Learning Across Boundaries (LABs)

*Closed* Walking Like Woolf: A Modernist Study of Place

February 2020

A Spring LAB led by Dr Carissa Foo

LAB DATES: Friday, 21 February – Saturday 29 February, 2020

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: To apply, please complete the LAB application on Symplicity (search posting ID 2970) by Sunday, 29 December 2019 at 11:59pm SGT.

Students from all majors and class years are welcome to apply to this LAB. Priority will be given to students who have not participated in a LAB in the last academic year (excluding Week 7 projects).

CO-PAY: S$1200
Some need-based financial assistance will be available for Yale-NUS students with demonstrated financial need. There will be a separate application for financial assistance after students are selected for the LAB. Exchange/visiting students are welcome to apply for Spring LABs, but are not eligible for need-based assistance.


  • This project involves long periods of walking outdoors (three to five hours a day) in cold, rainy weather, and uneven terrain.
  • Participation in this LAB is contingent on obtaining a tourist visa for the UK (if applicable, depending on nationality). This process can be more difficult for some passport holders. If you have questions about the visa application process or likelihood of obtaining the visa, please reach out before applying for the LAB.
Have Questions?
Annette Wu
Executive, Experiential Learning

Contact with questions about travel fellowships and LABs.


This LAB is an intensive literary study of place—including its phenomenological and creative bearing on the artist. With the literature of Virginia Woolf as anchorage, supported by contemporaneous theoretical frameworks such as those offered by Georg Simmel and Gaston Bachelard, we will explore the cultural city of London and examine how the sensorial experience of walking cultivates inner landscapes. The LAB begins with grand narratives of the city and neat tourist packages of Englishness, then proceeds to complicate the tidiness with niche pockets of spaces within (the intellectual and cultural hub of Bloomsbury, the uptown Mayfair and Westminster, the East End and Poplar), further foraying south into East Sussex and finally to the pier city of Brighton. Place is the idée fixe of this LAB, and central to the study of Woolf’s conception of the city and the importance of walking are questions of how we perceive and navigate spaces, how we describe and document spatial experience. We will track and appreciate the evolution of the capital city and its infrastructure as it figures in Woolf’s essays (“Street Haunting,” “Literary Geography,” “Evening Over Sussex”), as a gateway to modernist sensibilities and treatment of space. What might emerge from this LAB is an awareness of our material existence and relation to the city, and how we express and capture experience through one’s own personal writing and creative practice.

Please note that given the rain and cold weather in late February, the grounds will be muddy and wet. Since this is a walking-intensive LAB, including three to five hour walks every day, expect to be trekking slippery, muddy and marshy land in the drizzling weather. Good stamina, water-resistant coat and shoes with good grip, waterproof linings are required.