The Body in Place


Our group sensory walk encouraged me to place my physical body at the fore-front of 'knowing' Dartington. During and after the walk, I smelt the wild garlic as more pungent and I felt the earth under the soles of my feet more as damper and more solid. Above all, I heard the birds singing as if amplified- brightly, loudly, tunefully, irrepressibly- a chorus of voices rising from the woods, gardens and quiet corners.

The walk left me thinking about how important our physical body's experience of place is to 'knowing' place, and how necessary exploring somewhere actively, with agency is. I spend time doing more walking, swimming in the river, drawing outside and undertaking a few experimental weaves in the bushes and trees; all in order to get my physical self engaged with the tactile properties, the contours, the flora and fauna of the estate.

I am thinking about how fundamental our relationship to place is, and that we can't 'be' without being somewhere ...

'The crucial point about the connection between place and experience is not, however, that place is properly something only encountered 'in' an experience, but rather that place is integral to the very structure and possibility of experience'
(Malpas, 2018 p31)