‘The stories of who we are, which are often connected to the stories of where we live, act as a backdrop against which decisions are made.’ – Alison Hope Alkon. According to the Welsh Government this is ‘the decisive decade’. The Climate Change Committee advises that transforming land is one of four key areas Wales can take action to reach net zero. Natural Resources Wales warns that climate change is also projected to increase the frequency and intensity of droughts, river and coastal floods and heatwaves – expected to reduce ecosystem resilience further. The Welsh Government calls for ‘every citizen, community, group and business in Wales to embed the climate emergency in the way they think, work, play and travel.’ Juliet Pietsch and Ian McAlister point out that ‘for the advanced democracies, public opinion is a key element in developing an appropriate policy response’ to mitigate climate change. Additionally decision-makers should grow ‘attentive to the varied ways that knowledge about landscapes is acquired, and to how different interest groups navigate change.’ (Bartolini & DeSilvey, 2020) My presentation will provide case studies of research methodologies to help us better understand the societal dynamics of negotiating landscapes and their histories in times of a changing climate. My examples will support the legitimization of local decision making and question the politics, power relations, and responsibilities connected to landscape. I will go on to facilitate discussion on the following two questions: 1. how we can give voice to different understandings of landscape and climate change, through archival research, oral history, constructing neo-narratives, scenario building and artistic methodologies. 2. what ways can we bring people and our findings together to create challenging works which see landscapes as places of flux rather than stasis. Such as through artist exhibitions, discussion panels and creating anticipatory histories. ‘We need both the insiders and the outsiders. Both, in their own way, are experts.’ – Ian H. Thompson
I am a Doctoral Researcher in my first year of a PhD at the University of Bangor. My research focuses on historic and current perceptions of landscape change in North West Wales. I am spurred on by Barbara Bender’s ‘plea for more open-ended theorizing that questions disciplinary boundaries and recognizes the untidiness and contradictoriness of human encounters with time and landscape’. My research sits within the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates and the Sir William Roberts Centre for Sustainable Land Use. I also work part-time for Natural Resources Wales developing the State of Natural Resources Report which informs Welsh Government environmental and resource policies. I have a BA and MA in Landscape Architecture from the University of Greenwich and during my career have worked across the environmental and heritage sectors. While at The Royal Parks one of my projects won a prestigious Landscape Institute Award in 2019. I am also co-director of PNEVMA, a landscape research collective, and have worked with filmmakers, artists and academic institutions from around the world, including Al-Quds University in Palestine and the University of Westminster.