On 25th November 2013 Walking Interconnections held a stakeholder workshop, at which the research findings and insights were presented and participants invited to engage in a cycle of analysis with the research team and co-researchers. More than 40 people attended, drawn from a range of stakeholder organisations including Bristol City Council.
[Members of the audience during the discussion session at the end of the proceedings. The photograph shows half the room audience.]
Approximately 100 photographs and 17 maps were displayed at the workshop, with written commentaries by the walking pairs. In addition an ‘audio walk’ was performed – this was a 30-minute script by Dee Heddon, transcribed and edited from original audio-recordings of co-researchers’ experiences of walking, performed by the research team, and facilitated by Dee Heddon (a Professor of Contemporary Performance). The audio-walk allowed people to listen and to imagine walking as if walking in other’s shoes.
The impact of the research
Having disseminated these insights at the stakeholder event in Bristol, we were keen to understand the enduring impact of our research. Reflective, written responses to that local event indicate the potential for these findings to impact on organisations’ engagement with disabled people – people with knowledge – as they plan their sustainability policies and practices.
We asked workshop participants what they would be taking away from the workshop, having heard and discussed what we had found.
These are some of the responses they wrote on postcards:
“I would like to improve access to cycle routes for everyone and to work on making cycle routes feel more welcoming to all users.”
“Access – underlying meaning: Struck by the richness of skills required by disabled that could be tapped, potential …”
“Keep Walking for Health in mind to support/be part of the research. [We] will support where we can!”
“Only 2 disabled people in 900 photos. This demonstrates the sensitivity to built environment. Also close relationship between attitudes and urban environment.”
“Two out of 900 statistic: wonder if we fall into the trap of noting only physical/mobility disability, maybe statistic higher if wider disability noted.”
[These comments are referring to the fact that out of the approximately 900 photographs taken as part of this project, only two people with physical disabilities were captured unwittingly in the background.
“Surface choices e.g. cobbles. The problem of ‘kissing gates’. Pavement parking. Ensuring access is designed into TEMPLE QUARTER development. Rebalancing the image and behaviour of ‘people on bikes’ not cyclists!!”
“Strive to make all ‘walks’ accessible. There is no point starting with a bus journey!”
“The need for improved information that meets all needs. Higher priority for accessibility in policy making. Better risk assessment when making changes”.
“The enormous potential for cyclists and people with disabilities to work together to address the areas of conflict and for mutual benefit. Also we have 2015 coming up. Our year as European Green Capital. Millions will be spent. We need to build on your work to ensure the environment, sustainability and disability focus are a key part of the year – and its legacy – and help make it the best Green Capital year yet!”
To read more of the responses from this session click here for the pdf document.