Walk with Words – Colchester’s new creative way to link people and place through creative storytelling

By George Curley

In everyday life, with various job deadlines and pressures, we’re told to make sure that our mental and spiritual clarity is in check. One of the more recent methods of mental clearing, is walking. Our university and its surrounding area are rich with gravelly footpaths and historic riverside routes. However, me writing about the heritage of Colchester, and you reading it is merely one post. But, the team over at Walk With Words, are materialising Colchester’s history into reality.

Walk with Words is a new way finding project being launched in Colchester that links together the city centre, Greenstead, and the University using 16 roadside-style posts on the pavement.

Aiming to showcase the rich historical tapestry of the city, the posts will encourage people to embark on a walk to interlink well-known parts of the North-Essex location, and its more rustic depths – the lesser-known parts. 

Each post will have a QR code on it, taking the user to a website to post various photos and short stories in a digital memory bank. These posts don’t have to be location specific either, their aim is simply to showcase the creative ingenuity of Colchester residents both students and non-student… over time, the diverse collection of posts will showcase the landscape and the people of Colchester. 

The project will take you through St Botolph’s through Magdalen Street, Hythe Hill, Hythe Quay, the famed Wivenhoe Trail, and to the University campus, you can find the exact route here

The project, which has cost just over £250,000, is being funded by 106 contributions from the university student accommodation developments, is designed and curated by Dallas-Pierce Quintero, alongside Burgess and Beech. 

This project hopes to cross the taboo relationship that University students have with locals that live in Colchester. On a more personal note, up until the end of my second year at Sixth Form, in Colchester, I didn’t even know the University even existed, despite it being a 10-minute bus ride away, or a half hour walk.

Among that also exists a nationwide lack of synergy between locals at a town or city, and the University students that it hosts. In dreaded fear that you might not belong in that place as an outsider, you might feel reluctant to socialise in local places with non-students. Similarly, people who are local to an area but don’t attend universities may feel that socialising is different when there’s a university in town. In most cases, there’s no malice, but just a simple miscommunication taboo that Walk with Words are hoping to break.

Walk with words is a great project, by even greater people. If you want more information, be sure to check out the projects Instagram

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