LRG welcomes new trustees in 2021

Our Annual General Meeting, held on 24 September 2021, resulted in the election of three new Trustees to our Board. It was an important result this year, as it was the first time in our 54 year history that LRG achieved a majority female Board. The appointment of our new Trustees also expanded the Board’s geographic representation to New Zealand and Egypt, reflecting the international outlook of our wider membership which now spans 36 countries.

A bit of background is given on each of the Trustees below, but do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

We must also offer a big thank you to our retiring Trustees, Chris Dalglish and Graham Fairclough.  Both have served on the Board since 2012, with Chris as Chair from 2017 to 2020.  Both have been extremely supportive and influential in helping steer the organisation through to a new phase of its development.     

The full list of our Board of Trustees can be found here.  

Juliette Desportes

PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Born in France, Juliette is a third-year historical geography doctoral candidate based at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Her research focuses on the so-called ‘improved’ eighteenth-century Highland landscape, looking at the ways the Scottish Highlands were transformed by emerging production-driven attitudes to space and its impact on people’s lives and worldviews.

She is passionate about land use, policy and heritage and the importance of engaging and communicating with the wider public and the landscape’s communities about these issues. Her research, focusing on the Scottish Highlands and the widespread dispossession of tenants in the past, can be directly linked to how people relate to their landscape in the present.

As an early career researcher she has been an active participant of LRG’s landscape researchers’ coffee mornings.  She hopes to help develop these support networks amongst researchers and practitioners to enable connections between ECRs and ‘late career’ academics as well as to promote collaboration across boundaries of discipline, with the overarching aim of reducing the feeling of isolation that interdisciplinary studies can engender. 

Merham Keleg

Lecturer Assistant in Urban Design and Planning and PhD Candidate, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Merham works as a lecturer assistant in the Urban Design and Planning Department at Ain Shams University in Egypt. She is also studying for her PhD in placemaking in relation to Green Infrastructure in the context of Cairo, as an example of a rapidly growing Global South city.  She has a great passion for understanding people’s interactions with their cities in different contexts as a means of paving the way for a better quality of life and the contextualisation of placemaking theories and landscape conceptualisations for Egypt specifically and the Global South generally.  She is also passionate about advancing further understanding of landscape meanings and experimentation with action research.

Merham is keen to address the lagging gap, theoretically and practically, which exists within landscape studies and concepts in global south cities and countries, especially the Arab world.  This focus will help advance the scope of landscape studies worldwide and would undoubtedly enrich understanding of the discipline, tackle its challenges, and provide better solutions and strategies.  She would like to promote collaborations, research opportunities and themes focusing on landscape dynamics within the region as well as Africa. 

She is a certified reviewer for the Publons platform, and is also Assistant Editor for the special issue entitled ‘Re-visioning Places of Public Gathering in the Contemporary Arab Urbanism‘ in the Journal of Public Spaces.

Gillian Lawson

Associate Professor and Head of School of Landscape Architecture, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Originally from Australia, Gillian is an Associate Professor and Head of the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Her research interests are in landscape pedagogy, landscape visualisation and landscape sociology in Australia, New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific countries, and on water and plants as catalysts for improving the adaptation of our cities to climate change. Her work focuses on the sociology of education, social practices in open spaces, green infrastructure and waterfront communities, landscape planning and design. She has supervised numerous PhD students to completion within these areas. She will be the next incoming Editor of Landscape Review, an open access southern hemisphere journal of landscape architecture.  

Gillian believes that landscape research needs to be a demonstrably international community of researchers and practitioners tied together by addressing global challenges. She would like to see more work being done to bridge the gap between research endeavours and application of findings in professional practice, particularly in Oceania and the Asia-Pacific region.

She would like to develop a strong international network of landscape researchers and practitioners in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, working across borders to address wicked problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss and water degradation through bringing together sociology and science. She has a specific interest in building an international landscape visualisation (AR, VR and MR) team after having created a team of applied computing and landscape architecture staff in the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University.