INTERVIEW with SHELLEY SACKS on U.S. BLOG-RADIO on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EDT (New York) / 5:00 p.m. London Time

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Walking as embodied practice – a work in progress, solitary and participatory acts


I have been walking for many years, automatically in getting from (a) – (b) and mindfully, purposefully walking. One foot in front of the other – we may take it for granted as much as breathing. But what if we pay attention to what happens when our bodies walk? Or when we can’t walk??

2012 –  2013 Over a series of weekends for several months, as an experiment, walked the Oxford Green Belt Way as a circumambulation close to the city where I live – to see what I can see, what occurs, what emerges. To see how my walking body stirs my imagination and what arises. And in those who joined me for stages of this.



‘Paths and their markers have long worked on me like lures: drawing my sight up and on and over. The eye is enticed by a path, and the mind’s eye also. The imagination cannot help but pursue a line in the land – onwards in space, but also backwards in time to the histories of a route and its previous followers….”

Robert MacFarlane (2012) The Old Ways; “Paths”


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Secrets of a local environment

I’ve been walking here almost daily over about 5 years and it never ceases to leave me in a state of wonder. It’s full of surprises and changes all the time – throughout the day as well as each season. These pictures are as close to what I see with my mind’s eye as possible.
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Cathedral of the Trees

An Invitation

For a fine early autumn evening…soon…nearby

First meeting – Last Day of British Summertime

Further meetings tba…

Come and lie in trees –

 And capture shafts of light.

Gather inner images

To illuminate darker months and places

If you would like to take part in this contemplative work for storing images, please leave a message on this blog. Bring a notebook, pen or pencil,waterproofs

This is a participatory work in progress. Updates will be posted here

You may wish to read Isis Brook: ‘Goethean Science as a Way to Read Landscape.’

Landscape Research Vol 23 No1, 1998 p51-68

Our words will be transformed into Imagining Posts…coming soon…

 Post 1 

What is this life if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?

(William Davies)

Post 2

Last Day of Summer

She lay on her back, feeling the cool damp earth through her raincoat. Peace descended as she meditated into the tree-tops. High arches and fans, interweaving fingers, intricate patterns of shimmering leaves and shafts of light. A cathedral of trees. Transcendent. She flung her thoughts and feelings up and out into the trees. A paradise of brightness, colour and form.
‘You don’t need to die to find this kingdom. You have to be very much alive – here and now.’
The branches moved, the whole field of vision swayed, an all- encompassing swell as the noise of the wind rose. She held onto the ground to stop her self from sliding. Motion sick, her whole being was transported.
She looked intensely, in order to imprint this onto her mind, to impress the sensation on her body, to feel it so she could bring it back in the darkest days of winter.
“Follow the wind”, her friend had said.
Then she let the outer world be blown in, like a hurricane thrusting open a door. She breathed it in to her consciousness, mingling hers with the being of the Earth. Inspiration.

(Microscripts H Fox 2011-12)

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Barefoot Walks and Talks

‘An old ancestral affinity between the human foot and the solid ground is replenished by the simple act of stepping outside without shoes’ (Abrams). Human beings are exact instruments’ (Goethe). Can we be more mindful to the state of the earth when we also sense it through the soles of our feet? Come and join a Barefoot Walk, attend to your powers of perception and share our experience in a discussion.

Several walks with discussions were led by four artists to explore how we sense the world when we make contact skin –to- skin between earth and one of the most sensitive parts of the body. There will also be global participation as an Earth Summit 2012 Event.

Helena Fox in collaboration with R Rosch, N Solomons and J Kernon. Oxford. ‘At the place where the water mint grows, crush a leaf in your fingers and imagine cows standing there at the end of a long hot day, swishing their tails and blinking. Then up the steep little bank into the meadow. Here is an unexpected hazard – just as one places ones foot onto a springy soft looking patch of tiny clover leaves, hidden minute thistles would prickle and penetrate the sole. Does the meadow really want people there? The streets had carried us along in our own man-made comfort, but, here, perceiving some reciprocity from the earth, I felt it was gently rejecting us – or maybe just trying to keep us at bay..’Not brutalized with asphalt and concrete, it may be quietly trying to keep itself to itself’…
Natasha suggested making a map to note where we changed direction or stopped and imagined. I would call these ‘imagining posts’ rather than signposts.’ (HF Walk 1st Oct 2011).

For more reflections and images…please click on page for Barefoot Dialogues.

We were inspired by David Abrams (2010) ‘Becoming Animal, An Earthly Cosmology’ as well as Goethe’s way of observing.

If you would like to share any reflections from your experience in joining us, please leave them on this site under the post ‘Barefoot Dialogues’.

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“Anaesthetic to Aesthetic” in Medicine

Medicine is full of emotive and ‘soulful’ images. Not only those we witness with our eyes, but those we picture in our mind’s eye along with individual thoughts, feelings and sensations.  Our imagination is very rich. What  happens when we attend to these inner images, use our powers of perception and stay in touch with our intuition? 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has just published a thesis on ‘Intelligent Kindness: Reforming the Culture of Healthcare’ (Ballatt and Campling 2011). New ways of seeing and attending to our powers of perception are timely. Maybe aesthetic appreciation and artistic processes can  make an impact by raising awareness for more humane and compassionate care.

Here, images and a short participatory piece are used as ‘tools’ for stirring the imagination and generating discussion.

Helena Fox MA Social Sculpture, Oxford Brookes University 2011. Continued as PhD 2012 – current. For more…please see section on dashboard of this website.



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Your messages are invited here:

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