As many landscape architects seek to grapple with their role in shaping a more democratic landscape, it is essential to understand our history, and how the profession came to be. This talk by Thaïsa Way will explore practices in the early 20th century that were positioned outside of the profession, limiting how the profession might define and describe itself.
In the late 19th century, as landscape architecture was emerging as a distinct profession, a diversity of approaches was recognized. This breadth included multiple scales of practice from the garden to the new town, as well as a diversity of people, those from the working class and the elite, women and men, gardeners, and engineers. While this history has begun to be told, a more complex narrative is equally important and that is how certain practices and people were excluded from the practice in order to become a profession. This legacy still reverberates today as we seek to become a more inclusive, equitable, and justice-oriented practice and profession.
Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer in her flower garden in 1947.
(Nancy Blackwell Marion/Design Group)
About our speaker
Thaïsa Way is Program Director for Garden & Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a Harvard University research institution located in Washington DC. As a landscape historian, she has taught history, theory, and design in the Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Built Environments, at the University of Washington since 2007. She was awarded the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome in 2016. Dr. Way served as the founding Executive Director of Urban@UW, an initiative of the University of Washington, Seattle from 2014-2019. Dr. Way’s publications have focused on the questions of history, gender, and shaping the landscape with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. For more information on her publications, please visit: https://www.doaks.org/about/leadership/thaisa-way
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