Which Way Now?

Part of Changing Play
Jun 2018 – ongoing Free

Artist Sam Curtis invites children from the Portman Early Childhood Centre to lead walks through the Church Street area of Westminster, London.

The practice of child-led group walks, in which each child takes turns in deciding which way to move around their neighbourhood, draws from Tim Ingold’s idea of ‘wayfaring’: being open to possibilities and being alive and responsive as you move. Wayfaring contrasts with ‘transport’, which is destination-oriented and the mode that most adults use as they move through the city.

Which Way Now? supports children to explore and deepen their connection to the neighbourhood they live in and asks that their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the place they live are given value. The project builds on lived experiences and recognises children as producers of knowledge about themselves and their community. It asks: how might we learn to rethink the city by listening to children as they navigate the local area?

The project centres the voices and experiences of children, including neurodiverse and disabled children. Some of the children involved do not primarily use verbal language to communicate. The project explores how movement, gesture and image-making might open up a richer dialogue between adults and children about the places in which they live.

Available from December, the book Which Way Now? emerges from the project and presents documentation from the walks as a series of visual essays, exploring children’s experience of the neighbourhood, and revealing both the barriers that inhibit their movement through the city as well as the poetry and wonder of the everyday. The accompanying toolkit for educators supports investigations of local urban environments and reflections on how to bring early years and primary school settings into closer conversation with their neighbourhood.

Changing Play is an ongoing partnership with the Portman Early Childhood Centre in Westminster, which brings together artists, children, families, and educators to critically reconsider early years education and care.

 

Curated by:

Alex Thorp, Curator, Education
Jemma Egan, Assistant Curator, Education

Joanna Slusarczyk, Assistant Curator, Education

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