Walking Library for a Wild City | fiadh-bhaile (2018) was a collaboration between The Walking Library and artist Alec Finlay, and conceived for Festival 2018, the cultural and arts programme of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. This project explored the nature of an urban setting, reflecting on what wild means in a city context, to discover what a wild city is and imagine what it might become. For this library we asked for suggestions in response to the following questions:
What book reveals wildness in the city?
What book would you rewild by walking?
The books that people suggested for this library for both adults and children ranged wildly from those which help us see what is sometimes overlooked or under-acknowledged – for example, the variety of wild things growing in vacant lots or the secret lives of pigeons – to dystopian apocalyptic fiction where cities are destroyed but nature survives and helpful pocket guides to urban foraging.
As we walked and read and looked and sensed together we re-mapped the “dear green city” of Glasgow – the green howe — and rediscovered the significance of old names – Sauchiehall Street, willowhaugh; the Kelvin, the reedy river – as a prompt to the invention of new ones.
From June through to August, we traversed the north, south, east and west of the city of Glasgow, leading a city-wide programme of differently oriented participative walks, public readings, and workshops. The library was also exhibited at Govanhill Baths. Drawing on the experiences of walking and reading together, and the stories we shared and sights we saw, collaborator Alec Finlay created a document of the project which can be purchased here.
The WALKING LIBRARY for a WILD CITY CATALOGUE, containing names of the books suggested or donated to this walking library, is available here to download.