Art NOW series presents Sandra Cowan

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Art NOW presents: Sandra Cowan
Walking as Research-creation Praxis
Noon | March 20, 2024
University Recital Hall

Walking has long been associated with thinking and creativity. Walking can be a method, process, or material for creative work. It can be a transformative practice used to generate ideas, find inspiration, gather materials, or get in touch with intuitive and embodied ways of knowing. Interested in walking as a research methodology, whose characteristics—embodied, kinetic, subjective, unpredictable, open, non-teleological—are inconsistent with most traditional research methods in academia, I did some research exploring the role of walking in artists’ research and practice. The study looks at walking as a research method in the creative arts through open-ended interviews with seven Canadian artists who use walking as part of their creative practice. The analysis of the resulting data will explore how these artists conceptualize walking as part of their art production, and specifically as a research method for creative work. Artists in the study found walking to be an important way to inform their creative work through sensory connection, embodied experience, collecting and gathering, slowing down, and cultivating curiosity through exploration. Engaging in walking as research-creation praxis myself, I find my walking work draws on similar themes.

Sandra Cowan is an artist, writer, librarian, and pedestrian. Her creative practices are closely related to the terrains she walks, where she gathers sensory, experiential, emotional, relational, natural, and historical material in many forms. She has been artist in residence at the Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics at Medalta, Medicine Hat, and at Casa Community Arts Centre in Lethbridge, and has exhibited work at Casa, at Eastern Edge Gallery and the NL Craft Council Gallery in St. John’s, NL, and at Matrix Fine Art in Albuquerque, NM. She has exhibited in virtual spaces at the Urban Tree Festival, London, England (2020), and Drifting Bodies/Fluent Spaces International Conference on Walking Arts, Guimarães, Portugal (2020), as well as creating virtual and in-person walking art collective practices with collaborator Annie Martin in Lethbridge, Greece, and Spain for the annual International Walking Arts Conferences (2021-2023).  Sandra has presented on walking art and walking research at the Art Libraries of North America conference in Mexico City (2023), the Information, Medium and Society conference in Venice, Italy (2020), the Canadian Academic Professional Librarian conference at Congress (UBC, 2019), and the Lund Urban Creativity conference in Sweden (2019).

Free admission, all are welcome to attend


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