Walking Memories:

Participant Experiences of the Compass Festival

The Compass Festival, which runs across Leeds bi-annually, commissions interactive live art projects taking place in public spaces.

These works are typically produced through collaboration with participants, whose lives, stories and experiences form a central part of the projects. Compass were interested in uncovering participant’s experiences of participating, which we did through undertaking a series of ‘walking interviews’.

Walking interviews engage participants in their everyday environment, returning to locations that might spur memory and thereby provide deeper insights and more direct and personal interactions. For these interviews, we invited participants to take us on a tour of key locations connected to their collaboration with the Compass Festival and to talk about their memories and the impact the experience had on them, both at the time and subsequently. Through the walking interviews we discovered that memory, community, connection and friendship are integral parts of being a Compass Festival participant. Our findings demonstrate that by involving people in ‘making with’ art work we can learn more about our own communities and build stronger connections with one another.

This report documents the walking interviews mini soundscapes attached to visual maps.

Walking Interviews

Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper: Cornucopia! was the culmination of a 3 year project by Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti exploring and celebrating the rich network of relationships between shoppers, traders and goods in Kirkgate Market.

Four Legs Good

Four Legs Good was a contemporary revival of the medieval animal trials which took place in Britain and throughout Europe, where animals who had been accused of committing crimes were brought to court, provided defence counsel and prosecuted in full hearings before a judge.

Public House

Modelled on the dimensions of the unique fermenting vessel made famous by Tetley’s Brewery, The Yorkshire Square was reimagined by artists Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti (Small Acts) as a four-sided Pop-up-Pub serving brews and views from across Leeds. The four sided structure contained two working bars and over 9 days they invited the public to explore the idea that the pub of the future has many faces.

Museum in People’s Homes

Based on the Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, Joshua Sofaer presented a tour of objects from a portable museum. Using a variety of materials and processes, objects which sometimes have little to no monetary value were transformed into ‘museum standard’ artefacts, worthy of the high value we should place on people, their stories and personal collections.

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