Which Way Now?

Part of Changing Play
Jun 2018 – ongoing Free

Artist Sam Curtis invites children from the Portman Early Childhood Centre to lead walks through the Church Street area of Westminster, London.

The practice of child-led group walks, in which each child takes turns in deciding which way to move around their neighbourhood, draws from Tim Ingold’s idea of ‘wayfaring’: being open to possibilities and being alive and responsive as you move. Wayfaring contrasts with ‘transport’, which is destination-oriented and the mode that most adults use as they move through the city.

Which Way Now? supports children to explore and deepen their connection to the neighbourhood they live in and asks that their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the place they live are given value. The project builds on lived experiences and recognises children as producers of knowledge about themselves and their community. It asks: how might we learn to rethink the city by listening to children as they navigate the local area?

The project centres the voices and experiences of children, including neurodiverse and disabled children. Some of the children involved do not primarily use verbal language to communicate. The project explores how movement, gesture and image-making might open up a richer dialogue between adults and children about the places in which they live.

Available from December, the book Which Way Now? emerges from the project and presents documentation from the walks as a series of visual essays, exploring children’s experience of the neighbourhood, and revealing both the barriers that inhibit their movement through the city as well as the poetry and wonder of the everyday. The accompanying toolkit for educators supports investigations of local urban environments and reflections on how to bring early years and primary school settings into closer conversation with their neighbourhood.

Changing Play is an ongoing partnership with the Portman Early Childhood Centre in Westminster, which brings together artists, children, families, and educators to critically reconsider early years education and care.


Curated by:

Alex Thorp, Curator, Education
Jemma Egan, Assistant Curator, Education

Joanna Slusarczyk, Assistant Curator, Education


About Sam Curtis

Sam Curtis is an artist and curator based in London. Collaborating with a range of people from diverse areas of work and life, he develops projects that provoke, question or subvert our ideas around creativity, economy and labour.

Building relaionships and trust are key to the conversations he fosters; from which unexpected collaborations grow. For over 10 years he has used his day jobs as platforms or starting points from which to develop practice and projects. This has been a useful way to navigate precarity and has become a vehicle for inhabiting the grey areas and permeable boundaries between art and life. Informed by two years working as a fishmonger in Harrods, he now runs the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, an organisation that explores how fishmongery intersects with art, individuals and society. During a six-year period working in education as an outreach tutor within the homeless sector, he co-founded and facilitated Seymour Art Collective (2009-on-going), a group of artists who have experienced homelessness. He currently work as a curator at the Bethlem Gallery situated within the Bethlem Royal Hospital, the gallery supports artists with lived experience of mental illness. Sam graduated from Goldsmiths MFA programme in 2008 and has exhibited across the UK, Europe and the USA. His work is represented by Division of Labour.

The Portman Early Childhood Centre

The Portman Early Childhood Centre provides education, care and family support services for young children and their families living in the Church Street area of Westminster, North London. These include a nursery school, adult education classes, family support, employment services, parenting groups and workshops.


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