Unruly Landscapes

While the vast numbers of publications dedicated to the study of landscape over the past half-century might suggest that there is little more to say on the subject, the infusion of new perspectives from scholars working across a range of disciplines vis-a-vis the new mobilities paradigm, non-representational theory, posthumanism, the digital humanities and geohumanities has ensured that debates in the field are as lively and innovative as ever from a theoretical, methodological and critical perspective. In addition, the past decade has seen visual artists – working across a variety of mediums – make an important contribution to these debates by encouraging us to see, and experience, the landscape in different and sometimes strikingly counter-intuitive ways – hence the ‘unruly landscape’ focus of our title which was inspired, in part, by Jen Southern’s recent exhibitions (see Unstable Landscapes and Unruly Pitch, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts).

Co-hosted by CeMoRe (Lancaster University) and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Mobility & Humanities (University of Padua), this one-and-half-day colloquium brings researchers from across the humanities and social sciences together to share their recent work on ‘mobilised landscapes’ of different kinds. The objective is to debate not only our ever-expanding theoretical and experiential understanding of landscapes and lifeworlds, but also to focus on the way in which landscape, broadly conceived, can function as a context, image or tool, to address the most topical and urgent issues of our times connected with diverse mobilities such as migration or mass tourism, the urban and the climate emergency and our transition to low-carbon lifestyles. For example, in what ways can we use our complex understanding of ‘landscape-as-practice’ to help society and culture negotiate the period of rapid environmental change and disruptive urban dynamics that we are now embarked upon? How can we imagine, live and narrate landscapes differently oscillating between the past, the present to possible futures?

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Landscape and/as Climate Emergency
  • Changing Landscape Practices
  • Contemporary Archaeology and the Changing Landscape
  • Re/Disappearing Landscapes
  • Landscapes of High and/or Slow Mobilities
  • Landscapes of Migration/Migratory Landscapes
  • Urban Unruly Landscapes
  • R/Urban Entanglements in Mobile Landscapes
  • Mobility, Memory and Landscape
  • Sensory Landscapes
  • Changing Roadscapes
  • Transforming Transport Corridors
  • Synergies or Conflicts between Landscape Justice and Mobility Justice

KEYNOTE LECTUREEarth, Sky, and the Ground Between

Tim Ingold

The ground is a surface, says the dictionary, upon which things or persons stand or move. But this leaves many questions unanswered. What kind of surface is this? Does it have one side or two? Does it cover the earth or cover it up? Can you roll it, fold it, cut it or make holes in it? What lies above, and what beneath? Does the ground separate the earth from the sky, or is it formed in their intermingling? In seeking to answer these questions, I shall argue that the ground is caught in a double movement, of opening up and closing off, formation and encrustation, thanks to which its inhabitants are at once confidently supported and precariously afloat. Herein lies the art of burial.

Tim Ingold is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen where he has worked since 1999. He is one of the world’s leading social anthropologists and has brought many new and unconventional perspectives to the study of the environment and human social life through his focus on movement, knowledge and description. His more recent publications – all of which have been of major significance for sociologists, geographers and mobilities scholars as well as anthropologists – include The Perception of the Environment (Routledge, 2000), Lines: A Brief History (Routledge, 2007), Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description (Routledge, 2011) and The Life of Lines (Routledge, 2015) as well as the edited collection (with J. Vergunst) Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot (Ashgate, 2008).

ROUNDTABLEUnruly Viral Landscapes

Chaired Discussion using Padlet

This panel explores how Covid-19 shapes ‘mobilised landscapes’ of great complexity. Invisible droplet flows, lockdowns, and gargantuan efforts by society, healthcare workers, economy, science and governments weigh heavy with the desolation of the isolated and the bereaved. At the same time, social distancing has enabled unprecedented (digital) social connectedness and the largest reduction in carbon emissions and air pollution in human history. Future visions of streets for active mobility and clean air in cities are taking shape. We explore theoretical and experiential accounts of these unruly viral landscapes and lifeworlds and ‘mobilise’ the concept of landscape to address the precarity of our times.

The structure of the panel combines provocations from six panellists with 30 minutes of structured discussion, chaired by Monika Büscher.

Monika Büscher – Reflexive Resilience
Margherita Cisani – Everyday/window landscapes
Laura Lo Presti – Pandemic im-mobilities through a migration lens
Giada Peterle – Creating narrative landscapes beyond the frame
Chiara Rabbiosi – Stay-cation v hyper-mobility?
Jen Southern – On the movements of viruses