Cultural Landscapes Blog

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground
National Heritage Area

The Cutting Edge of Public History:
New Directions in Interpretation


March 28 – 29, 2018
MIB Auditorium | Department of the Interior | Washington, D.C.

The symposium is designed to focus on new approaches and best practices in presenting American history and to showcase leaders in the field. Public history specialists will lead panel discussions on a wide range of topics including new exhibitions on slavery and criminal justice and innovative educational programs for teachers and students. Registration closes March 13th. Tickets are $30. 

Ticket sales close Tuesday, March 13th! Buy your ticket now!

In March, the Landscape Studies Initiative will host a two day workshop at Oak Spring Garden Library and Foundation (OSGF), situating design landscapes within the history of science and technology, in part by building off the Foundation’s rich archival collections. In preparation, on January 26th Beth Meyer and Meg Studer visited the Library, met with the archival team, led by Tony Willis, and discussed research approaches with Dr. Peter Crane,  OSGF’s director (former Dean of Yale Forestry and director at Kew). 

For the OSGF workshop, the Landscape Studies Initiative will focus on a) horticultural practices of plant and soil construction, b) the visual culture of temporal dynamics and adaptations, and c) the global interaction of nursery trades, botanical, and colonial exploration in the 18th-19th centuries.

To those ends, the trip offered abundant entry points for considering the intersections of natural history and scientific discovery with landscape: From amazing prints by the Linnaean illustrator Georg Dionysius Ehret to the cinematic ‘transparencies’ of Carmontelle, the collection provides abundant opportunity to compare, juxtapose, and consider the shifting notions of time - temporal endurance, perception, as well as the nested physiological cycles and extended geological durees – as manifest and amplified in specimen and site. In addition, OSGF’s excellent horticultural and arboricultural manuals – from Duhamel du Monceau’s Du Transport… Du Bois to Amos William’s Minutes in Agriculture & Planting - make visible the influence and mutual inflections of new materials, technological and horticultural innovations on the forms of landscape designed, maintained, and managed across the 18th and 19th centuries.

We’re looking forward to an amazing discussion on how the Initiative’s archival platform can enable compelling access and novel exploration of digitized collections like Oak Spring’s materials. 

This one-day symposium aims to create new cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogues about how gardens often become the locus for gender definitions and transgressions in literature and culture.  The chronological scope of this conference will encompass antiquity to the present, with topics ranging from literature to garden design.  Talks will discuss gardens in Ancient Roman and classical Urdu literature, Hebrew Studies, John Donne, Chinese private gardens, Women as professional landscape designers, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst, and the racial history of UVA's own Pavilion Gardens. 

We seek suggestions for Cultural Landscape Atlases. Tools for speculation as well as reflection, our second symposium funded by the UVA Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes Endowment. This event will take place during the 2018-19 academic year and feature scholars and practitioners in the humanities as well as design and planning. Please send suggestions for possible speakers (including yourself!) and lecture topics to Alissa Diamond, UVA PhD student and Brown Fellow, Center for Cultural Landscapes by April 6.  Please send suggestions to

Symposium background

The Center for Cultural Landscape community seeks to create resources that will increase public appreciation of cultural landscapes as complex records of past values and actions, and to improve professional capacity to imagine alternative futures for those cultural landscapes. One of these resources is a Cultural Landscape Atlas of Virginia that will spatialize a series of select timely topics and networks, such as racialized topographies, food systems and urban form, peri-urban transformations, as well as familiar events that might be re-imagined through new modes of visualization, such as Jefferson’s urban and rural landscapes, the Garden Club of Virginia’s historic gardens, and Virginia’s Civil War battlefields.

So often cultural landscape work is project based, and focused on endangered sites. We desire to work proactively and creatively, explaining through text, maps, photos, diagrams, plans, and section-perspectives the relational nature of bio-physical systems, extraction industries such as agriculture and mining, demographic shifts, and settlement patterns. We think that a cultural landscape approach requires a careful inventory and assessment prior to the need to change, or to evaluate change, as development processes are fast-paced and often at odds with the process of research, documentation, assessment and interpretation.

The 28 th session of the PECSRL biennial international conference – European Landscapes for Quality of Life? – will be held in 2018, at two locations: Clermont-Ferrand and Mende. This general theme encompasses the interactions between quality of landscapes, quality of food and quality of life, the importance of re enrooting food to place as an alternative to the globalization and Health and quality of life in connection with landscapes. 

It will be hosted by the research group “territoires”, an interdisciplinary unit that gathers geographers, economists, agronomists, social and politic scientists from 5 institutions (Agro Paris Tech, Clermont Auvergne University, INRA, IRSTEA, VetAgro Sup). 

The conference brings together geographers, landscape architects, historians, ethnographers, archaeologists, ecologists, rural planners, landscape managers and other scholars interested in European landscapes. The conference offers ample facilities to meet colleagues from all parts of Europe, to get informed about various aspects of European landscape research and to initiate new projects. In addition to paper sessions, poster presentations, workshops and plenary sessions, there will be one full day of field trips to provide the PECSRL participants with a detailed knowledge of some rural landscapes in the Massif central.


This one-week course uses Monticello and the University of Virginia as outdoor classrooms to study historic landscape preservation. Lectures, workshops, field trips and practical working experiences introduce students to the fields of landscape history, garden restoration and historical horticulture. In recognition of generous support from the Harrison Foundation, graduates will be named Harrison Fellows of the Historic Landscape Institute. A fee is charged; application is required. Limited scholarships available for full-time college students or employees of non-profit historic sites. Call (434) 984-9816 or

Link to flyer:

Link to application form:

Way Bay is a sweeping exploration of the creative energies that have emerged from the San Francisco Bay Area over the past two centuries. An innovatively organized exhibition of art and film, plus poetry, performance documentation, and archival materials. Way Bay features nearly two hundred works that reveal the depth and diversity of artists’ engagement with the region’s geographic, social, and cultural landscape.

For more information, visit

To develop the field of garden and landscape studies across different disciplines and to promote the depth and breadth of future landscape scholarship, Dumbarton Oaks, with the support of the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies and in collaboration with the Center for Cultural Landscapes at the University of Virginia, will offer an intensive three-week Garden and Landscape Studies Graduate Workshop from May 13 to June 2, 2018.


Workshop Offerings

Bringing together early-career scholars and practitioners who are pursuing cross-disciplinary research on landscape-related topics, the workshop will focus on key issues and texts in landscape history and theory, situating garden and landscape design in the context of humanities scholarship: from the idea of the Three Natures to the ecological challenges of the Anthropocene and the discourse of landscape urbanism. Special emphasis will be laid on the study of urban landscapes. Participants, typically doctoral candidates in early or advanced stages of writing dissertations and current MLA candidates or recent recipients of MLA degrees, will be invited to share among themselves selected aspects of their work; these morning presentations will be supplemented by afternoon seminars led by Dumbarton Oaks staff and invited scholars. The program will also include two study sessions in the Rare Books Library at Dumbarton Oaks, site visits in the Washington metropolitan area (including Mount Vernon and the National Mall), and a three-day stay in Charlottesville, VA, with a visit to Richmond and James Madison’s Montpelier to explore the racial geographies of Virginia. During their residency at Dumbarton Oaks, workshop’s participants will have access to the institute’s library resources and its celebrated gardens.   


Accommodation and Costs

For the Southern Garden History Society 2018 Annual Meeting, to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, April 13 -15, 2018.

A variety of informative and scholarly presentations will showcase the vibrant garden, architectural, and landscape history in the Jacksonville area, including the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Glen Saint Mary Nurseries (established 1881) and private garden tours. Bart Brechter, Curator of Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston, TX, will speak on historic azaleas, and Bill Noble, garden designer and former Director of Preservation for the Garden Conservancy, will address the group on historic garden restorations and how they have recovered from disasters. More information on the full schedule of events will be available at our website after January 1.  

We feel that the annual meeting in Jacksonville will introduce entry-level professionals and students alike to the unique horticultural heritage in and around Jacksonville. The Southern Garden History Society annual meetings are always immersion experiences that delve into the gardens and landscapes of the American South.

The Society offers scholarships to attend the annual meeting to bona fide college students with majors relevant to the mission and goals of the society and entry-level professionals working in the historic gardening, landscape architecture, and preservation fields. Previous recipients are ineligible except that students may apply for scholarships once while an undergraduate and once while pursuing a graduate degree.  Up to three scholarships may be awarded per annual meeting.