Following CheriScape’s four previous conferences (Ghent, July 2014; Amersfoort, November 2014; Oslo, May 2015 and Madrid, September 2015) on the contribution of landscape and heritage to policy, science, community action, and global change, the final conference will provide discussion space for exploring ‘Landscape in Imagination and the Virtual Future’. As with all our conferences, the Newcastle conference will feature presentations from experts and formal interactive discussion sessions, including discussion on a wide range of poster presentations. This fifth conference however will also involve a range of innovative creative and performative work, as CHeriScape turns its gaze inwards and forwards, and connects landscape and heritage to the creative and visual arts and to virtual imagination.
Landscape in Imagination and the Virtual Future
The mental landscapes we inhabit are increasingly digital as well as remembered. New media is changing how people interact and even how they think. We increasingly experience familiar and distant landscapes through a virtual lens, just another ‘turn’ to the ELC definition of landscape as areas ‘perceived by people’. Our concluding conference therefore explores how futures that grow from the past (and from our present) can be imagined through new forms of heritage and landscape representation, and how future landscapes might be shaped and constructed. The conference has three themes:
1. ‘Looking Back from the future: the future legibility of the past’ considers ways in which we visualise and imagine how the past might look in a future landscape and how people in future might understand their pasts (including our own present day). This reflects one of CHeriScape’s key themes, heritage, but also landscape design, forward-looking perspectives on landscape/heritage interfaces, the potential plurality of future landscape.
2. ‘New neighbourhoods, New neighbours’ examines how we can (re)imagine landscape after major change, both material change in the environment (sea levels, climate change, urbanisation) and perceptual at socio-cultural level (e.g. migration, mobility). It will also focus particularly on cultural solutions to change, especially in the context of mass migration of people form one landscape to another; heritage and landscape have their own mobility as well.
3. ‘Looking Inwards: imagined and remembered landscapes’ recognises that landscape and heritage also exist at a mental, imaginary level. Our personal landscapes and heritage may be distant in both space and in time, including imagined or wished-for future landscapes, but they are nevertheless close to the heart and mind. Themes of perception (in landscape) and of attributed value (in heritage) will be discussed, and the idea of hearing and giving attention to all voices.
Each theme will be presented in separate plenary sessions and explored in smaller discussion groups. Our gallery of posters will also reflect upon these three themes. Four structured discussion sessions will allow all attendees to become significant participants – the purpose of CHeriScape conferences is for everyone to speak as well as listen – participants at our conferences thus influence the project’s ultimate results. Not all presentations are woven around words in this final CHeriScape conference, however – a range of artwork will also be on display and the event also has performative elements, all of which we anticipate will enrich the discussions. A ‘town walk’ (for those who arrive on the evening before the conference opens) and a post-conference excursion will provide other opportunities to exchange ideas.
The conference will take place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on the south bank of the Tyne – a ‘vast converted mill with minimalist interiors, hosting temporary shows by contemporary artists’ housed in a converted industrial building, the mid-twentieth century BALTIC Flour Mills built on the former site of the nineteenth century Gateshead Iron Works. http://www.balticmill.com/about/what-is-baltic