As part of the ongoing In The City series, event 3 was titled Walking In The City and was a 4 day event exploring the city using artist led walks, talks and more.
I saw two events from the weekend, the first was a Silent Walk led by Simone Kenyon. At first this seemed a strange concept as I often walk through the city in silence and I didn’t know what to expect.
I found that no knowing the route we were going on, and just being led, left me free to appreciate what was around me every step. I was not concerned with the final destination and what was ahead, concentrating instead on what was beside.
I was aware of the curve of tiles on a roof, vistas of the city framed between buildings, the variety of colours used to paint front doors and facades of houses. The care that some people take over their property, pots of flowers on walls and windowsills. In contrast then the neglect of other properties, some empty and some not.
I meandered, and considered my steps more. Appreciating the beauty of the city that is easily taken for granted when rushing back and forth to work each day. Towards the end of the walk, surrounded by around 20 strangers, having not spoken for almost an hour, I felt strangely relaxed and at ease.
The second event I saw, or should I say participated in, was Bristol Sacred City Speaks which was led by city Canon Tim Higgins. This was an entirely different experience and I was interested in finding out the hidden history of the old city walls that lie underneath the concrete and tarmac of the modern city.
There was meaning built-in to this by discussing the meaning we associate to place, and how we each have a personal map in our heads which we use to navigate a city. Tim considered how the formation of the original city began with water and was shaped by the water, following the flow of the original path of the river.
I got more pleasure from this from a historical and informative sense instead of a performative sense. This does not make it any less of an important experience. The experience will also cause me to consider the formation of other cities. Curves of streets to mirror the land, and not imposed man-made structure that erases any sign of what was there before. Also the reason each church is named after a certain saint. St Nicholas the patron saint of sailors by the original port, St John the Baptist by the main water source for the city.
In The City series continues in the Parlour Showrooms, Park Street, Bristol