Aidan’s MA in History from Cambridge University was a highly appropriate education, he claims, for his ‘first career’ in furniture design and cabinetmaking – itself an admirable preparation for 20 years of writing for, editing and directing almost all the UK professional design magazines. As director of Aidan Walker Associates, he now creates, curates, presents and chairs conference and seminar programmes such as the International New York Times’ Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha, Qatar, the conference and seminar programmes for Design Shanghai and Grand Designs Live, and the British Institute of Interior Design’s annual summer conference. Having recognised the sea change in museum culture, he is delighted to be working with the Leading Culture Destinations Awards to interpret and promote that change. His book ‘The Ecology of the Soul’ is due for publication in 2015. Aidan lives in rural Sussex, UK, with his family, his dog, his Ducati motorcycle and his guitar.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
Vincent's self portrait, the 1889 one with all ears intact. No idea where I would fit into it, but this painting made me go hot and cold all over when I first saw it at the age of 19, and it still does.
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
Two writers: Patrick O'Brian, whose historical fiction 'Aubrey / Maturin' series of 20 novels about the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars are as fine, nay finer, than any novels in the English language – including Dickens, Austen and Trollope. Then James Ellroy, a deeply disturbed and darkly psychotic American crime writer who takes the aforesaid English language to the abbatoir, dismembers it in a vicious literary bloodbath and re-assembles it as a shadowy hunchback with a vicelike grip.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
This has to be about my book, The Ecology of the Soul: A Manual of Peace, Power and Personal Growth for Real People in the Real World, which is coming out late 2015 or early 2016. This is no small thing for someone like me. All my working life has been about other people's ideas, and finally I get to publish my own. The word 'design' appears in it once, I think.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
Barcelona. What other city can even come close to adopting the twisted imagination of Antoni Gaudí as its defining genius? It's warm, it's sexy, the hot chocolate is divine. And there are a couple of Picassos knocking about, if you get tired of the twisted genius aforesaid.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
1. Helping turn Leading Culture Destinations into the global influencer it should be, of course.
2. The book: www.theEcologyoftheSoul.com