The purpose of this paper is to discuss Deveron Project’s (DP) Walking Institute, the only programme in the UK dedicated to commissioning artists to create walks. The author argues that the Walking Institute offers a model for tourism practices that engage local and international stakeholders in the creation of new global relationships. His research expands current critical discourse around the intersection between walking, tourism and art, and argues for DP’s approach as a way to create community-based, critically reflexive modes of tourism.
This paper is based on research completed for his doctoral thesis and combines practice-based and qualitative methods. The author has visited Huntly on two separate occasions, and have had conversations with project stakeholders, spent time visiting local attractions, and participated in local events and artists’ walks. The analysis draws on theories from performance studies and those being developed within cultural geography and the mobilities paradigm.
The Walking Institute provides a model for a community based approach to global tourism that calls on the artistic medium of walking to create a critical, reflexive mode of engagement. Through this model, the Walking Institute provides an innovative approach to tourism that offers potential tourists with a mode of local engagement beyond the consumption of the picturesque.
There is very little research into DP’s model, or the intersection between tourism and the burgeoning artistic medium of walking. This paper offers original insight into DP’s model and its relationship to a new field: walking art. Additionally, it informs current understandings of tourism through a demonstration of how a rural arts organisation is engaging with the global tourism industry.
This research was funded in part by the Scottish Society for Art History. Additionally, the author would like to thank the team at Deveron Projects for their support with the research.
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