The Walking Neighbourhood premiered in Brisbane on the 18th and 19th August 2012.
Welcome to The Walking Neighbourhood! We presented 14 walks curated and hosted by children aged 8-12 years. The group has worked collaboratively with their families and a team of artists, researchers and volunteers. They have developed their walks across Fortitude Valley, an inner urban neighbourhood, where parents for decades have been warning their children of the perceived dangers. Generational fear has swept away all the children, leaving this place a strange adult factory. In the 8 weeks of walking the Valley the group only ever saw a few babies and a handful of teenagers walking to or from the local high school. Where are all the children?
The Walking Neighbourhood is about many things, it is about proving that there are ways for children to feel safe, while being out in public, walking, meeting shop owners, pedestrians and developing a sense of themselves. This project is also about providing a way for families and communities to support children to become citizens, use their full agency to access a basic human right of feeling safe to take a walk. Intersecting with so many other ideas and concerns for contemporary children, we hope you will continue these conversations out in your front yard, over the fence, down at the shops, in your local school, workplace, nightclub, lane way and café.
It’s time for all our neighbourhoods to get walking and to stop being worried about the things our TVs tell us to worry about. Be sensible, ask for help when you need it, start communicating with the people around you, make friends and they stop being strangers, keep each other safe and walk instead of drive, catch a bus, car pool, vote, tell someone influential about the need for footpaths and road crossings and pool fences. Hang out with an 8 year old you know, knock on the door of the your neighbours and introduce yourself. Write letters to everyone on your street, have a street party, celebrate the fact we can take care of each other and don’t worry: bad things don’t actually happy that often.
What Happens to a Neighbourhood Without Children?
“Boring! There would be nobody playing and nothing to do. Kids have a right to be part of a community, they make things funner for adults”
“If there were no kids then there would eventually be no adults and therefore all the trees would grow back.”
“Creepy. Adults are too poopy and serious.”
“I think it wouldn’t be fun, cause you wouldn’t see anyone playing”
“Boring, very, very boring. There would be factories. There would be no schools.”
“Without kids people would become extinct and life would be boring.”
The Walking Neighbourhood Methodology
This project has been created over the last three years with Lenine Bourke (from Contact Inc), in collaboration with Darren O’Donnell (from Mammalian Diving Reflex) and a range of other artists, children, parents, teachers, government employees, funding bodies, venues, festivals and supportive people (children included).
The project has had various elements delivered already and each part seems to have a different name from 600,000 years, Tours by Children and finally this event is called The Walking Neighbourhood. We look forward to seeing how this project evolves with neighbourhoods everywhere. Mammalian Diving Reflex have a project known as The People in Your Neighbourhood which was their outcomes of the collaboration.