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As we start another year I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2015 on behalf of the Executive Committee of ECLAS and myself and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the ECLAS conference in Tartu in September. A New Year message is always a chance to look back at some of our recent achievements and to look forward to the next year.
Development of JoLA
As I am sure you have seen, JoLA has moved from two to three issues per year. This is a great opportunity and shows that the journal is going from strength to strength. It also means more work from the JoLA team, which has also seen some changes last year – the resignation of Bernadatte Blanchon Caillot and Kelly Shannon from the team, the retirement of Karsten Jorgensen and the appointment of Noel van Dooren and Bruno Noteboom as editors. Kamni Gill took over as managing editor and a further editor for articles is to be recruited.
The conference in 2014 took place in Porto and was a great success. Congratulations and thanks go to Teresa Andresen and her colleagues for their superb organisation. The theme, “Landscape as a place of cultivation” proved popular, with a number of sub-themes. This year also saw the pecha kucha session first used in Hamburg in 2013 and a dedicated poster session. The proceedings were available on USB sticks embedded in the conference badges, a very useful innovation. The 2015 conference takes place in Tartu, Estonia, in my own department at the Estonian University of Life Sciences and you check out the conference website at www.eclas2015.ee and you can upload your abstracts at https://eclas2015.emu.ee
Heads of Schools
This group – comprising representatives of faculties, departments and programmes who bear responsibility for running programmes and holding budgets – has developed and become more active. In 2014 a survey to assess the sustainability of landscape architecture education was undertaken and reported to the meeting of the group in Porto. This showed many important aspects to be looked at in detail – recruitment of students, financial viability and job prospects for graduates being key aspects of concern. Adri van den Brink was elected as chair for 2014-2015.
ECLAS Membership Survey
We undertook a wide-ranging survey of members, past members and potential members in order to find out how ECLAS may better serve the existing members and attract more members. The highlights of the results were presented at the Porto conference and members were asked to volunteer to help to support a range of activities related to the ECLAS business plan. The full report will be available from the ECLAS website in due course.
The LE:NOTRE INSTITUTE (LNI), which emerged from the end of the LE:NOTRE series of networking projects has become an independent body under the aegis of ECLAS and needs to obtain its own funding in order to keep the website and other things going. This means that access to the website has become restricted to those of us who pay a fee or subscription as supporters – your old login details do not work now. The aim is for the LNI to be for individuals while ECLAS is for schools. A Forum, following the pattern of Antalya and Rome, was held in Sarajevo and in 2015 is planned for Bucharest. Supporters may receive a reduced fee to attend this. Please consider becoming a supporter and helping us to keep the work of the LE:NOTRE series of projects alive.
A completely new website has been designed and was launched just after the Porto conference. If you have not yet visited it please do so and give us feedback. It uses a different platform and your old login details do not work. We are in the process of organising how the new login system will work – probably it will be a school login rather than an individual one. In the login area are copies of all the minutes of Executive Committee meetings so that member schools can see what is happening.
With best wishes for the coming year
Professor Dr Simon Bell
We have always lived in times of change – this is the only constant in anything – although we often yearn for stability. In recent decades as a result of political upheavals, economic crises, accelerating urbanisation, social transformations, mass migration and environmental pressures the world and the landscape seem to be changing every more quickly. However, there often seems to be no direction to the change – it is more of a state of constant flux – a continuous flow or movement - rather than a perceived transformation from one specific state to another. No one can predict where these changes lead – even with the most sophisticated computer models. Chaos and complexity are the order of the day.
The landscape, as a reflection of the many processes at work, is also in a corresponding state of flux. In some regions, such as the border areas of the former Soviet Union, many economic, social and political transformations have been taking place and the landscape itself has been in a state of flux for some time. Hosting the ECLAS conference in Tartu, Estonia, enables delegates to experience such a region and to discuss many aspects of this and other landscapes in flux.
As an organisation made up primarily of educational institutions we are also used to constant changes or fluxes in the teaching and research environment and we also wish to explore these aspects too, in the conference.
The pre-conference and post conference field trips will allow delegates to see landscapes in flux at first hand and to find out more of the legacies of the Soviet period still exerting their influence on the landscape of the region.
Find all information on http://www.eclas2015.ee
2014 ECLAS Lifetime Awards: Karsten Jörgensen and Krystyna Dąbrowska Budziło
2014 ECLAS Outstanding Educator Award: Angelica Stan
2014 ECLAS PhD Student Award: Wiebke Klemm
2014 ECLAS Master Student Award: Gašper Habjanič
Details see ECLAS Awards page