During the summer, Mistra Geopolitics Research School organized a two-day “walkshop” titled, Walking into the Environment at the island Finnhamn in the Stockholm Archipelago. During the stay, they combined in-depth discussions of research projects in progress and explored ‘walking’ as a methodological practice.
Mistra Geopolitics Research school during the walkshop
In recent years, walking has increasingly been used as a tool for creating knowledge, in particular in more ethnographic research. After reading some central academic work about the theoretical foundation of this method, we tried to apply these techniques and explored how the walks – by stimulating the use of our different senses in experiencing nature and the weather – also stimulated and enabled certain discussions and forms of knowledge. Some of the themes discussed were: what kind of knowledge and discussions could ‘walking’ help to stimulate, and what are the limitations? How could ‘walking’ be employed as an explicit tool in the wide range of activities in our work as researchers and teachers?
Thereafter, we used the method to discuss our various PhD processes. We found that the walk was helpful in creating open and constructive discussions about a topic that, otherwise, could be difficult to discuss in a more traditional seminar setting.
Besides stimulating discussions, we also got the opportunity to spend time together while preparing our meals, taking the first swim of the year, and exploring the beautiful island’s track.
Eva Lövbrand, co-director of the Mistra Geopolitics programme and Maria-Therese Gustafsson, head of the Research School, participated in the walkshop together with the seven PhD students that are part of the programme.
Written by: Maria-Therese Gustaffson