Copenhagen Walking Seminar

Activity: Other activity typesOther (prizes, external teaching and other activities) - Other

Anna Mann - Editor

What is the walking seminar?
The idea is that talking-while-walking enhances thinking in ways not attainable behind a desk or in a seminar sitting down. Moving our bodies, our thoughts are set in motion as well.

How does the walking seminar work?
This ‘enhanced thinking’ is enable through the following structure.
Practically, the walking seminar starts by participants gathering in pairs. In these pairs, for the first 20 minutes, the first person’s research project is at the center of attention. Then, there is a signal and you switch attention to the second person’s research project. After these 40 minutes, there is a signal and you switch partners. This happens until the walk ends.

What does the walking seminar do (and not do)?
Each seminar proposes one topic through which to think about your current work. Topics that have been discussed previously included: How to relate to literature? How to deal with politics? On whose terms to write? And what is the question?
The topic that we propose and about which we prepare questions is an offer for you to think and talk from a different angle than the ones you are used to about your work. You can use the topic and its questions, but, obviously, do not have to.
The seminar, thus, provides analytical input to help you articulate the arguments that you are in the process of developing in your work. It is not intended as a format to discuss how one organizes one’s work as an academic. (Having said this, as walks draw to an end, conversations do shift and participants end up chatting about their everyday lives as academics and human beings.)

What has happened in the past?
Usually, at the walking seminars around Amsterdam, we took a break at some point. If our path crossed a café, we stop there. And sometimes, some of the participants went for a beer on a terrace or ended up having dinner together in a cheap restaurant.

How does the walking seminar travel?
We have used the walking seminar format during a department retreat. It was a three-day retreat and, in this context, it was a way to get our bodies moving for three hours after a morning in a conference room. We have also organized a walking seminar the day before the 4S/EASST conference 2012 in Copenhagen started. In this case, it was an occasion for colleagues/friends to meet up earlier already and catch up on work.
If you would like to use this format, please go ahead and walk with it through other situations and sites!

By whom is the walking seminar set in motion?
The Walking Seminar is a format that has been invented by Annemarie Mol and started in 2010 at the University of Amsterdam. Between 2010 and 2014, Annemarie Mol and I organized the walking seminar in Amsterdam. Since 2019, I am offering walks-talks in and around Copenhagen.

You want to participate in the Copenhagen Walking Seminar?
Send an email to and I will add your email address to the mailing list that will you keep updated about upcoming events.
You want to get more impressions of the Walking Seminar or the topics (and their questions) of previous walk-talks?Visit
2019 → …

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