The ICOMOS Canada National Conversation on Cultural Landscape (NCCL) launched its monthly online discussion series as well as its website this fall. The first speaker in the series - Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, VP for North America of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes - looked back in her presentation on the last half-century of landscape thinking in heritage conservation and identified three perspectives - ecological, indigenous and non-Western - as key opportunities and challenges for current and future cultural landscape thinking. The second speaker - Marta Farevaag, Principal of PFS Studio, Vancouver - presented her own evolving thinking on cultural landscapes through a set of her firm's case studies. Both discussions were informative and stimulating and drew participants from across the country and overseas. More speakers are planned and will be announced on the ICOMOS Canada NCCL website. In November, Willowbank’s Lisa Prosper and Victoria Angel were both elected Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. They are shown below with other newly elected Fellows and keynote speakers Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson at the 2015 Royal Canadian Geographical Society Annual College of Fellows Dinner held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. At the 2015 Annual Meeting of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL) held in November on Jeju Island, Korea, Lisa was elected a Contributing Member of the committee for a three year term. The ISCCL "promotes world-wide cooperation in the identification, increased awareness, study, education and training for protection, preservation, restoration, monitoring, and management of cultural landscapes". Also in November, Lisa joined panellists from across the heritage field, including architects, planners, archaeologists, curators and authors to present on the Cultural Landscapes panel at the Ontario Heritage Trust Cultural Heritage Symposium in support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s development of the Ontario Culture Strategy. Lisa spoke to the ecology of place that is fostered when a cultural landscape approach is taken in assessing our heritage places, ”Rather than limiting our understanding of cultural heritage to discrete tangible heritage resources, what if we also thought of cultural heritage as the everyday ecology of places that is the amalgamation of all that we do in places, how places look and feel, the complex history of places, the economy of places and the representation of places understood in relation to the physical features, or absence of features, both natural and man made in a given geographical area. Cultural landscapes provide this conceptual framework for understanding the ecology of places as an integrated whole." Centre Associate and Dean of Faculty Julian Smith travelled to Australia in November to be a keynote speaker at the annual conference of ICOMOS Australia entitled Fabric. He then travelled to Bangalore, India to present at the ICOMOS India International Conference of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration and the International Committee on Historic Towns and Villages entitled Conserving Living Urban Heritage: Theoretical Considerations of Continuity and Change.
Now that Willowbank has a growing number of alumni, and our profile is reaching further and further afield, the Centre has introduced an Associate category to identify a small group from within the Willowbank community who shares an interest in cultural landscapes. The Centre is pleased to introduce inaugural associates Julian Smith, former Executive Director of Willowbank, and current Dean of Faculty, and Angela Garvey, the first recipient of the Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellow. Each Cultural Landscape Fellow will automatically become a Centre Associate upon graduation - next up will be Juliana Glassco, currently undertaking an internship at the World Heritage Centre in Paris. ICOMOS Canada elected a new president this spring as well as new members to the board. Christophe Rivet takes over from Centre Associate and Dean of Faculty Julian Smith as the new President of ICOMOS Canada, and Centre Director Lisa Prosper was voted to the ICOMOS Canada Board of Directors for a three year term. The ICOMOS Canada AGM was held in Edmonton this May and was an opportunity to see first hand the work being done on Whyte Avenue using the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) framework.
Capitalizing on the goodwill and camaraderie developed in Florence, along with a strong sense that Canada had a significant contribution to make on the subject of cultural landscapes, a small working group of ICOMOS Canada members, including the Centre's Lisa Prosper and Susan Buggey Fellow Angela Garvey, have begun efforts to facilitate an ICOMOS Canada National Conversation on Cultural Landscapes. More to come soon. Also in December, the interview with Centre Director Lisa Prosper conducted by Ron van Oers during his visit to Willowbank in July 2013 was published in Reconnecting the City: The Historic Urban Landscape Approach and the Future of Urban Heritage, edited by Francesco Bandarin and Ron van Oers. In March, Lisa travelled to the Isle of Vilm, Germany to take part in the final workshop of the Connecting Practice project, which is a joint initiative of ICOMOS and IUCN seeking to define new methods and strategies to support nature and culture through engagement in the World Heritage Convention. "The Connecting Practice project aims to explore, learn and create new methods of recognition and support for the interconnected character of the natural, cultural and social value of highly significant land and seascapes and affiliated bicultural practices." Over the course of four days, the final workshop of 23 participants from 12 countries heard presentations on the three pilot field trips and made a series of key suggestions on lessons learned and next steps for the initiative.
Every three years, ICOMOS hosts a combined General Assembly and Scientific Symposium. This year was the 18th ICOMOS General Assembly entitled Heritage and Landscape as Human Values, held from the 9th to the 14th of November in Florence, Italy. The event gathered over 1650 participants and guests from 94 countries and saw 73 ICOMOS National Committees represented. Centre Director, Lisa Prosper and Susan Buggey Fellow, Angela Garvey joined a large contingent of Canadian ICOMOS members from across the country attending the event. Led by ICOMOS Canada president Julian Smith, the group gathered informally to talk shop and share experiences at the Assembly, as well as to engage in some strategic discussions regarding Canada’s role at the international level. Also, congratulations to Angela, who presented at the Scientific Symposium.
In part to accompany the announcement of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales agreeing to become the new Royal Patron of Willowbank, Julian and Lisa were invited in May to participate in The Prince’s Roundtable on Urban Sustainability in Winnipeg. Hosted by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, urban thinkers from across the country were invited to give their thoughts on urban sustainability in Canada. The Prince joined the discussion and shared his thoughts on what sustainable communities meant to him. Julian and Lisa were honoured to meet The Prince of Wales on this occasion as well as the evening before as guests of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba at a reception held in honour of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Also in May, on the occasion of the ICOMOS Canada AGM, Lisa was invited to give the annual Martin Weaver Memorial Lecture at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa. Her presentation entitled Why Landscape suggested that landscapes can promote certain shifts in the conceptual framework for heritage thereby making room for the emergence of a more diversified and integrated heritage practice.
In February, Lisa was honoured to be the plenary speaker at the 2014 Heritage Saskatchewan Forum entitled The Landscapes of Living Heritage. Held in Saskatoon, the Forum brought together a large and diverse audience of heritage professionals from around the province. Her presentation, Looking to Landscape: Shifting our Approach to Heritage, outlined some of the characteristics and advantages of a cultural landscape approach to heritage. March brings with it the annual University of Montreal Roundtable hosted by the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, Christina Cameron. This year’s theme, Exploring the Cultural Value of Nature: A World Heritage Context was in part a response to some of the challenges raised by the Canadian nomination bid of Pimachiowin Aki to the World Heritage List. The deferral of the nomination bid by the World Heritage Committee has prompted a closer look at how the World Heritage Convention might better accommodate future nomination bids like Pimachiowin Aki that demonstrate a close bond between nature and culture. Julian and Lisa were privileged to join an esteemed group of national and international colleagues around the table and the proceedings have proven a significant contribution to this important discussion. Willowbank students - Angela Garvey, Sahra Campbell and Angus Affleck - joined colleagues from Carleton University and the University of Montreal as rapporteurs for the two-day event.
Graham Fairclough Guest Lecturer In November, the Centre was very pleased to welcome Graham Fairclough to Willowbank. Graham spent the day with our second year students discussing heritage through the lens of a landscape perspective and informing us of recent developments in landscape policies in the UK and Europe. Graham also joined us as our guest later that evening in the Bright Salon as the Willowbank community gathered for the Per Neumeyer Bursary Dinner. Graham is Director of the Landscape Research Group as well as Strategic Research Adviser at Newcastle University, both in the UK. He led the development and implementation of Historic Landscape Characterisation at English Heritage and has worked with the Council of Europe on the European Landscape Convention and the Faro Convention. His activities and research focus mainly on historic landscapes, interdisciplinary landscape studies, as well as heritage and archaeological resource management. Graham is also joint Editor of the British journal 'Landscapes'. Director's Activities November was also the occasion of The Niagara Foundation's annual Living Landmark Dinner where Lisa Prosper was the evening's guest speaker. In December, as part of the Centre's activities under the recently signed MOU with the UNESCO-affiliated Shanghai-based World Heritage Institute for Training and Research in the Asia-Pacific Region (WHITRAP), Lisa and Julian travelled to UNESCO headquarters in Paris to participate in a meeting reflecting on the implementation of the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) two years after its adoption. The HUL Recommendation is a new framework that aims to integrate conservation of the built environment into the wider goals of sustainable urban development.
In May, upon the invitation of UNESCO, the Director of the Centre for Cultural Landscape, Lisa Prosper, presented at The Hangzhou International Congress Culture: Key to Sustainable Development in China. Over 400 experts from around the world gathered to focus on the linkages between culture and sustainable development. Given the absence of culture from the Millennium Development Goals, this occasion provided an historical opportunity to contribute to the post 2015 global sustainable development agenda. The event culminated in the Hangzhou Declaration Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies. Aside from the privilege of participating in this important event, travelling to China and being part of a UNESCO initiative were both thrilling firsts for Lisa. The annual Willowbank lecture series, renamed as the Willowbank Lectures, turned its attention to the urban milieu this year. Urban Dwelling: Creative Ways to Engage with our Shared Urban Landscape brought together a diverse and provocative group of speakers to discuss innovative, collaborative and sustainable ways of engaging with our shared urban landscape. We were privileged to have Gustavo Araoz, President of ICOMOS, as one of our speakers as well as Owen Rose and Andrew Emond from Montreal, Amy Lavender Harris from Toronto and John Schofield from the University of York in the U.K. The Willowbank Lectures also experimented with travelling off-site to the Young Centre in the Distillery District in Toronto and The Pearl Company in Hamilton.
As part of the open consultation process undertaken by the city of Toronto on the occasion of the five year review of the Official Plan, the Centre for Cultural Landscape has made a written submission to the Planning and Growth Management Committee regarding the adoption of proposed new amendments to the Heritage and Public Realm Policies. The submission describes a Willowbank understanding of cultural landscapes and how this perspective, if adopted, might help to promote a more holistic regulatory framework.
Spring was a busy time for the new Associate Director, Lisa Prosper, who presented at two international forums. In May, she presented at the 15th US ICOMOS Annual International Scientific Symposium in San Antonio, Texas. The event entitled World Heritage in the Americas: Confluence of Cultures celebrated the 40th anniversary of UNESCOs World Heritage Convention and the nomination bid of the San Antonio Missions to the World Heritage List. Lisa participated in a thematic session on cultural sustainability, where she presented Aboriginal Perspectives on Renewing and Revitalizing Cultural Meaning in Place. In early June, directly on the heels of this stimulating event, Lisa also presented at the inaugural conference of the newly formed Association of Critical Heritage Studies in Gothenburg, Sweden. This was a large gathering of academics from around the world meeting for the first time to share research and take stock of the field of heritage thought and practice through critical analysis. Lisa's presentation was entitled Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes and Designation.