Welcome to walkingborders.com, a website that documents and shares the walks undertaken by Maggie O’Neill as part of her Leverhulme Research Fellowship with a specific focus on borders, risk and belonging.

What is the fellowship about?

Methods on the Move: experiencing and imagining borders, risk & belonging builds upon and consolidates a long history of using walking as a method for doing social research and a long history of doing participatory research with artists and communities on asylum, migration and marginalisation.

Walking methods are particularly relevant, helpful and potentially ground-breaking way of studying borders, risk and belonging given that walking can involve physically crossing borders, going into areas perceived as ‘risky,’ or, literally walking the border. Borders can also be internal[ised] and walking is a powerful route to understand the lived experiences of others as well as eliciting rich phenomenological material.

Taking a walk with someone is a powerful way of communicating about experiences; one can become ‘attuned’ to another, connect in a lived embodied way with the feelings and corporeality of another. Walking with another opens up a space for dialogue where embodied knowledge, experience and memories can be shared (O’Neill and Hubbard 2011).

The intention of the Leverhulme research fellowship is to:

  • explore walking as a method for conducting research on borders, risk and belonging;
  • conduct walking research with participants/co-walkers (artists, academics, researchers & residents in the UK and across the globe) to access their experience and reflections on border places and spaces;
  • advance innovations in biographical & visual/performative methods;
  • reflect on the impact of the collaborative research findings and walks.

This web resource/WordPress site will document the walks in the form of a walking blog that will include the maps, images, sound files in order to contribute to understanding ‘borders, risk and belonging’ in the 21st century.

The project will also reflect upon the social justice impact of the collaborative research findings with the aim of enhancing knowledge and understanding of walking as a method across an interdisciplinary terrain-particularly for the arts and social sciences/sociology.

I can be contacted at maggie.oneill@york.ac.uk or via my website.

This project has been funded by The Leverhulme Trust