Bringing Landscapes to Life
Impact Fellowship's fourth workshop
The aim of the workshop was to explore the enhancement of public value in landscape research by bringing together researchers from projects funded by the Landscape and Environment programme that have a heritage context, and heritage managers and practitioners - notably representatives from programme Fellowship partners the National Trust and English Heritage. Participants were invited to share ideas about enlivening landscape interpretation for various publics, narrating histories of landscape and environment, and representing relations of nature and culture while sustaining landscapes as places of livelihood. The difference heritage designations make to landscape and environment were considered, alongside issues of interpretation, exhibiting and communicating, and encouraging use while conserving for the future.
The day encompassed a great breadth of discussion and effectively illustrated the public value/benefit of the research completed within the Landscape and Environment programme and beyond. Issues raised in the concluding discussion included:
- Boundaries – definitions and control, in delimiting landscape who gets to decide?
- Heritage as a discipline is involved in investigating and debating landscape but is changing to incorporate a rhetoric of change and impending problems caused by changing climates and economic restraints.
- As we shift from things and small sites to landscape it becomes difficult to have a 'landscape preservation' or to 'conserve landscape', we instead adapt to its new form. It cannot be destroyed, only changed. In most cases we are researching people rather than landscape. Who wants change? Public versus private and local versus national. Class is another huge issue in our discussions of landscape – powerful groups of people are involved.
- There is always a need for historical context. In the history of the conservation movement it was the horror of modernity and the feeling that the future was going to be better and more prosperous that spurred action. This optimism no longer exists and affects whether we choose to keep things.
- When considering the public value of the research, the National Trust can act as an instrument for asking questions publically. What kinds of questions do the public have? Are we as researchers addressing them? People need to be involved in asking the questions or they won’t be interested in the answers we produce. What people ought to know – huge success of the British Museums 'A History of the World in 100 Objects' project.
- There is no single public, publics involve powerful interest groups.
Date: 28th June 2011
Location: National Trust, Queen Anne's Gate, London
- Stephen Daniels, Director of AHRC Landscape and Environment programme
- Charlotte Lloyd, Landscape and Environment programme
- Lucy Veale, AHRC Landscape and Environment programme
- Ben Cowell, National Trust
- Graham Fairclough, English Heritage
- Phil Dyke, National Trust
- Keith Emerick, English Heritage
- Tom Freshwater, National Trust
- Pete Herring, English Heritage
- Richard Hingley, Durham University
- Alex Hunt, National Trust
- Gail Lambourne, AHRC
- Colin McEwan, British Museum
- Frank Meddens, Royal Holloway
- Claire Nesbitt, Durham University
- Chris Rodgers, Newcastle University
- Ingrid Samuel, National Trust
- Andrew Spicer, Oxford Brookes University
- David Thackray, National Trust
- Steve Trow, English Heritage
The following Landscape and Environment projects were represented: Tales of the Frontier
, Inca Ushnus
, Contested common land
and The early modern parish church
Key landscape concepts
The following landscape concepts were discussed and referred to throughout the day:
The images above were chosen by workshop participants to illustrate either key landscape concepts or practical problems in particular sites.
Images, from left to right:
- Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales National Park.
- 'Bound' by Philippa Lawrence 2009-10. Commissioned by Meadow Arts for 'Tell It To The Trees' at Croft Castle (National Trust). Image courtesy Meadow Arts.
- St Mary of the Lowes, Scottish Borders.