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Jun 22 2016 Posted: 10:04 IST

Landscape Values: Place and Praxis

NUI Galway’s Centre for Landscape Studies will host the UNISCAPE General Assembly and International Conference, Landscape Values: Place and Praxis from 29 June to 2 July. The conference takes place on the first anniversary of the publication of Government of Ireland’s National Landscape Strategy 2015-2025, issued as part of its commitments under the European Landscape Convention which Ireland ratified in 2002.

Working in association with the Heritage Council of Ireland and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the conference aims to reflect on how values attached to landscape get expressed at local and community level which in turn can be mobilised to shape national and European policy in the future.

With 95 papers from 130 international experts, including colleagues from North America, Japan, China and Australia, the conference will explore innovative ways in which values associated with place are shaped and made. Papers range from landscapes of wellbeing, the material culture of the Galway Hooker, to sustainable food tourism.

Sessions on policy and governance will also highlight new models of spatial planning and decision-making that honour the full suite of values associated with places in which communities live across Europe today. Delegates will also participate in four full-day site visits to community-led projects in the West of Ireland, across counties Galway, Mayo, Clare and Offaly as part of the conference programme.

UNISCAPE is the European network of universities especially dedicated to the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, Florence 2000). The aim of its 53 constituent institutions is to support and reinforce interdisciplinary co-operation within and among European universities regarding landscape issues, especially in the areas of research and education.

On the importance of hosting the UNISCAPE General Assembly in Ireland, Chairman of the Heritage Council of Ireland, Conor Newman said: “The presence here of UNISCAPE sends out a strong signal about the role that universities across Europe are playing in the delivery of the European Landscape Convention. UNISCAPE is a key partner of the Council of Europe’s Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape. This committee met in Strasbourg recently to sign off on the European Cultural Heritage Strategy for the 21st century, foregrounding the connection between the Landscape Convention and the Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. This conference is an opportunity to tune in to this wider, international dialogue, to learn from the experience of others, and to showcase the Irish situation.”

Professor Bas Pedroli, Director of UNISCAPE, said : “We are really looking forward to meeting our international delegates of various disciplinary backgrounds in Galway this summer. The engagement of the Centre for Landscape Studies of the NUI Galway promises an excellent working atmosphere both in the University and out on site with the field-visits to community projects in the region. This will certainly enhance a better understanding of the Irish landscape within its own particular parameters while also discussing broader European contexts as well.”

Other events associated with the conference include, a screening of Fís na Fuiseoige, a documentary film exploring the connection between people and place which won Best Cinematography at the San Francisco Earth Day Film Festival, and the launch of Gearóid Ó hAllmhúráin’s new work in Irish Music Studies, Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape, published by Oxford University Press.

The opening night of the conference will also see the launch of Iarsma: Fragments from an Archive, the Artist-in-the-Archive Project at the Tim Robinson Archive now housed in the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. Devised by Dr Nessa Cronin at NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, Iarsma is the culmination of the collaborative work of visual artist Deirdre O’Mahony, choreographer Ríonach Ní Néill, and composer Tim Collins. All are welcome to attend the performance at 8pm Wednesday, 29 June in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway.

For further information see http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=448 or contact placeandpraxis@gmail.com.

-Ends-

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