Practising Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation Symposium, 19 & 20 March 2020

Professor Ross Sinclair prepares for the Symposium, 8 March 2020

Postponed due to COVID 19.

Practising Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation is a symposium organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the School of Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art. The symposium was due to take place on 19 and 20 March 2020, as the closing event that informs an exhibition of work, under the same title, by Reading Landscape Research Group members. Both the exhibition (which ran until Tuesday 17 March 2020) and the symposium were to be held together at The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Ticket costs £20 and £70, with allocation of free tickets to GSA Postgraduate Taught and Research students.

The symposium will be re-scheduled later in the year. 

The format of the Symposium includes two invited Keynote speakers – Ingrid Pollard and Dr Louise Purbrick – followed by thematic sessions chaired by a respondent from the Reading Landscape Group.

Presentations contributing to the Symposium, were selected through an open call and double peer review process. The symposium continues to draw on themes informed by an exhibition.They further the discussion of four key themes of interest:

– Histories (including land ownership, commons, cultural perspectives, border territories, heritage and preservation);

 – Wild spaces (including peripheral territories, deserts, forests or ideas of remoteness);

 – People and Place (including alternative voices and experiences of landscape including embodiment and auto-ethnographic practices);

 – Contentious Landscapes (including sustainability, interventions, conservation and ecology).

About the Speakers:

Keynote: Ingrid Pollard

Mixed-media artist and researcher, Ingrid Pollard uses digital, analogue and alternative photographic processes, also incorporating printmaking, image-text and artist books, installation, video and audio. Pollard studied Film and Video at the London College of Printing and MA in Photographic Studies, University of Derby and holds a PhD from the University of Westminster. She was one of twenty founding members of Autograph (the Association of Black Photographers), and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, Pollard was the Inaugural Stuart Hall Research Fellow in the same year. She has worked as an artist-in-residence at a number of organisations, including Project Row Houses, Houston Texas, US, 2004; Croydon College of Art, 2011; and Glasgow Women’s Library, 2019. Her work has been exhibited widely, including Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum & Photographers Gallery, London; NGBK, Berlin; the Caribbean Cultural Centre, New York; the National Art Gallery of Barbados; and Camerawork, San Francisco. In 2019, she received the BALTIC Artist Award and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award.

Ingrid Pollard is presently in residence at Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL), as part of Glasgow International 2020. Having taken part in GI2018 with Deep Down Body Thirst, curated by Radclyffe Hall, Ingrid returns to Glasgow and the festival with a new exhibition exploring Lesbian history and culture.

Keynote: Dr Louise Purbrick (Principal Lecturer, History of Art, University of Brighton)

Louise Purbrick is an academic and activist who works on sites of political and ecological violence. With Ignacio Acosta and Xavier Ribas, she is part of the Traces of Nitrate collective that has examined the historical legacies of nitrate mining the Atacama Desert, Chile. Their recent photographic installation, Trafficking the Earth (2017), has been exhibited in London, UK, Santiago, Chile, and Huesca, Spain ( Louise has written widely on the remote or neglected places of exploitation, conflict and imprisonment. She is an editor with Jim Aulich and Graham Dawson of Contested Spaces: Sites, Histories and Representations (Palgrave, 2007) and co-author with John Schofield of ‘Brixton: Landscape of a Riot’ published in Landscapes (2009). She is currently completing a book, ‘An Architecture of Conflict: A History of the H Blocks’. Louise Purbrick is Principal Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Brighton.


Seán Laoide-Kemp (Masters by Research student, IADT Dún Laoghaire), Landscape as Witness: Aftermath Photography, Oral History, and Ethnography in Representing the Public Works Scheme of the Great Irish Famine. 

Joe Crowdy (PhD student, Oslo School of Art and Design), ‘Writing Rack Fen: 1583-1606 and 2019-20’ 

Dr Frances Robertson (Lecturer, Design History & Theory, The Glasgow School of Art) ‘Alien Introductions: trees, memory and landscape history’

Wild Spaces:

Dr Nalini Paul (Lecturer, Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History & Theory, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘Embodying Language in Wild Spaces: Place, Memory and Transformation’

Dr Elizabeth A. Hodson (Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘The Posthuman Sublime: The Art Practice of Katie Paterson’

Sam Nightingale (PhD Candidate, Goldsmiths, University of London), ‘Salt: a crystal image of time’

People and Place:

Nicky Bird (Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practice, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘Raging’

Jordan Whitewood-Neale (M. Arch student, University of Brighton), ‘Epistemological Hinterlands: Non-Normative Embodiment and Sublime Perceptions of Landscape’

Dr Jo Vergunst (Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen), ‘Exploring landscape decision-making with the arts: agency, scale and temporality’

Contentious Landscapes:

Minty Donald (Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice, University of Glasgow, artist), ‘Erratic Drift: approaching human geological performance’

Jane Brettle (Practicing Artist) ‘Mine – walking’

Jasper Coppes (Artist/ tutor, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague), ‘Nature Represents Itself’

While the exhibition had at its heart contemporary art practice and practice-led research in diverse visual disciplines, the Symposium also welcomed proposals from a diverse range of disciplines – such as archaeology, architecture, design, ecology, geography, literature, music, virtual reality etc – and reflected in contributions from the selected twelve speakers that respond to the themes in inter-disciplinary ways.

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