To Wander is to Adventure

Breathe in, and breathe out… discover mindful walking with To Wander is to Adventure.

About To Wander

‘When we see things like shadows, colour, leaves. We listen to things, really simple things; water, birds, waterfalls. We notice more things.’

‘To Wander is To Adventure’ is a collaboration between Purple Patch Arts and grassroots arts project Wur Bradford, working with learning-disabled adults to explore creative and mindful ways to walk. For 18 months, To Wander is to Adventure took place in Oastler Market, Bradford; then in September 2020, the project continued, this time over Zoom! A new group of participants were introduced to mindfulness, mindful walking techniques and creative practices.

At the beginning of 2021, we began to co-create digital mindfulness resources with the group to share our experiences and learning. The sessions focused on developing the participants’ mindfulness practices, as well as building their skills in creating and leading their own mindful activities. Consequently, as well as co-creating a variety of mindful walking resources, the To Wander participants were also given the opportunity to visit our Lifelong Learning programmes to present their To Wander work to the Purple Patch Arts community.

The third phase of the To Wander project took place from November 2021 to November 2022. Across the year, the To Wander group co-produced seasonal walks to experience their mindful walking practice together.

A photo of the

Mindful Walking Resources

‘I am walking more, I am looking at colours and objects like the pear tree. I’m learning more about things.’

Learn how to do your own mindful walks and activities using our To Wander is to Adventure resources:

Colouring Ourselves In

A Guided Sound Walk

Tree Meditation

Claire's Shape Game

Hiten's Tree Meditation

Kaitlin's Mindful Noticing

Michaela's Budgies

Our To Wander is to Adventure sessions always include a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who brought mindfulness to the world!

Meet the team who co-created these wonderful resources…

Seasonal Walks

‘I just found it amazing to be together again!’

In November 2021, To Wander is to Adventure returned to co-produce 4 seasonal walks across the 2021/2022 academic year. Each season, the group meets for 4 Zoom sessions, where they continue exploring mindfulness and work together to plan their seasonal walk at Cartwright Hall in Bradford. The in-person walks allow the group to experience their mindful practice together, explore the changing seasons using their senses and develop the friendships they have created over Zoom.

Winter Magic

The theme of our first walk in November 2021 was ‘winter magic’. We began with sessions on Zoom, re-acquainting ourselves with our mindful walking practice. We celebrated the beauty of sunsets, explored bricked up doorways, used our bodies to spell words like ‘drift’ and ‘walk’ and we marked the beginning and end of each session with the lighting of our friendship candle.

To plan our first walk, we thought about what we like about walking, what makes walking accessible for us, we chose a walking destination from two options, and thought about what we would need to bring with us. We chose to visit Cartwright Hall in Bradford, and on the day we experienced some amazing winter magic: snow! We had a magical day exploring our surroundings both in the galleries of Cartwright Hall and in the snowy gardens, using sound, sight, taste, smell and touch.

Spring Noticing

In March 2022, we began our 2nd theme: ‘spring noticing’. We were spring detectives and noticed the changes happening around us. We noticed flowers growing, lambs being born and leaves returning to trees. We thought about what we wanted to grow within ourselves. 

We had beautiful sunshine for our spring walk at Cartwright Hall – it looked very different to our winter walk! As spring detectives, we used our senses to notice the changes around us; what could we hear, see, smell, touch and taste? We all planted a seed and had a mindful moment together, breathing in the spring air. 

Summer Cartographers

Handdrawn map of Cartwright Hall

This summer, we learnt about cartographers. A cartographer is someone who creates maps. We looked at maps of Cartwright Hall to plan where would like to explore during our summer walk. Together, we used our memories of our past walks and our plans for our future walks to create our own map of Cartwright Hall.

During our Zoom sessions, To Wander participants have led the group in meditations, facilitated warm up activities and discussions, and shared ideas, experiences and mindful activities with eachother.

Our postponed walk in July had all the features of a British summer’s day: rainy showers, warm sunshine, blustery trees, picnic benches and watching the ducks! The To Wander group were not fazed by the changing skies – instead, they embraced the changes, listening to the sound of rain as we sheltered under trees and took rubbings of the bark, striding across the park against the breeze to explore new corners and noticing the feel of raindrops on our skin.

We invited our friends and family to join us for our summer walk and so we shared some of our mindful activities with them, including doing mindful breathing together and practicing mindful noticing as we sat by the park lake. We also shared our Thich Nhat Hahn quote with our visitors to officially welcome them to ‘To Wander is to Adventure’!

Autumn Interconnection

The To Wander group are standing together and smiling at the camera. They are stood on the bandstand and the green and yellow autumn trees can be seen behind them.
A photo of the reflection of a puddle. Some of the To Wander group are looking into the puddle and waving.
The To Wander group are walking along a path through green and yellow trees. The path is wet and there are leaves on the floor.

Our final seasonal walk, ‘autumn interconnection’, took place in October 2022. The To Wander group led the day: they decided what mindful activities we would do, where we would walk in the park and led discussions around how we felt at different points of the day. We noticed the wind on our faces, the beautiful colours around us and our reflections in a ‘pool of wonder’! 

In our mindful practice, we learnt about interconnection. Interconnection is a connection between 2 or more things. We learnt about how we are interconnected with the environment around us. As Thich Nhat Hanh says: ‘you are the planet, and the planet is you’. 

To celebrate everything the group had achieved throughout the project, we finished our autumn walk by dancing together on the bandstand. We felt connected to eachother and connected to the earth around us. We were interconnected.

Take a look at some of the activities we did during our seasonal walks. You can use them to create your own mindful walks.

A list of mindful walking activities. The text says 'Our walking ideas list: noticing the different colours we see around Cartwright Hall; see all the leaves changing in all the colours; go to the waterfall; if it's raining, listen to the rain outside and inside; dancing, singing, listening to music; do some mindful walking together; go to the forest; go to the lake; go to the bandstand; hold a leaf and do a breathing exercise; draw a picture on a piece of paper; make a rubbing of a leaf, or of a tree bark, with some paper and crayons; do some mindful breathing near the lake; do our tree meditation; hug a tree; listen to the sounds of the birds; sign our quote for friends and family

Wur Bradford (Wur means ‘our’ or ‘we are’) is a grassroots arts project which explores how we can make our world better through imagination and creative action. Wur Bradford was started in 2015 in a market stall in Bradford and is run by three artists; Jean McEwan, Chemaine Cooke and Uzma Kazi. 

Wur Bradford believe everyone is creative and everyone has a story to tell. They have worked with lots of people, groups and organisations on everything from creative workshops to events and projects like To Wander is To Adventure. You can find Wur Bradford on Twitter and Instagram.

Lucy Barker is an interdisciplinary artist and creative producer, whose work aims to engage a wide range of people in creative processes – as spectators, participants and co-producers. Lucy believes that art can, and should, communicate in new and interesting ways to people from all backgrounds, and through her projects,  she strives to offer fresh perspectives that inspire audiences and participants to make positive personal and social change. You can find out more about Lucy’s work on her website.

A mindful acrostic poem the To Wander team wrote together
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