Interdisciplinary Walks: Investigating the benefits of walking for research

Anna McKay


The Interdisciplinary Walks project was funded by the Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) between May and July 2022. It set out to encourage staff members to think outside their own disciplinary silos whilst getting familiar with University of Leicester surroundings, from the main and north campus to the School of Business at Brookfield, and the Space Park. Consultations with 29 members of staff asking about their interdisciplinary research and favourite walks were conducted via Zoom and recorded for use on the WordPress site <>. Intended outputs from the Interdisciplinary Walks project included an A5 map booklet (with a print run of c.500 copies) drawn by illustrator Amy McKay, web content including edited audio recordings of consultations and accompanying transcripts, and six visualisations of the audio clips created by visual storytelling agency Nifty Fox Creative. This working paper provides an overview of the project as it progressed, with the final sections reflecting upon the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary research and the value of walking and thinking as viewed by academic researchers. The consultations recognised the importance of access to parks and green spaces, and identified four key walking behaviours: walking alone, together, to disconnect, and to focus. The project concludes that by understanding individual preferences in how we walk, researchers can harness the potential of walking as a tool to improve mind, body, and research.

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