ECLAS Conference 2019, NMBU, Norway

The 2019 ECLAS Conference attracted 250 participants from all over Europe and beyond for celebrating 100 years of landscape architecture education. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences hosted the event where the first landscape architecture study programme in Europe opened in 1919. For the first time, the ECLAS and UNISCAPE annual conferences were combined in order to discuss not only landscape architecture education but also landscape itself as an educational subject.

ECLAS Conference Participants 2019 at NMBU Norway

Paper presentations and workshops focused around the overall topic Lessons from the Past – Visions for the Future. Due to the large amount of relevant abstracts submitted the conference broke off into more parallel sessions than usual. However, the papers could be structured into the following thematic tracks that guided the conference:

  • Pedagogic Methods
  • Digital technology in landscape education
  • Curricula
  • Teaching transdisciplinary approaches to landscape
  • The European Landscape Convention and landscape education
  • Landscape architecture education in a global research context
  • History of landscape education

The thematic programme further included special sessions, workshops and a poster exhibition. All extended abstracts are available online.

For further information, please download the conference proceedings.

Scientific and organisational committee of the ECLAS 2019 conference, from left to right: Lei Gao, Ingrid Merete Ødegård, Morten Clemetsen, Karsten Jorgensen, Anne Katrine Geelmuyden, Shelley Egoz, not on the picture: Tore Edvard Bergaust

The conference concept was conceived and implemented by a local scientific committee consisting of Shelley Egoz, Lei Gao, Anne Katrine Geelmuyden and Karsten Jørgensen. Holding this conference at NMBU Norway would not have been possible without the strong support provided also at institutional and faculty level.

Discussions at the ECLAS Doctoral Colloquium 2019

As usual, the ECLAS conference included also various side events. International PhD students in landscape architecture had the opportunity to meet at the ECLAS Doctoral Colloquium one day before the conference start. The colloquium included a poster discussion in small groups with doctoral students and research supervisors from various ECLAS universities. The workshop allowed for exchange, networking and broadening perspectives on individual research approaches.

ECLAS Heads of Schools Meeting 2019

The ECLAS Heads of Schools Group met on Monday, September 16, moderated by immediate past-president Simon Bell, EMU Estonia. The only discussion point was a possible revision of the ECLAS governance structure. The major conclusion was that the dialogue with the ECLAS member schools on the overall activities of the organization will be supported in the near future by an online consultation process. On that basis, the Executive Committee will be able to better identify which topics need to be prioritized and/or supported by additional working groups.

The meeting was followed by a book presentation led by Karsten Jørgensen on the occasion that also the second ECLAS teaching book is now available. ‘Teaching Landscape: The Studio Experience’ gathers a range of expert contributions from across the world to collect best-practice examples of teaching landscape architecture studios.

The conference audience then went outside to inaugurate the ‘ECLAS Memorial Grove’. The grove consists of a group of six willows positioned nicely at the NMBU Campus. ECLAS and NMBU will develop this grove in the future as a memorial site for personalities that have been decisive in establishing and advancing the European academic community in landscape architecture. The first seven persons to commemorate were Dušan Ogrin, Michael Downing, Mihály Mőcsényi, Pol Ghekiere, Helmut Weckwerth and Egil Gabrielsen. You can read more about their background and contribution to ECLAS here.

The first day finished with the conference dinner during which the ECLAS awards 2019 were issued.

ECLAS Closing Panel from left to right: Tim Waterman, Tessa Mattinei, Anne Whiston Spirn, Attila Toth, Alexandru Mexi, Burcu Yigit Turan

After another second day of intensive presentations and discussions, Tim Waterman moderated a closing panel including UNISCAPE director Tessa Mattinei, the keynote speakers Anne Whiston Spirn and Burcu Yigit Turan, Attila Toth from the LE:NOTRE Institute and Alexandru Mexi representing the perspective of the ECLAS Young Academics. The session highlighted the role of UNISCAPE’s Las Palmas Declaration stating that universities are not prepared yet for discussing landscape in an integrated way.

Thomas Oles from Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala announced the ECLAS conference 2020. The event will take place from September 13-16, 2020 under the overall titled ‘Stop and Think’. More information can always be found on the ECLAS conference website: conference.eclas.org

ECLAS Conference 2019, NMBU, Norway