The Walking Library for Women Walking was initiated for two events staged in the summer of 2016, titled Walking Women. These took place at Somerset House in London in July and at Forest Fringe in Edinburgh in August. Women Walking was a programme of activities that placed women at the centre of discussions and debates about walking and art.
The Walking Library for Women Walking sought to make more visible women who have or do walk, and to inspire women to walk more. Like all previous Walking Libraries, this one responded to a particular question:
What book would you give to accompany a woman walking?
More than 100 donations were received. The Walking Library led two walks from Somerset House, following in the footsteps of suffragettes who marched from Embankment to Hyde Park, passing Parliament Square en route. We stopped wherever we felt a place called to a particular book; or where we encountered monuments to women. In Edinburgh, a 90 minute walk down Leith Walk focused on the spaces and places where women seemed present.
In September, The Walking Library for Women Walking took a trip to Bristol and was displayed as part of the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s annual conference. It was taken out for another 90 minute walk, with books sited and cited in responsive places.
The Walking Library for Women Walking will be donated to the Glasgow Women’s Library, ensuring ongoing free access to the collection (see http://womenslibrary.org.uk/) The catalogue for this Library is also held by the Live Art Development Agency, supporting its acquisition of books by or about women walking artists (see http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/).