City centre, University of Essex, and Greenstead linked by new wayfinding project

PUBLISHED: 11 August 2023

Walk With Words, a new project being launched in Colchester, invites a new generation of walkers to discover a rich archive of creative writing and visual imagery specially produced in collaboration with students from the University of Essex and the wider community.

Designed and curated by Dallas-Pierce-Quintero, in collaboration with Burgess & Beech, the innovative wayfinding posts will encourage people to walk between the city centre, University of Essex and Greenstead. Each post will contain a unique QR code to access a variety of evolving digital content that aims to connect people and place, whilst making the walking route more enjoyable.

The £258,000 project is being funded by S106 contributions from the university student accommodation developments, as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Streets fund.

“We are delighted to be launching this project, which will help to make walking between the university and the city centre and the university and Greenstead more enjoyable and sustainable,” said Cllr Andrea Luxford Vaughan, the cabinet member for Planning, Environment and Sustainability.
“This is a great example of how we are working with partners to encourage more sustainable travel, and we hope that it will encourage more people to get out and walk.

“As well as encouraging walking, which will help to reduce emissions and improve air quality, this project will also help to make the route safer. By making people aware of the possibility of walking the route, we will encourage more walking, thereby increasing walkers’ safety through higher numbers using the routes.”

As well as promoting better travel links between the University of Essex and the city centre, and the university and Greenstead, the project will also help to boost economic links through improved awareness of the university for city centre residents and visitors.

Dallas-Pierce-Quintero, said: “We want people to think of walking as something that can be fun! Our aim is to empower walkers to explore their local area, be inspired by words that encourage creative thinking, maximise the physical health benefits of walking, whilst being mindful and present in their surroundings. Our Walk With Words concept ensures that no one journey will be the same, thus generating new conversations between an ever growing community of walkers.”

Burgess & Beech said: “We are excited to be collaborating with the people of Colchester to unearth hidden creativity in the area and help promote healthy living and exploration. We can’t wait to see the results as the library of digital content grows.”

Dr Daniel O'Brien, Lecturer in the Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, said: “We hope the project will promote wellbeing, connect walking with the imagination, and invite the community to wander together through space and thought.

“This is a really exciting project to be involved with and sees our students working with the local community on a project which fuses mobility, poetry, story and visual imagery.

“Our students will be working closely with the creative team to curate an eclectic database of content – including material from local people - inspired by and accessible through the walking routes developed at the boundary of the city and surrounding countryside.”

Ros Green, Director Essex Book Festival, said: “We are thrilled to be playing a small part in the Walking With Words project. Not only is it a fascinating project in its own right but it has the potential to kick start a plethora of other creative collaborations and opportunities for people living and visiting Colchester, including our Festival HQ, the University of Essex.”

The wayfinding route travels from St Botolph’s along Magdalen Street, Hythe Hill, Hythe Quay, and the Wivenhoe Trail to the swing basin and the university campus. There is also a spur proposed from the university to Greenstead via the Knowledge Gateway, Clingoe Hill and Salary Brook to Avon Way.

The project is expected to be implemented in late 2023.

Page last reviewed: 11 August 2023


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