The Start of Something: Dog Walking for Talking


On Saturday 16th December 2017 artist and academic Ang Bartram led Dog Walking for Talking, the intention of which was to connect artists and other individuals living locally through informal conversation held during the action of dog walking.

This novel approach encouraged three individuals – variously from Lincolnshire, Loughborough to Nottingham – and their dogs to join Ang on the cold pre-Christmas day and talked about dog-specific activities that they could do together in the future. These include a dog/human life drawing session, to see if there is scope for developing activity through more traditional art means and meeting regularly for dog walks, to continue the conversation, which they intend to extend it to other areas in the locality.

The group felt that connecting around a common interest in dogs worked very well, making the individual members of the group immediately very familiar with each other and involving in the conversation other people who were also walking their dogs at that time.


One participant is quoted as saying: “Thanks for our talk and short walk and dog meet yesterday it was lovely to meet you and new people and of course all the furry folk. Making connections is good. However I can’t believe given all our mutual people we’ve never met before, but hey we have now. I would be happy to support a drawing from life – dogs and people day if you’re up for it. And of course you’re welcome to visit the farm and see all our animal crew here. I’ve been for years trying to communicate in the work I make, the care we offer others and animals and how that leads to better self care. But this is for another conversation. I took this photo off the bank of you all yesterday as I left. I watched the dogs run and it made me smile.”

Watch this space for details of further developments. To find out more, or to get involved email:


Dog Walking for Talking

New Art Exchange, Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham

Saturday 16th December, 10.30am -12.30pm

Contact for more details and to get involved

Dog walking is often a solitary experience, a time to be alone with one’s fur-coated companion in the park or when treading the pavements. It provides a chance to find clarity, composure and calm, and a space to think and connect with oneself, with nature and our chosen pet dog. Yet the experience additionally presents opportunities for connection with others, those who may equally be enjoying the same activity, or who may just like animals, interactions that would otherwise perhaps not take place. An open hand offered to a stranger in greeting is a familiar and acknowledged expression of warmth and conviviality, and dogs are often the recipients of such a tender and friendly gesture. For many it is difficult to resist a dog’s approach for affection, and the experience allows for pleasantries and informality between people. For a wet canine nose and wagging tail invites the welcoming touch of a stranger’s hand, and this contact initiates conversation with the humans present. The experience connects more than just human and canine strangers, as it allows people to meet and talk who may not otherwise have had the opportunity.

The intention of this project is to connect local communities through the activity of dog walking to allow informal conversations and to establish a focus group. The project intends to bring individuals and their dogs together to discuss the richness of culture within a diverse community and demographic and ways in which this can be supported. The aim is to open upon possibilities for collaboration and exploration by bringing a group of local artists and members of a community together to discuss issues pertinent to the region. Through the experience an informal and convivial atmosphere is encouraged to flourish, opening up opportunity for future collaboration and developments to emerge. Effectively, the opportunity for walking, talking, doggy pats and strokes will encourage all to participate and contribute with value. It is intended that after an initial session the focus group will become established for the generation of further activities.

We will initially meet for one session at New Art Exchange and take it from there. Come join us with your dog. Email:


Dog Walking for Talking was supported by CVAN East Midlands tis supported through CVAN EM’s project The Start of Something.

The Start of Something is a project which, through conversation, seeks to bring people in the East Midlands together to explore a common goal, share experience and work collaboratively, ultimately to make things happen. Proposals for new conversations are invited at any time and CVAN EM will consider how it might support a conversation to take place to benefit the widest community and make the greatest difference within the region. Let us know if you would like to propose a topic.

Find out more about The Start of Something and the conversations that we have supported to date.