Two walks with a difference.

The benefits of walking on mental health are well known; as part of Mental Health Awareness Week we wanted to highlight two walks with a difference that are personal to two of our MA Sustainable Design students Matt Sanderson and Rachel Wilson.

Mat organises walks for the charity MenWalkTalk – a local charity that aims to both break down stigma and encourage men to talk while walking. These have been running across Sussex and Matt is now working hard to spread the word in Hastings about walks in the beautiful three mile long Alexander Park. “The walks in Hastings have been well attended by a range of men with varying needs” Matt says “feedback has been very positive  and we look forward to meeting more men on the walk. We’re very lucky to have such a lovely park to walk in. Together we will continue to raise awareness and reduce stigma around men’s mental health and the barriers we face” 

Rachel’s walks are ‘Soundwalks’. She is currently working with Student Support and Guidance Tutor, Justine to organise walks specifically for students on our Architecture and Design courses. Here, Rachel explains how these walks and her related research which she will soon be presenting at a CAPPE conference  ‘Sonic Rebellions: Sound and Social Justice” which is part of the Brighton Fringe Festival benefit well being.

Soundwalking is a dynamic methodology increasingly utilised in scholarly practice for both quantitative data collection and qualitative, often as an ethnographic approach. Whilst every soundwalk will be uniquely facilitated depending on its audience and intention, generally it will involve walking a predetermined route with various listening prompts and reflections along the way in response to the journey and environment. Soundwalking can also be a great way of supporting wellbeing – be it individually or within a group – with benefits including increased attunement and connection to place. Embodied, meditative engagement through active listening provides space for both internal and external contemplation. In the case of ‘speculative listening’ and ‘listening beyond materiality’ as explored in Rachel’s work, soundwalking also serves as an opportunity to engage participants in alternative ways of considering their scholarly practice whilst simultaneously supporting wellbeing and encouraging interdisciplinary connections across the various courses.
Rachel’s presentation is on Saturday 28th May and is titled “Listening as Care: Sounding Towards a Socio-Ecological Justice”: