LI student reps Andy Pringle, Will Dutch and Tin-Tin Azure report on the event, which took place in Edinburgh over the weekend of 17–18 April

The ELASA art installation.
The ELASA art installation.

The recent European Landscape Architecture Student Association (ELASA) mini-meeting was an enjoyable experience to attend as student representatives of the Landscape Institute.

Despite the best efforts of Icelandic geology, the event was a great success with students from all over Europe taking part.

A day workshop in association with NEA (North Edinburgh Arts), which formed part of the mini-meeting, took place in Muirhouse and focused on the design and sculpting of a series of performance spaces that acted as stages for a weekend of events using nothing but turf, imagination and creativity. Members of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh guided participants through the turfing process and provided a series of short talks.

The workshop was filled with a diverse range of activities and lectures that were both stimulating and informative. We felt that the context of the Muirhouse project was particularly relevant, as it addressed contemporary social issues and experimented with methods and approaches to solving problems in areas of cities that have lost their identity and sense of place.

The creation of space in the form of an art installation within the Muirhouse shopping centre was an intriguing concept. By physically creating the installation ourselves, we witnessed how the community began to interact with it during the installation process – giving us an insight that we would not normally get with our exclusive focus on the design process.

A lecture by Eelco Hooftman, director of GROSS MAX, complemented the experience of the day by talking about how a more artistic approach to landscape architecture can positively change both places and people’s lives with the smallest intervention.

Overall, we felt that the day was extremely successful and helped us to start looking at new design perspectives. The fundamental principle of having art as a key driver for change within areas in need of regeneration, demonstrated that it is simplicity that can make the greatest change.

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