The Walking Neighbourhood has a simple premise: children companion audience members on a curated tour around a specific part of a city, community, venue or site. This is a new way to see and experience places, spaces and buildings in public and private. Children are in control of developing the artistic experience, guiding an audience, navigating the physical space and sharing their experiences of autonomy all the while creating new friendships with people they do not know.

The experience starts from a location designed as a Departure Lounge. Over an hour and half children lead a small portion of the audience on a walk. In some instances these walks explore local businesses, other times the children present a story, a discussion about issues they feel are important, visit sites of interest or create a small performance.  Upon return to the departure lounge audience members are encouraged to choose a second walk to provide a different perspective of the neighbourhood. After completion of their second walk the performance ends with a return again to the departure lounge where audience members interact with instillation based activities, a small cinema, a sound gallery, art works created by children and a live evolving map which they can add to.

Conceived during residencies with Mammalian Diving Reflex in 2 schools, Tasmania Australia and Toronto Canada, where 11 year olds shared very similar concerns about their lack of autonomy, The Walking Neighbourhood responds to the rising hysteria around children in public space and their safety.

In each of the residencies to date, children walked, took photos, mapped, observed, danced and skipped their way around the neighbourhood whilst interviewing local people, shop keepers, community members, icons and identifying places of neighbourhood significance and notoriety.

For more information about the project please see The Walking Neighbourhood Website

Art & About Sydney:
Kings Cross Sept 20 – 22 & Redfern Sept 27 – 29

Anti Festival, Kuopio, Finland: Sept 27 – 28

Creative Team

Lead Facilitator: Lenine Bourke
Co-Facilitators: Nathan Stoneham, Jane Jennison, Karen Batten, Verena Curr, Soraya Del Castillo, Larissa Deak, Louise Phillips
Local Artists: We can also collaborate with local artists during the residency.

Production History

Premiering in Brisbane in August 2012 The Walking Neighbourhood involved 12 diverse, interesting and energetic kids leading walks around Fortitude Valley in Brisbane. The project toured in 2013 to Thailand exploring the old city of Chiang Mai and then to the Aboriginal community of Bagot in Darwin as part of the Darwin Festival.

Production Notes

– The Walking Neighbourhoods involves from 10 – 20 children/young people aged 8-13, this can be negotiated to suit the project.
– The show tours with a company of 2 professional artists that will be based the neighbourhood for 2 weeks, as a residency. During this time they will work with local artists, technicians, volunteers, the children and local businesses or community members to develop this custom made event.
– The number of performances can be negotiated but usually results in 4 shows over a weekend at the end of the residency. Other activities such and key notes, masterclasses, community meetings and media can be incorporated across this time.
– The Walking Neighbourhood can be performed in a wide range of spaces, from theatres, studios, community halls, centres, indoor and outdoor spaces. The artists design this space to appear as a Departure Lounge. This lounge acts as the front of house and base for the project, the walks depart from this location into public spaces and return upon completion.

Please contact us for complete tech specs.


The Walking Neighbourhood was created by Lenine Bourke in collaboration with various partners. The early stage of the work was created with Mammalian Diving Reflex (Canada), then more recently Contact Inc (Australia). Other partners to acknowledge include: Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art, DFAT, GABFAI, Darwin Festival, Bagot Community, University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Queensland.