2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture

October 27, 2016

All day event



Adventures into the profoundly frightening, deeply uncertain and yet somehow incredibly optimistic landscapes of the 21st century.


Curated by Richard Weller in association with

New Epoch (Clive Hamilton)

New Views (Helen Armstrong)

New Natures (Josh Zeunert)

New Cities (Julian Bolleter)

New Stories (Paul Carter)

New Signs (Mark Raggatt)

New Techniques (Jillian Walliss)

New Practices (Sue Anne Ware)


At the same time that the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016, the International Commission on Stratigraphy is expected to formally announce the dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch: a new geological period defined by the fact that the earth’s systems are now fundamentally determined by human activity. The philosophical and practical consequences couldn’t be greater: in short, nature is no longer that ever-providing thing ‘out there’, it is, for better or worse, something we are creating. The landscape of the Anthropocene is a cultural landscape and therefore a question of design.

The underlying proposition of this conference is that the major dynamics of the Anthropocene—global urbanisation and climate change—are, at root, landscape architectural in nature. They are interrelated issues to which landscape architects can in theory, and increasingly in practice, uniquely apply both scientific knowledge and artistic imagination.

Organised around the sub-sections of New Views, New Cities, New Natures, New Stories, New Signs, New Techniques, and New Practices, the conference asks how design intelligence can be more effectively applied to the major challenges of the times. Bringing together landscape architects, planners, architects and artists the ‘Not in My Backyard’ festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of landscape architecture in Australia by acknowledging what has been achieved and, more importantly, by asking what can be achieved. The festival’s overarching proposition and the bold claim around which our conversations will revolve is that this is landscape architecture’s century.

Read more about NOT IN MY BACKYARD


The conference begins with 2 keynotes, one by the festival Creative Director Richard Weller to set the scene and another by Australian public intellectual Clive Hamilton who has published widely on the philosophical and societal implications of the Anthropocene. The conference is thereafter structured around 7 thematic panels:

1) ‘New Views?’ is curated by Dr Helen Armstrong AM Emeritus-Professor in Landscape Architecture at QUT and offers an historical account of the achievements of landscape architecture in the last 50 years in Australia and examines the relevance of this history to the future.

2) ‘New Natures?’ is curated by Deakin University lecturer and media commentator Josh Zeunert and concerns the state of the nation’s ecosystems and challenges landscape architects to scale up and reconceptualize design and planning in the denatured conditions of the Anthropocene.

3) ‘New Cities?’ is curated by Dr Julian Bolleter from the Perth based Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) and sets out the big challenges facing Australian cities in the 21st century and offers speculations and strategies as to how to improve their ecological, economic and social performance.

4) ‘New Stories?’ is curated by eminent author and artist Professor Paul Carter and explores how designers manifest new senses of post-colonial place in a range of media. Carter challenges landscape architects to think more deeply and more critically about how they create places.

5) ‘New Signs?’ is curated by Melbourne architect and critic Mark Raggatt and explores perceptions of space and time in contemporary design culture highlighting the importance of subversive tactics, intellectual risk, formal experimentation and symbolism.

6) ‘New Techniques?’ is curated by Dr Jillian Walliss of Melbourne University and examines the ways in which rapidly evolving digital technologies are opening opportunities for landscape architects to engage more creatively with complex systems.

7) ‘New Practices?’ is curated by Dr Sue Anne Ware, Dean of the School of Architecture at Newcastle University and concerns ways in which designers engage communities and relate to power. Ware questions the notion of the designer as activist and considers new ways of working.

Supplementing the core program of the 7 themes will be:

1) A short film competition titled AnthropoScene: judged by Liam Young (London), Paul Carter (Melbourne), Richard Weller (UPenn, Philadelphia), Silvia Benedito (Harvard GSD, Cambridge), and Aroussiak Gabrielian (University of Southern California, Los angeles)

2) The screening of a documentary 50+ by landscape architect Joanna Karaman and film-makers Michael Rubin and Sahar Coston Hardy based on interviews with many of the world’s leading landscape architects.

3) A day-long roundtable of students representing the nation’s landscape architecture programs.

Stage Set

A large table with lap-top for messaging from the scribe. Wine, water, bread, flowers, books, pens, paper, a globe, a microscope, a stuffed animal, thermometer, copy of Landscape Australia, Wall st journal. Panelists sit at the table open to the audience as in ‘The Last Supper’.

Day 1

Intro evening. AILA National Landscape Architecture Awards, 6pm – 11pm

Day 2

8.00 – Registration

9-00 – 9.05 Welcome to Country

9.05 – 9.10 AILA Welcome

9.10 – 9.15 IFLA Welcome

9.15 – 9.45 ‘OMG there’s an Anthropocene in my Backyard’: Richard Weller

9.45 – 10.15 New Epoch? by Philosopher Clive Hamilton

10.15 – 11:00 Q n A with Clive Hamilton and all curators

11.00 – 11.30 Break

11.30 – 1.00 New Natures? The state of the world’s ecosystems and what landscape architects can and should do about it. Curator: Josh Zeunert Panelists: Prof Richard Hobbs, Mark Stafford Smith, Ellen Neises

1.00 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.30 New Cities? The wicked problems facing Australian cities and the role of landscape architecture in solving them. Curator: Dr Julian Bolleter Panelists: Craig Allchin, Brendan Gleeson, , Adrian McGregor

3.30 – 4.00 Break

4.00 – 4.20 Documentary Screening 50+ by Micheal Rubin, Joanna Karaman + Sahar Coston Hardy

4.20 – 6.00 New Views? Questioning the canon of Australian landscape architecture and asking where too from here? Curator: Dr Helen Armstrong AM Panelists: Catherin Bull, Craig Burton, Steve Calhoun, Perry Lethlean, Jacinta McCann, Jim Sinatra.

6:30pm Evening Reception ‘The Festival Party’: Screening of ‘Kim Kardashian and the Dark Side of the Screen’ by Liam Young and World Premier of the AnthropoScene short film competition finalists. Garden of Australian Dreams, National Museum of Australia.

Day 3

9.00 – 9.10 Welcome back

9.10 – 10.30 New Stories? Evolving senses of place in post-colonial Australia and the cross over between landscape, literature, art and identity. Curator: Paul Carter Panelists: Prof Jeff Malpas, Prof Margaret Sommerville, Jock Gilbert.

10.30 – 11.00 Break

11.00 – 12.30 New Signs? This session explores ideas and perceptions of space, time and symbolism in the work of contemporary artists and architects. Curator: Mark Raggatt Panelists: Daniel Crooks, Naomi Stead and Liam Young

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 3.00 New Techniques? Digital futures: the power and potential of the computational in the age of the Anthropocene. Curator: Jillian Walliss – Panelists: Bradley Cantrell, Kirsten Bauer, Wolfgang Kessling

3.00 – 3.30 Break

3.30 – 4.30 New Practices? New ways of getting work, new ways of working and meaningful community engagement. Curator: Sue Anne Ware. Panelists: Jason Ho, Jessica Christiansen-Franks, Nicky McNamara.

4.30 – 5.30 Gen Z: Student provocation and discussion Liz Mossop, Helen Lochhead, Sue Anne Ware, Richard Weller

5.30 – 6.00 Close

6.00 Toast to the future of the profession. Drinks at Reconciliation Place – 5 minutes’ walk from the NGA, by the Lake.