Walking Meditations: Becoming Place, Place Becoming


  • alexandra fidyk university of alberta




synaesthesia, animated, bodies, attention, attunement, resonance, feeling


Interwoven through four lyric snapshots of haptic relations with place—Saskatchewan, New York, South Africa and Egypt—this philosophic rumination considers the primacy of preconscious bodily feeling to learning. Perception at base level is described as synaesthetic—the whole body sensing and moving in relation to agential landscapes. The tangled snapshots embody inter-multi-sensorial experience so to mirror the ways our bodies exist in relation to things seen and unseen. Together, the two texts, two voices, step in support of walking pedagogies as a profound praxis in service to becoming, an unfolding always underway with place, even distant and unfamiliar. Highlighted as embodied and explored, matter central to an earthly curriculum are the methods of slow, attuned, disciplined attention and somatic resonance.

Author Biography

alexandra fidyk, university of alberta

Alexandra Fidyk, professor in Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta, teaches curriculum studies, advanced research (hermeneutics, poetic inquiry, depth psychological inquiry), analytical psychology and trauma studies in relation to education. Her current research offers intercultural and transgender pathways for mental health in school contexts.


Abilene. (2018, July 9). Medical discover news: Synthesia may provide clues as to how the brain is wired. Abilene Reporter News. https://www.reporternews.com/story/life/2018/07/09/medical-discover-news-synthesia-may-tell-how-brain-wired/764055002

Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world. Vintage.

Abram, D. (2010). Becoming animal. An earthly cosmology. Pantheon. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14688417.2010.10589067

Ackerman, D. (1990). A natural history of the senses. Vintage.

Anderson, J. (2004). Talking whilst walking: A geographical archaeology of knowledge. Area, 36(3), 254-261. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0004-0894.2004.00222.x

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801-831. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/345321

Basso, K. H. (1996). Wisdom sits in places: Notes on a Western Apache landscape. In S. Feld & K. H. Basso, Senses of Place (pp. 53-90). School of American Research Press.

Casey, E. (1996). How to get from space to place in a fairly short stretch of time: Phenomenological prolegomena. In S. Feld & K. H. Basso (Eds.), Senses of Place, (pp. 12-52). School of American Research Press.

Casey, E. (2001). Between geography and philosophy: What does it mean to be in the place-world? Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 91(4), 683-693. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/0004-5608.00266

Cytowic, R. E. (1989). Synesthesia: A union of the senses. Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-3542-2

Feinberg, P. P. (2016). Towards a walking-based pedagogy. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 14(1), 147-165.

Fulton, H. (2010). Walk. Visual Studies, 25(1), 8-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14725861003606696

Gallagher, W. (1993). The power of place: How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Harper Collins.

Gasset, J. (2011, November 29). C. C. Benison: The landscape in which I live. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/afterword/c-c-benison-the-landscape-in-which-i-live

Heyrman, H. (2005). Art and synesthesia: In search of the synesthetic experience [Paper presentation]. First International Conference on Art and Synesthesia, Universidad de Almeria, Spain. http://www.doctorhugo.org/synaesthesia/art/.

Horowitz, A. (2013). On looking: Eleven walks with expert eyes. Scribner.

Ingold, T. (2010). Footprints through the weather-word: Walking, breathing, knowing. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, S121-S139. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01613.x

Ingold, T. (2004). Culture on the ground. Journal of Material Culture, 9(3), 315-40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183504046896

Ingold, T. (2000). The perception of the environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. Routledge.

Irving, A. (2010). Dangerous substances and visible evidence: Tears, blood, alcohol, pills. Visual Studies, 25(1), 24-35. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14725861003606753

Irwin, R. L. (2006). Waling to create an aesthetic and spiritual currere. Visual Arts Research, 32(1), 75-82.

Jardine, D. (1998). “The fecundity of the individual case”: Considerations of the pedagogic heart in interpretive work. In D. Jardine (Ed.), To dwell with a boundless heart: Essays in curriculum theory, hermeneutics, and the ecological imagination (pp. 33-52). Peter Lang.

Judson, G. (2018). A walking curriculum: Evoking wonder and developing sense of place (K-12).

Keller, C. (1996). From a broken web: Separation, sexism, and self. Beacon.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. Hyperion.

Lippard, L. R. (1997). The lure of the local: Senses of place in a multicentered society. Norton.

Mencher, S., & Cytowic, R. (n.d.). Music and the brain podcast [transcript]. Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/podcasts/musicandthebrain/transcripts/loc_musicanndthebrain_cytowic.pdf

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception. Oxford University Press.

Ogg, A. (2020, November 9). “Pleasantdale.” Cree Literacy Network. http://creeliteracy.org

Pink, S., Hubbard, P., O’Neill, M., & Radley, A. (2010). Walking across disciplines: From ethnography to arts practice. Visual Studies, 25(1), 1-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14725861003606670

Püschel, A. (2017). Layers of reality. Perception study of a Synaesthete. The Eriskay Connection.

Solnit, R. (2001). Wanderlust: A history of walking. Verso.

Springgay, S., & Truman, S. E. (2019). Walking methodologies in a more-than-human world: WalkingLab. Routledge.

Stevens, W. (2007). Poem of the day: Tea at the palace of Hoon. In N. Alvarez (Blogger) Poem of the Month. https://ninaalvarez.net/2007/05/04/poem-of-the-day-50/ (First published in 1921)

Van Campen, C. (2009). The hidden sense: On becoming aware of synaesthesia. http://www.daysyn.com/vanCampen2009.pdf

Weil, S. (1947/1999). Gravity and grace. Routledge.

Whitehead, A. N. (1953). Science and the modern world. The Free Press. (First published in 1925)

Whitehead, A. N. (1941). Process and reality. The Free Press. (First published in 1929)

Whitehead, A. N. (1957). The aims of education. The Free Press. (First published in 1929)




How to Cite

fidyk, alexandra. (2021). Walking Meditations: Becoming Place, Place Becoming. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 18(2), 103–118. https://doi.org/10.25071/1916-4467.40660