APL8004 : Conceptualising Landscape (10 credits)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This is an innovative taught masters-level programme that focuses on the relations between landscape, culture and society, and on the various ways that landscape is practised, represented and imagined. Within the context of a single interdisciplinary programme it brings together various aspects of landscape studies that are normally isolated from one another, involving its students in both critical analyses of historical and contemporary landscape discourses and substantial research through creative practice. The programme will focus in particular on the various ways that future landscape conditions are being imagined and projected in the present, ranging from current geopolitical imaginaries of the newly securitized nation state and responses to anticipated climate change, to contemporary design discourses, such as that of Landscape Urbanism. Students are given the opportunity to act not only as analysts and critics, but also – through the articulation of landscape propositions in their own creative practice – as cultural producers.

This module provides the principal introduction to landscape theory for the programme. It will introduce students to the various, and sometimes competing and opposed, ways in which landscape has been conceptualised, defined and understood. It highlights the philosophical theories, critical positions and political agendas which underpin different approaches to landscape. It draws upon recent writings in cultural geography, environmental ethics and heritage studies. It explores the theme of utopian and dystopian imaginaries of landscape, relating these to the interlinked crises of our times: globalisation, urban sprawl, population growth, climate change, resource depletion, pollution, loss of biodiversity, mass migration of population etc.

Outline Of Syllabus

1 Imaginary landscapes
2 Utopias and dystopias
3 Detachment and immersion
4 Phenomenology
5 Landscape and power
6 Urban utopias
7 Nature, rewilding and restoration
8 Heritage, memory, belonging and imagination
9 The crises of our times (1)
10 The crises of our times (2)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Including Seminar discussions and workshops
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Includes discussion time
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will be introduced to a range of different definitions and understandings of landscape, the aim being to stimulate their own critical responses to landscape issues, regardless of their original disciplinary backgrounds, and thus to prepare them to produce their own creative responses to landscape issues.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log1M100A ‘response diary’: each student to keep a diary or notebook
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework and essay elements are intended to assess understanding of the material presented in the module and to provide an opportunity to respond critically to this material.

Reading Lists