring to incidents in their own and the area’s pasts. They described exchanges that they’d had with other people in these same places, creating a sense that we weren’t just exploring in space, but also in time.

Walking back we all picked up mementoes of the area. Mine was a piece of brick that Ian decided was a Neolithic axe head. Back at the farm we did a show and tell with our finds, creating new narratives and meanings for the items, and turning the action of finding them into stories in themselves.