Landscape Values: Place and Praxis – 29 June-2 July 2016


I don’t usually use this blog to advertise events but this conference, set up by the Centre for Landscape Studies at NUI, Galway, looks to be really interesting in a number of respects. What particularly caught my interest was the following:

“Arranging the contributions around four themes: Place Values; Places in Action; Place Thinking; and Place Governance; the conference aims to reflect and critique the journey of values from their genesis and expression in place, through how they are recorded and documented, to the position they command or are accorded in governance and contemporary social praxis”.

“All of the human sciences recognise the important role that the collective values engendered in place-making have in building and reinforcing community cohesion. However, a 2015 survey by the Heritage Council reveals that, in Ireland, the public rank built and natural heritage equally. In fact, though the gap is statistically insignificant, nature is ranked ahead of monuments and buildings as heritage. This suggests that the values associated with nature are not only scientific, that ecosystems service more than just the biological needs of society, and that topophilia and biophilia are deeply intertwined. In short, place has ecological dimensions which, in terms of management, can be honoured by initiatives such as Natura 2000, Green Infrastructure and High Nature Value Farming”.

Typically, however, many of the cultural values attaching to landscape are expressed only in the languages of poetry and the creative arts. Though uniquely sensitive to the synaptic and protean nature of the relationship between people and place, such expressions are commonly deprived of their force and agency during the decision-making process. When it comes to regional, national and international business and governance, historical and cultural values are usually required to cede to biophysical and economic ones, leading to an inversion of value-hierarchies customarily associated with community projects“.

I know (or have met) a number of the people involved in setting up this conference and, as a result, I’m further encouraged to enthuse about it in advance.

But anyone interested in submitting will need to get their skates  on as abstracts (not exceeding 800 characters) and nomination of one conference theme has to be in by 17:00 (GMT) 27th November 2015 using the online abstract form located on the Landscape Values: Place and Praxis web site hosted by