LRG welcomes new trustees in 2020

Following our online Annual General Meeting on 18 June 2020, we would like to welcome three new Trustees to our Board of Directors.

We are also extremely grateful for the time and contributions our three outgoing Trustees have made to LRG, over a period of several years.

Thank you all, Laurence Le Du-Blayo, Markus Leibenath and Paul Tabbush for your extremely valuable contributions to the whole organisation.

Our new Trustees are:

Linda Marie Bjerketvedt

Landscape archaeologist

Leiden, the Netherlands

Born and raised in Norway, I have always been drawn and connected to the landscapes around me. It led me to undertake an archaeology degree in the city of Edinburgh, surrounded by heritage and the dramatic Scottish scenery. I recently obtained an MSc in Landscape Archaeology at the Freie Universität in Berlin, which focused primarily on methodological aspects of landscape research. To gain a more balanced theoretical understanding of my field, I went on an Erasmus exchange to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2019. Currently, I am actively volunteering in the ‘Archaeology on Furlough’ initiative.

As an archaeologist, I have consistently been part of diverse and multi-cultural working environments, having worked on both commercial and research-driven excavations across Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Moldova, Greece, Cyprus, and Croatia.

In my experience, the elitist tendencies of academia result in homogeneity and restricted research output, often not focused on connecting different sectors. Deconstructing and finding new solutions to the typical ‘top-down’ approach is necessary to create the “just and sustainable relationships between people and landscapes” aimed by the LRG. The voices of female early career researchers are underrepresented in the academic discourse. By joining your board of trustees, I would seek to engage and represent other underrepresented voices, not just my own.

Professor Karen Jones

Professor of Environmental and Cultural History

Canterbury, Kent, England

I have an academic background, specifically in environmental history, and have published widely on parks and garden history. Currently a professor at the University of Kent, I am leading a project that tracks the idea of urban parks as ‘lungs for the city’ and considers their importance as essential sites of wellbeing in a modern global city. I am an active teacher, researcher and public speaker who has worked with various charities and funding bodies on sustainability and green heritage issues. One of the things I am especially interested in is connecting historical values of green space with policy/planning initiatives.

I am a passionate believer in the value of scholarly work and am equally convinced of the need for that work to be engaged with the ‘real world’. I want to be involved in a conversation that includes landscape professionals, community stakeholders and policymakers based on creating ecologically and socially just solutions. 

I see my contribution to the LRG as bringing a historical perspective to bear on the challenging issues of wellbeing, landscape use and sustainability that dominate our contemporary world. As a historian interested in both environment and culture, I am particularly interested in problems of green space regulation, health inequities, accessibility and in speaking to an (often neglected) area of landscape diversity by engaging with non-traditional users.

Professor Laura Alice Watt

Professor of Environmental History & Policy

Sonoma, California, USA

I am a Professor of Geography, Environment, and Planning at Sonoma State University in northern California; I also serve as Graduate Coordinator for my university’s Cultural Resources Management (CRM) Masters program. In 2001 I earned my doctorate in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley, with an interdisciplinary focus based in environmental history and cultural geography.  My work brings together threads from protected lands history and policy, landscape and property theory, and the ecological sciences. My book, The Paradox of Preservation: Wilderness and Working Landscapes at Point Reyes National Seashore, was published in 2017 by the UC Press.

I am a mid-career landscape scholar with a deeply interdisciplinary background, with degrees in vertebrate ecology, natural resources management, and environmental policy, and professional experience working for The Nature Conservancy and a private consulting firm as a public lands planner before returning to academia in 2006.

I deeply believe that landscape can be key concept for addressing issues of sustainability and resilience – here in northern California, our recent experiences (and stretching back even longer) with wildfires has only underlined the importance of thinking and planning at a landscape level. For the past three years I’ve served as my campus liaison to a network of small universities called the Resilience Studies Consortium, which is focused on place-based education and increasing a number of different aspects of diversity, and working with the LRG as a Trustee would provide another avenue for encouraging these emphases.