'As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed
the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of
anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one's own room.'
- Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting (1930)
In her essays and diaries, Virginia Woolf celebrated the sense of freedom she
found in walking the streets of London alone, a female wanderer and observer of the city.
100 years later, The Flâneuse Diaries invited women from present-day Bloomsbury to follow in her footsteps.
This participatory writing project invited 25 women to take up the challenge of becoming
21st-century 'flâneuses': wanderers, observers and writers of the city. Starting
out from Bloomsbury's Academy Hotel, 25 flâneuses were given diaries and disposable
cameras, and asked to write, draw, or otherwise record their impressions of Bloomsbury
over the 5 days of the festival.
The diaries revealed a range of Bloomsbury experiences: notes on chatting with strangers
in the park, walking alone at dusk, memories of lovers, celebratory solo glasses of prosecco,
musings on pigeons, and much more, building up a multi-voiced portrait of Bloomsbury seen through the eyes of its women.
Created by Elizabeth Dearnley and researcher and curator Michael Eades for the 2018 Bloomsbury Festival,
The Flâneuse Diaries was an offshoot of their ongoing public art
project The Secret Diary of Bloomsbury.
An exhibition of diary entries is planned for 2019 - follow @BloomsSecret on Twitter for updates.