We walk at a time and place of our choosing in solidarity with those who had no choice.
Forced Walks is a programme of artist-led performative, socially engaged, public walks, digitally connected and mindful of those refugees, migrants, tramps, water-carriers and others who were/are forced to walk to survive. The programme seeks to reveal hidden stories of those dispossessed of land and home by war, economic and climate change and to generate contemporary and locative resonances.
a new website is in development both are live..check out the new one here:
The first project: Forced Walks: Honouring Esther took the route of a Nazi Death March and transposed it onto the English countryside. The second, Sara’s Last Steps, traces the final steps of a Jewish mother forcibly parted from her children at the Auschwitz selection point, transposed to the Lake District. The walk traverses the site of a WW2 workers housing estate near Windermere. In 1945 part of the site was requisitioned for a group of Jewish child Holocaust refugees, ‘the Windermere Children’. On the 75th anniversary of the arrival of those refugees, Sara’s Last Steps forms part of a cycle of work, Sanctuary and Exile, commissioned by the Lake District Holocaust Project with an installation in Windermere in August 2020.
A walk about time and the land, exile and belonging, the drift of memory and forgetting: memorialising in an era dense with anniversaries.
Sara’s Last Steps is a participatory performative walk for a maximum of twenty five people, the artists extend an invitation to second and third generation Holocaust survivors, former residents of the Calgarth Estate and their children, present day refugees and their supporters. The artists are particularly keen to involve those who have a connection with the ‘Windermere Children’. The walk follows the transposed route from the selection point to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, retaining scale, orientation and duration. Seventy five years later traversing the former Calgarth Estate will mean walking round new buildings, avoiding fences, opening and closing gates that were not there seventy five years ago. Each obstacle will be an opportunity to consider layers of disruption, displacement, memory and erasure. The walk ends, weather permitting, at a former Calgarth Estate picnic site,where thousands of years ago a life was remembered in a view of the waters of Windermere. The walk will find a way of acknowledging and respecting those who did not survive and those who lived, those who were left behind and those who were reunited.
- willingness to participate, contribute and share online
- walkers create, gather and share responses
- participants agree to be present on foot, online or both on that day
This blog is a working space networking, developing and documenting the Forced Walks project.
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