Report of the ECLAS Conference
11th-13th August 1994 Edinburgh Scotland
The sixth annual meeting of the European Conference of Landscape Architecture Schools was hosted this year jointly by The University of Edinburgh & Edinburgh College of Art/ Heriot-Watt University. Against the magnificence of this fine old city, its development so influenced by the rugged terrain left after the glacial activities of the past: a lively and interesting forum met to discuss “The Contribution of Local Context to Teaching and Research.”
This conference attracted about sixty delegates mostly from European countries, but there were also representatives from CELA (The Council of Educators for Landscape Architecture) the Educational Organisation of North America and Canada. The conference organisers had extended a warm invitation to the student delegates from ELASA. Nicole Saitzkoff (Sweden) and Elizabeth Turner (United Kingdom) attended the proceedings as delegates and were accompanied by Simon Lisney (United Kingdom) and Demitri Bondarenko (Russia) as observers.
Delegates had been invited to submit papers on the subject of “The Contribution of Local Context”, in the teaching of Landscape Architecture from a perspective of History, Geography, Sociology, Climatology etc. The first key note speaker, Sofia Leonard introduced the notion of “place-work-folk through the work of Patrick Geddes to set the theme of the conference. Speakers from Scotland, Norway, Germany and Austria then presented papers under the general heading of “Local Context v Universal Truths”. The second keynote speaker, Sir Peter Shepheard spoke in his delightful informal way of the “Contextual Issues in Contemporary Landscape Design Education”. This was developed through a series of papers in sessions on “The Social Context-Working with the Community”, with contributions from England and Canada and “Local Context within the Landscape Educational Curriculum” illustrated by Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish presentations.
This informative conference was rounded off by a very convivial Ceilidh (informal dinner and folk dance) on the last evening. On the following day optional day trips had been organised for conference delegates to enjoy some of the rich diversity of Scotland’s urban and rural landscapes.
At a time when colleges throughout Europe are actively forging links with each other, this conference provided an excellent opportunity for the exchange of concerns, ideas and hopes for the future of Landscape Education. As the ELASA representatives we were particularly appreciative of this timely invitation. The need to achieve common understandings through improved communication is paramount, particularly with the growing opportunities throughout the European Continent for study and employment.
ELASA Representative to ECLAS