Expert Opinion

Celebrating 50 years of Landscape education

In October, Leeds Beckett University began a year-long celebration of 50 years of landscape education. An event was held in collaboration with the Landscape Institute and an exhibition of student and alumni project work was held in our Rose Bowl building. In this post, Edwin Knighton, Principal Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, reflects on the successful opening event.

This year saw the Landscape Institute travelling up north to celebrate 50 years of landscape education at Leeds.  We were chuffed to be chosen to host the prestigious Jellicoe lecture as part of our celebrations. Over 250 people attended this year’s event, hosted in the appropriately named Rose Bowl Building. The event included three inspiring talks and a reception against a 20-metre long exhibition backdrop, featuring 50 pieces of work by our alumni.

For me, one of the most poignant moments happened when, during my introduction speech, I asked people “if you studied at Leeds Beckett, stand-up!”, I was amazed to see over half the delegates rise to their feet, followed by spontaneous applause. A magical moment witnessed in awe by LI President Merrick Denton-Thompson and our new CEO, Daniel Cook.

Panel conversation

The Jellicoe talks this year were themed to explore innovative approaches to engaging communities with landscape and green infrastructure. Sara Main and Rachel Parkin from Chatsworth House talked about engaging deprived communities and refugees with the landscape of Capability Brown. This was followed by Alan Simson from Leeds Beckett University, talking about engaging people with green infrastructure through urban forestry and green streets. Pam Warhurst, Founder of The Incredible Edible Network, rounded off three thought-provoking presentations, by talking in her best Yorkshire accent about creating urban farmers and unlocking the power of food and reducing health inequality.

Guests viewing the exhibition

The exhibition, curated with the support of the Yorkshire Branch, showcased selected examples from more than a thousand Leeds Beckett graduates who have made their mark on the landscape over the last 50 years. The expo provided a fitting finale and backdrop for dialogue and photo opportunities, where Leeds Beckett alumni successfully hijacked the official LI paparazzo.

Landscape alumni, staff and students

Alumni, staff and students

We are looking forward to welcoming back our graduates again to future events which can be found here. Alumni are encouraged to contact us so we can include them in future events and so they have opportunity to contribute to our growing alumni exhibition. Follow us on Twitter@LandscapeLBU.

All photos by Nick Harrison