Major Landscape Institute conference on the value of beauty in time of austerity


    The Landscape Institute’s annual conference on 3 and 4 March 2016 will focus on ‘beauty, function and sustainability in the age of austerity’. The conference in partnership with the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, will consider the challenge of how we value beauty and whether we can afford it in an age of austerity. 
    An impressive line-up of speakers includes Caroline Julian, deputy director of think tank ResPublica; Professors James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett, from the University of Sheffield, who were co-designers of the planting at the iconic London Olympic Park; Andrew Grant, who led the design team on the award winning Gardens by the Bay project at Bay South in Singapore; Professor Brian Evans of The Glasgow School of Art.
    CPD sessions also include:

    • fractured landscapes – hydraulic fracturing and other new energy technologies in the LVIA with Olaf Schroth of the University of Sheffield
    • natural play with Adam White of Davies White Associates
    • the sublime and the picturesque in the contemporary context with Professor Brian Evans of The Glasgow School of Art
    • drawing for landscape architecture from sketch to screen to site with Edward Hutchison
    • soil specification and testing with Institute of Professional Soil Scientists’ council member, Tim O’Hare of Tim O’Hare Associates
    • using green walls in the urban environment to deliver ecosystem services with Professor John Dover of Staffordshire University
    • benefits that trees can bring to Urban Futures with Professor Alan Simson of Leeds Beckett University
    • building green bridges with Kate Ahern of LUC and Clare Warburton of Natural England
    • inclusive design with Helen Allen from hada/David Bonnett Associates
    • closing the gap – how to select trees with Keith Sacre of Barcham trees
    • CIRIA’s SuDS guidance with Suzanne Simmons of CIRIA
    • proportionality guidance with Mary Fisher of LDA Design
    • writing for Landscape with the editor Ruth Slavid
    • plants for pollinators with Helen Bostock and Stephanie Bird of RHS
    • economic benefits of investing in the environment with Thomas Harle and Tim Sutherland of Natural England.

    The conference takes place at  the University of Sheffield over two days and will explore the balance between beauty and austerity. Speakers and topics include:

    • What is beauty? – history, evolution and theory Clare Rishbeth of the University of Sheffield and Professor Brian Evans of The Glasgow School of Art. Professor Evans will focus on the on the essence of the sublime and the picturesque and their contribution to beauty. Clare Rishbeth is a lecturer in Landscape Architecture with a research focus on cultural diversity in landscape experience and design in regard to the urban environment. She’ll discuss beauty for a diverse society. Clare is the principal Investigator for The Bench Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities programme. The focus of this research is on locations where people often 'hang out'. 
    • The pursuit of beauty: a core object or a trivial add-on? Professor Nigel Dunnett and Anna Jorgensen of the University of Sheffield. Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design and Vegetation Technology, and Director of The Green Roof Centre. He was co-designer of the London Olympic Park planting in 2012. His areas of research include green roofs, rain gardens, pictorial meadows, and naturalistic planting design. He’ll present a challenging session about whether the pursuit of beauty as a sole objective could potentially be a dangerous direction for Landscape Architecture. Anna Jorgensen is Director of Research in the Department of Landscape, with research interests in the ways in which people experience, interact, understand and represent landscape especially with wild or natural-looking vegetation. Anna will focus on beauty in landscape architecture and whether we have forgotten beauty and if so, what are the impacts of doing so.
    • Does the focus on function lead to an interest only in the bottom line? Andrew Grant is currently developing the Sheffield masterplan. He is known for a creative approach to ecological/sustainable landscape design and he led the design team on the £500 million Gardens by the Bay project at Bay South in Singapore. The 54 hectare park explores the technical boundaries of landscape and horticulture in an Asian city and won the Building Project of the Year Award at the 2012 World Architecture Festival. Andrew’s session will provide insights from his work in the UK and abroad and also address persuading clients and landscape architects, of the value of both function and the bottom line.
    • Do we all have a right to beauty in an age of austerity? Caroline Julian of ResPublica. Caroline Julian is Deputy Director, Head of Policy and Strategy at ResPublica. Drawing on the ResPublica report ‘A Community Right to Beauty: Giving communities the power to shape, enhance and create beautiful places, buildings and spaces’ Caroline will outline why ResPublica want to restore beauty to the heart of public policy and local planning. Their aim is not simply a matter of introducing new legislation but rather to foster a long term cultural shift requiring a strategic step by step approach.
    • What role does beauty play in planning, designing and reviewing landscape? Clare Devine, Director of the Design Council CABE, will outline how the Design Council CABE deals with beauty in Design Review.

    Day two of the conference will consist of breakout Continuing Professional Development sessions, with site visits in the morning and indoor sessions in the afternoon. Sessions include a guided tour of the Gold Route and a guided tour of Sheffield City Council's 'Grey to Green' project.


    Further information:
    Please contact:
    Nick McClelland, Media Officer, Landscape Institute
    020 7685 2658


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