Past Events

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.

NEH 50th Anniversary Panel

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

The Center for Cultural Landscapes is a proud partner of Human/Tiesa four-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that will be held at UVA from September 14-17, 2016. The Center will present two panels as part of this event on Thursday, September 15 at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. All events are free and open to the public. 

The first panel, titled "Community & Identity: Cultural Heritage Practice in the 21st Century," features archaeologists and historians working with diverse historic and contemporary communities in projects supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities — the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery; the history of Native American societies in the Chesapeake region; and Immigrant Stories Digital Storytelling Project and Archive. This session addresses a fundamental question – how can cultural heritage enrich the narratives of American history by bringing out stories that have been omitted, silenced or excluded?  How can the involvement of local communities reshape those narratives?

The second panel is titled "Confronting Race and Memory in the Charlottesville Heritage Landscape." It will turn to the local spaces and objects of Charlottesville, specifically the historic interpretation of enslavement at the University of Virginia and recent debates about the Confederate memorial landscape. 

For many information on these panels, please visit the Human/Ties website

From "Indian Camp" to "Morven": The Rural Virginia Landscape as History and Multi-Layered Research Site

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

In this roundtable talk, historian Scot French will discuss his efforts to periodize and visualize the local-global dimensions of U.Va.'s Morven estate, with a focus on the social, economic, and environmental impact of key changes in ownership and occupancy.  French will highlight six key transitions: from Native American/Indian "camp" site to British-American colonial land grant in the 1730s; from Carter family "great estate" to Wm. Short-owned/Thomas Jefferson-managed experiment in land and labor reform, 1790s; from small-scale tenant farming to large-scale plantation slavery under David Higginbotham, 1820s; from chattel slavery to post-emancipation labor regimes and race relations under D.G. Smith, 1860s; from agricultural production to stud farm and garden estate under the Stone family, 1920s; and, finally, from Kluge-owned "great estate" to U.Va. Foundation real estate holding and multi-disciplinary research site. French will share his interactive visualization, "Notes on the Future of Virginia: The Jefferson-Short Letters, 1787-1826," and discuss his plans to publish an edited volume based on the original argument and evidence presented there.

May Research Roundtable

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: OpenGrounds

The May research roundtable will feature a collaborative session led by affiliate members Liz Sargent (ASLA LEED AP, Landscape Architect, Principal Liz Sargent HLA) and Rachel Lloyd (RLA, LEED AP; Landscape Architect, Senior Associate, AECOM) on how their practice intersects with climate change issues.

Although cultural landscapes are inherently dynamic in nature, climate change has begun to introduce forces that threaten to unravel the fabric of our historic landscapes as we know it and alter or destroy the meaning we ascribe to important places. Climate change presents us with a major new preservation challenge, one that suggests new approaches to cultural landscape preservation, protection, and documentation will soon be needed. Cultural landscape specialists need to begin to organize a set of responses and decisions about how to address the threat of climate change. Through recent work on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Everglades, and the Farnsworth House, Liz Sargent has begun to consider these issues, and to share them through a series of papers presented at conferences, and in an article recently published in the UPENN journal Change over Time as part of an issue on climate change edited by Robert Melnick of University of Oregon. Rachel Lloyd is also increasingly asked to consider issues involving climate change in her work, including the post-hurricane recovery of a major historic boulevard in Galveston, Texas, and planning for a new national historical park located in the region devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Liz and Rachel will frame a discussion about the challenges posed by climate change, and some of the emerging approaches for addressing them, through the lens of recent project work. The discussion will consider questions such as: What can we learn from historic responses to disaster? What does “preservation” mean in the face of such change? And are all cultural landscapes worth saving?

Over the Tracks: Cultural Landscapes of Urban Food Production

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: Bridge PAI

This project by Matt Scarnaty (UVA MLA/MARCH Candidate 2017) draws from a body of research focused on food heritage in Virginia and expands that work by examining the specific spatial qualities and social legacy of productive cultural landscapes in the neighborhoods south of downtown and the main rail line in Charlottesville. Synthesizing empirical evidence and oral histories, this analysis illustrates the neighborhoods’ urban development through the lens of food production, processing, and distribution landscapes.

The goal of this project is not to depict a comprehensive history of the area, but instead to add another layer of interpretation by demonstrating the connection between food processing, products, people, and places. Ranging in scale from the backyard to the region, and in time from the antebellum period to the twentieth century, this analysis demonstrates the enduring legacy of these productive “foodscapes.” Understanding how productive cultural landscapes were common features of the historic urban fabric that greatly contributed to the collective identity of this place and its people is vital to current attempts at re-configuring the neighborhood today. 

Observatory Hill Walk

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

The April research roundtable will feature Nancy Takahashi (Department of Landscape Architecture) and Garth Anderson (Facilities Historian). Their talk will focus on the history of Mount Jefferson (aka Observatory Mountain), the wooded rise marking the western edge of the UVA Grounds. Their research has created a new narrative maintaining that the topographic and hydrologic relationship between the hill and the Academical Village was the prime determining factor in the expansion of the university through the mid-1900s.

They will also explain how the university’s early dependency on the hill for water, building materials, and heating, shifted to an entirely new dependency in the era of an expanding 20th century university and the age of modern science.  Their talk will begin with a look at the historic maps of the University and end with a walk on Mount Jefferson to the spring whose water influenced many phases of the university’s academic departments and its physical development.

The tour will begin in the Observatory Mountain Engineering Research Facility Room M011.


Morven: A Landscape Laboratory—Past, Present, and Future

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 2:00pm

Morven presents an extraordinary learning laboratory examining 4,000 years of human and agricultural history; among the layers are Native Americans, 18th century tenant farmers, 19th century slaves, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurial business experiments, landscape design, and equine history. Under the leadership of School of Architecture Dean Elizabeth Meyer, the University’s Center for Cultural Landscape is creating an atlas of this diverse and important cultural landscape.

Please join moderator Beth Meyer and panelists—Morven Program Director Stewart Gamage, Rivanna Archaeological Services Principal Stephen M. Thompson, Professor of Environmental Science Manuel Lerdau, and Landscape Architect Thomas Woltz—as they discuss their work to record the layers of Morven’s history and help shape its future as a global destination for investigation of these issues and topics in a complex and ever changing world. 

A selection of items from U.Va’s Special Collections related to Morven’s history and cultural landscape will be displayed 30 minutes before and after the 2:00pm presentation.

Data Visualization of Cultural Heritage Sites: The JUEL Project, Chaco, and UNESCO

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Alderman 421

Please take a break this Friday April 1 from 12:00pm to 2pm and join us for our Cultural Heritage Moment!  We will be providing lunch in Alderman 421 and a stimulating panel on: “Data Visualization of Cultural Heritage Sites: The JUEL Project, Chaco, and UNESCO”.

Panelists include Worthy Martin (IATH), Will Rourk (UVA Library), and Andrew Johnston (School of Architecture) who will be discussing the importance of collecting, preserving, and visualizing the enormous datasets from World Heritage sites such as the joint UVA/Monticello site and  Chaco Canyon as well as the efforts to make the data accessible through CYARK.

It’s a week of Cultural Heritage in a year when the preservation of the world’s heritage is so much in our minds.  Come have lunch, relax, and learn about the Library’s partners in the field.  Please RSVP to Ruth Dillon ( )  so we have a count for lunch.