Deirdre Heddon (GB) | University of Glasgow

feet deirdreWalking & Friendship

Marking the occasion of her 40th birthday, Deirdre Heddon invited 40 people to take her on a walk of their choice. These varied occasions of walking prompted reflection on what it is to walk with others. In 'Walking & Friendship', Heddon explores the histories and discourses attached to walking in company, as opposed to walking alone; the sorts of companionship walking allows and call forths; the ways in which different walks structure different sorts of being together – the side by side, the stepping into another's footsteps, the mutual pauses, the out of step. '40 Walks' considers how walking and the practicing of friendship are related; how walking and friendship travel together.

Citing examples and writings from the nineteenth century to the present, 'Walking & Friendship' explores what it is to walk with. Heddon proposes companionable walking as an instance of Jean-Luc Nancy's 'being-singular-plural' rather than Emmanual Levinas' face-to-face encounter with alterity. Heddon finds walking an appropriate vehicle for creating, sustaining, maintaining – and in some instances - testing friendship. Through walking, one exercises friendship, providing a grounding and a materialising. Companionable walks are proposed here as collaborative practices in which instances of out-of-step, to borrow from Deleuze and Gauttari, also allow for generous negotiation and a co-authorship between (at least) two. The walks gifted to Heddon for her 40th birthday are revealed as acts of generosity that provide creative ground for the collaborative cultivation of friendscapes.

Deirdre Heddon (GB)

Deirdre Heddon is a Professor in Contemporary Performance at the University of Glasgow. Her publications include Autobiography and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan 2008) and, with Jane Milling, Devising Performance (Palgrave Macmillan 2008). Her recent research – some of it with Cathy Turner – has focused on walking and performance, specifically women artists who use walking as primary material (see 'Walking Women: Interviews with Artists on the Move' in Performance Research, 15:4, 2010 and 'Walking Women: Shifting the Tales and Scales of Mobility' in Contemporary Theatre Review, 2012). Dee is also a contributing author to the edited collection Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts (Intellect, 2009).