Who would you hold hands with? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? Your husband or wife? Son or daughter? How about a perfect stranger? Performance maker and artist Rosana Cade is inviting you to do just that on the streets of Leeds this November. Walking:Holding was first strolled out in 2011 following a series of ‘hand-holding experiments’ in Glasgow and has since been presented extensively across the UK, throughout Europe and even as far away as Asia.
The premise is simple: one audience member at a time takes a walk along a carefully designated route, holding hands with a range of local participants. The idea is to challenge prejudices first-hand and consider one’s own feelings and preconceptions about the simple act of hand-holding. ‘The work is focused on the experience of queer and minority identities within a city,’ Rosana says ‘and at the same time is a broader experiment into what can be learnt when two strangers share an intimate moment in public.’
‘Walking:Holding is a performance that centres on connecting with strangers,’ she explains. ‘Discovering the different ways in which we experience our local towns, and exploring what it means to hold hands with different people. The idea for the project comes from my own experiences of holding hands in same sex couples.’
In these modern times, it may be more important than ever to appreciate the experiences and, at times, struggles those of a different gender, sexuality, race or age may go through. It certainly seems to have opened audience member’s eyes in the past; ‘The result is often surprisingly uplifting for people,’ Rosana tells us, ‘having toured the performance to over 30 locations across the past five years, working with local people in each place, my perspective on what the performance can be about has really broadened. The very simple action of holding different people's hands in public is an opportunity to reflect on your own identity and the relationships in your life, as well to get a sense of other people's perspectives and stories, whilst experiencing care and love from complete strangers.’
Walking:Holding will take to the streets of Leeds in association with Live Art Bistro and Compass Live Art from 11–13 November. For a preview of the performance, check out