Landscape architect Ian Lanchbury reports on the LI Midlands Branch’s ‘Space to Breathe’ exhibition at Birmingham’s Artsfest

Landscape Institute Midlands Branch at Birmingham's Artsfest
Landscape Institute Midlands Branch at Birmingham's Artsfest

The Landscape Institute Midlands Branch recently brought the profession of landscape architecture to the forefront of people’s mind at Birmingham’s Artsfest under the promotional title of “Space to Breathe”.

At two key locations in the heart of the city (New Street and Broad Street), the branch displayed a selection of work by regional landscape practices, engaged with the general public, and distributed information on the profession of landscape architecture.

The exhibitions were on display across the weekend with committee members and local practitioners volunteering their time to talk to the public about the profession. Over the Artsfest weekend, more than 300 people stopped to talk, while hundreds of others viewed the exhibitions and took in the information that was on display.

Some of the most promising responses came from speaking to other professions, teachers of art and English were particularly interested in promoting the profession to their students. Other positive discussions were with students looking at career or university options, and potential clients learning about where landscape architects and good public realm and landscape design can really add value to their projects.

What really stood out in conversations throughout the weekend was that people feel landscape architecture, once they knew what it was, has had a really positive influence on the spaces and places people love within the region – from the design of a local play area, the landscape around the midland metro corridor or the experience of using an ecological walkway.

It was a great opportunity to speak to a wider audience, and following an explanation of a landscape architects involvement in all of these areas, the public really began to understand what it is that the profession does.

The event highlighted the need to promote the profession to a wider audience in order to generate an understanding of the landscape architects role in place making, the natural environment and design. This was a positive experience and is definitely something that the Midlands Branch plans to do more of.

Contact Ian Lanchbury or Steve Fancourt for further information at mail.midlands@landscapeinstitute.org

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