Past Events

Restoration Roundtables: Dana Nelson

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 11:30am

Location: OpenGrounds

Making the Commons Real

Commons are popping up everywhere—internet sites, professional platforms, neighborhood networks, federal lands, seed banks, time banks, land trusts—everyone wants to be part of one. We're embracing and being embraced by all the solidarity, co-creation, intimacy with the natural world and with each other that we have been starved of by the hegemony of capital. The more we remember this enduring appeal of the commons, the better things will get, the freer we will be, the more abundant life will be. Except, I'm not so sure this characterization captures commons realities, and worse, I worry this romantic conception so prevalent these days neglects what helps commons endure over time. In this paper, I urge that there are reasons to reject romantic framings of the commons as the key to redeeming all that ails us under the regime of modern capital, but very real reasons to pursue them more critically and self-critically because they have much to teach us.


Dana D. Nelson is Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she is Chair of the English Department. She just finished a five year term as founding co-editor of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. She is author of four books (most recently Commons Democracy:  Reading the Politics of Participation in the Early United States), as well as dozens of articles and reviews, and she has coedited essay collections and journal special issues. Nelson’s intellectual interests are wide-ranging, moving from the history and literature of the British colonies all the way through our contemporary moment. She has written widely on literature, history, politics and culture, and has appeared as a guest or expert on Against the Grain, a Radio Pacifica show; American Experience, WGBH Public Television’s history series on Reconstruction; What’s the Word? MLA Radio Series Program; and American Passages: A Literary Survey, sponsored by Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Annenberg Foundation. Previous books include Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People and National Manhood: Capitalist Citizenship and the Imagined Fraternity of White Men. 

Her roundtable will take place from 11:30am-1pm at OpenGrounds. You can learn more about the Restoration Roundtables here

Restoration Roundtables: Keith Bowers on Restoring the Future

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 1:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

For nearly three decades, Keith Bowers has been at the forefront of applied ecology, land conservation and sustainable design. As the founder and president of Biohabitats, Keith has built a multidisciplinary organization focused on regenerative design—the blurring of boundaries between conservation planning, ecological restoration and sustainable design.

His work has spanned the scale from site-specific ecosystem restoration projects involving wetland, river, woodland and coastal habitat restoration to regional watershed management and conservation planning, to the development of comprehensive sustainability programs for communities and campuses throughout the country.

You can learn more about Keith Bowers and Biohabitats

You can learn more about the Restoration Roundtables here


Restoration Roundtables: Kat Imhoff and Elizabeth Chew, Montpelier

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: OpenGrounds

The Restoration Roundtables annual series begins with a presentation from Kat Imhoff, President and CEO of The Montpelier Foundation.

Join us at OpenGrounds to hear Imhoff speak about her 30-year career in conservation and preservation, and her current leadership at james Madison's Montpelier. She and Elizabeth Chew, VP for Museum Programs, will discuss the preservation theory and reconstruction practices behind the last decade of work at Montpelier. They will also view one of the videos on the legacy of slavery that is part of Montpelier's new "The Mere Distinction of Colour" exhibition.

You can learn more about the Restoration Roundtables here

Beyond Representation: Creative and Critical Practice in the Environmental Humanities

Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 9:00am to Sunday, April 9, 2017 - 2:00pm

Many conversations in environmental humanities involve selecting and interpreting scientific data, then adding contributions from humanities fields to that quantitative base. Our symposium asks what happens when the equation is flipped—when we assume that many environmental issues start with the humanities. What questions are we best positioned to pose, and to explore? How can scientists help us, instead of the other way around? How are the humanities particularly suited to explore issues of environmental justice at the intersection of creative and critical practice? Sponsored by the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, with support from the Center for Cultural Landscapes, this Environmental Humanities Symposium will explore these questions through interdisciplinary panels, workshops, and a reading by poet Cecily Parks. All symposium events are free and open to the public. 

For more information and the full symposium program, visit the website.

To register please click here.

Race and Public Space: Commemorative Practices in the American South

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 5:00pm to Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 5:00pm

Location: Campbell Hall

Inaugural Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes Symposium

March 24-25, 2017

Center for Cultural Landscapes, UVA School of Architecture 

The Inaugural Symposium of the Center for Cultural Landscapes, “Race and Public Space: Commemorative Practices in the American South,” investigates the intersections between scholarship and practice around race, memory, and commemoration. The event features Dell Upton as a keynote speaker and a half-day workshop program on Saturday with Mabel O. Wilson, John Mason, Sara Zewde, and other speakers on contested sites of commemoration in the southeastern United States. The workshop program kicks off the Institute for Environmental Negotiation’s initiative to develop guidance for communities and institutions seeking to tell a more complete racial history and change their narrative through the representation of their past history, identity and values. 

This two-day event is sponsored by the UVA School of Architecture Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes & Sites Initiative. The symposium will take place at the UVA School of Architecture in Charlottesville, Virginia. All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required.

For more information and the symposium schedule, click here 

To register click here.

Monuments and Memory: How We Share History

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

For this event of the 2017 Virginia Festival of the Book, photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales (Through Darkness to Light) and author Colin Rafferty (Hallow This Ground) discuss their work and the role of monuments and memory in creating a sense of shared history. Michna-Bales’ original work will also be on display in a photography exhibition at Jefferson School African American Heritage Center through June 30. 

The panel will be moderated by Carly Griffith, Program Director at the Center for Cultural Landscapes. 

Why should you attend?

“[Michna-Bales] creates an archive of historical sites both famous and obscure, discovered through academic inquiry at historical societies and oral histories passed down through generations. Beneath her lens, the land and its remaining structures are forever haunted by the ghosts of the past, reminding us of both our potential for good and evil.”―Feature Shoot

“In this riveting debut collection of lyric essays… the author delves deep into the heart of past atrocities while probing the motivations of the living to memorialize, and he comes to some provocative conclusions… Though fixed on what remains of some of history’s darkest moments, Rafferty’s essays, both gripping and wonderfully reflective, illuminate.”―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Mapping the Green Book and the spaces in between

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

As part of the research roundtable series, join us to hear Jennifer Reut, graduate of the UVA Art & Architectural History PhD and Senior Editor at Landscape Architecture Magazine, speak on her project Mapping the Green Book

Mapping the Green Book began as a research project with a deceptively straightforward objective: To map the sites that were listed in the Green Book, a national guide for black travelers published annually between 1936 and 1964. Nearly every year during that time, the Green Book published a listing of hotels, restaurants, gas stations, hair salons, nightclubs, and drugstores in every state that were known to welcome black patrons. It is a map, in text form, of the changing landscape of racialized space across nearly three decades. 

At the time the project was begun in 2012, editions of the Green Book lived in archives scattered around the country, there was little published research on black travel guides and only a small body of secondary research on black tourism and travel. In the five years since, the context for the project has changed radically. Nearly the entire run of the Green Book has been digitized and made publicly accessible, there is a comprehensive scholarly work coming out in the next few months, a Ric Burns-directed documentary in production, and perhaps most significantly, Black Lives Matter has brought attention to the specter of violence against black people on the road that has echoes throughout the Green Book and other travel guidesThis context has informed the project’s evolution, from a digital mapping proposal to one that incorporates oral history and documentary photography, from one that documents landscapes of black travel to one that includes feminist, economic, urban, and social history.

A Body Incorporate: Patterns and Peoples of the Virginian Municipality

Friday, February 3, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Corner Gallery

The Center for Cultural Landscapes is proud to sponsor the exhibit A Body Incorporate: Patterns and Peoples of the Virginian Municipality, created by Masters of Architectural History student Andrew Marshall. Borrowing the title from Chester W. Bain's 1967 study of the municipal structure of Virginia, this exhibition documents Andrew's travels to small towns across the state to investigate the physical typology of its urban form. Through the view of architectural form as an extension of society's collective consciousness, the project seeks to read urban and building scale patterns to foster the critical practices to interpret and improve the civic realm. Formal analysis as well as the stories of individual people and encounters begins to unveil how these structures serve as a backdrop for our lives as citizens and our work as designers.

The exhibit will run from January 16-February 24, 2017. Please join us for a First Fridays exhibit reception on Friday, February 3 from 5-7pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Reinterpreting the Pollock's Branch Watershed

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

Reinterpreting the Pollock's Branch Watershed is an interdisciplinary mapping project undertaken by the University of Virginia's Center for Cultural Landscapes and led by faculty in the Department of Drama and the School of Architecture. It focuses on the Pollock's Branch Creek watershed which runs south of Garrett Street downtown to Moore's Creek and from Avon Street to Ridge Street. This diverse area comprises much of the IX property as well as several public housing properties and portions of the Belmont and Ridge Street neighborhoods. 

Reinterpreting the Pollock’s Branch Watershed envisions a model of urban, movement-based exploration and storytelling— rooted in Lawrence Halprin’s participatory design process—that can augment the top-down engagement efforts by public agencies and external design consultants. The project methods draw on community-based workshops to explore the psychology and politics of space and reveal the experiential qualities and invisible boundaries embedded within the urban landscape south of the Downtown Mall. These workshops offer alternative ways to “see” the Pollock’s Branch. Through embodied forms of analysis— including movement within the landscape and sensorial experiences—the project investigates the complexities of the project area as it is lived and felt with the potential to amplify future analysis and urban design initiatives undertaken by property owners, the community, and the City of Charlottesville. 

In this research roundtable, listen to Project Directors Rob McGinnis (Landscape Architecture; Center for Cultural Landscapes Fellow) and Katie Schetlick (Drama) discuss the project methods and outcomes. The project website and analytical maps will be shared with the audience to solicit feedback. This event is free and open to the public. 

This project is funded in part by a UVA Faculty Research Grant for the Arts and through funding made available from the UVA Center for Cultural Landscapes, the Department of Drama, and the School of Architecture. Technical geospatial support is provided by the UVA Scholars’ Lab. 

Lawrence Halprin's Legacy: Charlottesville Mall

Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm

In the early 1970s, Lawrence Halprin & Associates was approached by the city of Charlottesville to design a pedestrian street that would revitalize its downtown. Over a period of three years leading up to the US Bicentennial, Larry Halprin and his project designer/manager Dean Abbott, among others, hosted a series of innovative Take Part community participation workshops, created a forty block urban design plan, and designed the core of what is now a lively, eight block pedestrian street. 

Why has this pedestrian street thrived when so many others have failed? Beth Meyer (FASLA), Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture University of Virginia School of Architecture, has organized a field visit that will introduce participants to several reasons for this success, ranging from its design expression to the adjacent constructed environment, from political figures who stewarded the Mall for decades to the urban demographic changes that have occurred since the 1970s. The walk will start with a “tuning score” designed by UVA Dance Lecturer Katie Schetlick to prepare visitors for the tour’s walking experience. The event is free but registration is required. 

Presented in partnership with The Cultural Landscape Foundation and Preservation Virginia, the tour will meet on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall at 1:30pm. For a full tour descripition and to register, click here.

This tour is part of a larger program intended to celebrate the life and legacy of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. Learn more about the program and view other tours by visiting the event page for What's Out There Weekend: The Public Landscapes of Lawrence Halprin.