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Mapping A/r/tography Through Walking Methodologies: Walkers As Assessors

Proposition for Mapping A/r/tography:  Transnational storytelling across historical and cultural routes of significance


My family name on my mothers side is Walker.


As we are aware surnames are added names derived from an occupation or circumstances. Your surname can give insight to your identity, where you come from and who you are, and can be associated with tribe you belong to. Throughout history humans have been known by more than one name to distinguish them from other people with the same name. As societies became more complex or were colonised by more complex societies these distinguishing names became fixed and were passed on to the next generation. The nature of the surnames depends on what was important to the society at the time surnames were adopted. Thus hunter-gatherer societies often distinguished individuals by an event, a characteristic or a religious connotation. More technically advanced cultures with a settled society typically derived surnames from occupations, social status or place of residence. Surnames derived from a father's name are common, particularly in societies that were less developed when they adopted surnames.


The surname Walker comes from the Old English ‘wealcere’, which is another name for a fuller. A fuller or walker was a person who trod cloth in a trough in the fulling process, which is mentioned in the fourteenth-century poem Piers Plowman where it is said: Cloth that cometh fro the wevying (i.e. weaving) Is nought comely to were Tyl it be fulled under fote.


Interesting also there is a second occupation associated to the name - A forest officer appointed to walk about a certain space of ground committed to his care. 


This name is very popular in Scotland, the north of England and the Midlands - all areas where my family originated from. It is also suggested that it originates from Anglo Saxon tribes. 


I would like to peruse this as a site for inquiry. As an artist, researcher and educator I would like to propose the name Walker and the occupation and environment it derived from as a site to consider for my own art making.

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