Docklands re-envisioned through the practice of parkour

Kaylah Joelle Baker

Local parkour and movement coaching organisation Melbourne in Motion is set to take over Docklands on May 14 with a series of hour-long workshops as part of this year’s Melbourne Knowledge Week.

The “Parkour Vision” sessions will take place in and around Docklands upon starting at the Library at the Dock and encourage attendees to engage in the concept of “urban play”.

“We are doing a physical and interactive workshop like we did last year, but this year we are also introducing some simple parkour skills and inviting people to think about how they view the city and construct their vision of the city through an embodied practice,” Melbourne in Motion director and parkour coach Kel Glaister said.

As someone who found her way into parkour after a dislocated shoulder led her to “being afraid of doing anything”, Ms Glaister said parkour helped her feel stronger mentally and physically.

She said the practice also fitted in with the themes of the City of Melbourne festival, which is aimed at showing innovations and inventions shaping our future, due to how it encourages people to use new ways to relate to their surroundings.

“Parkour is really a practice for re-envisioning the city around you and re-envisioning your urban environment for what makes you happy,” she said.

“Parkour vision is essentially an entirely new way to see where you are and understand both the way the city is designed to control your behaviour and how you can play through those designs.”

“We are trying to introduce parkour and other urban related practices as a way to get an embodied understanding that the city is for citizens and for play, joy and movement as well as for all the things it is designed for.”

While Ms Glaister and the team at Melbourne in Motion have a clear vision of how they see their practice, there is a constant box they are put into when people hear the term parkour.

Not wanting parkour to be “pigeonholed” due to videos seen on social media, she said the practice was not something done by only young-abled bodies or thrill-seeking men.

“It’s a misinterpretation of parkour as a practice. One of the core philosophies of parkour is to train for longevity and we want to be training and moving well our whole lives,” Ms Glaister said.

 

This means slowly building up strength and conditioning to protect the body and developing risk intelligence and the ability to assess challenges.

 

Escaping any association with people dangerously scaling buildings and rooftops, Ms Glaister said a lot of the training they did was “almost all at ground level” with modifications being made to suit all levels of fitness, abilities and confidence.

For the Melbourne Knowledge Week sessions, there will be two family sessions at 10.30am and 12.30pm, with a general audience session being held at 11.30am.

A range of more than 100 interactive events, workshops and performances will also take place during the festival running from May 9 to 15, with something for all ages.

“Melbourne Knowledge Week will explore exciting opportunities, tackle challenges and build the skills we need to shape our future – solidifying Melbourne’s status as a university city,” the council’s education and innovation portfolio lead Cr Davydd Griffiths said.

“We want to support inquisitive minds and encourage learning at all ages, and this event is the ideal forum for our great thinkers and learners to come together to exchange ideas.”

For the first time in the Melbourne Knowledge Week’s history, the festival will also carry the name narrm ngarrgu, and both Woi Wurrung and English names will be used across the festival regarding the various themes of the event •

For more information: mkw.melbourne.vic.gov.au

 

Photo: Grant Webster.

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