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Powell's Research Addresses "Walking and Talking"

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Kimberly Powell

When Penn State arts educator Kimberly Powell talks about a “stroll down memory lane,” she means a real walk in a real place, and it’s the walk itself that prompts the memories.

“I’m interested in the ways in which walking can be a form of inquiry into the world,” she says. “Walking as storytelling and place-making, how the simple movement of walking affects and produces people’s thinking about their experiences.”

Powell is intrigued by the ways artists use walking to explore the world and their creative responses to it, and also by the use of walks in the social sciences. Anthropologists, for instance, sometimes interview their study subjects while walking with them; the walking elicits different information than a formal, sitting-across-the-table-from-each-other-style interview.

In a project she calls “Storywalks,” Powell is investigating how walking through a neighborhood with a rich culture and often painful history influences how residents think of their community and their place in it.

For the full story, by Cherie Winner, click here.