Audio walks are increasingly used as tools for city boosterism and tourist promotion, in part because they offer alternative invitations into place; they seemingly personalise the urban experience, they allow multiple stories of place to emerge and they present ‘insider’ knowledge that may be quirky and different. Yet in their desire to open up the city, these touristic audio walks tend to produce particular kinds of place. They present very smooth, polished, choreographed and linearised invitations to place, wherein knowledge is assembled not developed, a route is given not made and, to borrow from Ingold (2007), we become passengers not wayfarers. This paper argues that audio walks are not always like this, they can be more than a geographical given or an instrument of navigation that gives us place ready-made. It suggests, through a focus on the creation and reception of a non-touristic community-based audio walk project within Cardiff, South Wales, that the material line of the audio walk conceals and creates other worlds. These worlds, whether real and imagined, past, present or future, arise through the entanglement of lived experiences that happen in the moment of the walk’s making and doing. Thus, attending to this ‘making’ and ‘doing’, reveals the audio walk as a living and lively encounter with the world; it is an emotional and affective way of making not merely representing place.
- Audio Walks