JOB: funded PhD: Women in post-war landscape architecture. Design theory, policy and advocacy. Manchester School of Architecture

This fully-funded collaborative doctoral award jointly supervised by Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) and Historic England (HE) will investigate and understand the role of female landscape architects in Britain in the second half of the 20th century. This project will address the gap in our understanding and appreciation of women’s contribution to the foundation and development of landscape architecture and its professional institutions, and will uncover their role in the design, theory and delivery of landscape architectural projects in the reconstruction after WW2. During the project the candidate will work closely with researchers working on the AHRC funded research network ‘The Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry’ and will also have the opportunity to undertake a short-term non-paid placement at Historic England to gain beneficial work experience in the Heritage sector.

2019 marked the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in Britain, allowing women to enter professions, as well as the 90th anniversary of the funding of the Institute of Landscape Architects (today Landscape Institute), that represented the first step of the professionalisation of the discipline. Although the role women played in the evolution of landscape architecture has been the subject of recent publications, and their pioneering role in the professionalisation of landscape architecture has come to the forefront, a complex examination of the work of female landscape architects in the UK is yet to be done. As Thaisa Way (2009) purported, traditionally, historic accounts of the work of landscape architects have tended to focus on individuals, “presenting each practitioner as a star” rather than the collective impact of certain groups. This has resulted in some key monographs about outstanding female designers, but the oeuvre of writers and advocates – whose work has also significantly impacted the evolution of landscape architecture from a different, arguably equally important, angle – has not yet attracted academic attention. The role women played in the creation and championing of national bodies and charities such as the National Trust, the Garden History Society, the Countryside Commission Natural England or the Environment Agency is yet an another underresearched angle of the wider history of women and the profession of landscape architecture.

By concentrating on these two under-researched areas of post-war landscape architecture the project aims:

  • To understand the various ways in which women have contributed to the creation of large-scale landscapes: their work as theorists, advocates, writers, designers, campaigners, protesters or representatives
  • To understand the links between the professionalisation of women in its many formats and the professional development of landscape architecture
  • To identify, research, analyse and assess key examples from the period designed by female landscape architects in order to follow through and take part in Historic England’s current ‘Post-war landscapes’ and ‘Infrastructure’ priority areas.
  • To inform the long-term development of the National Heritage List of England listings and registrations by understanding and assessing the developments of the profession and the resulting changes in project types.

Manchester School of Architecture and Historic England are looking for candidates who have a demonstrative expertise that has achieved at a high, and preferably Distinction Masters level in the fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture or other relevant disciplines with a deep understanding of landscape related issues in the post-war period. An experience in archival research and/or work experience in an archival setting and with a wide range of professional and public audiences is desirable. Applicants will also need to demonstrate an awareness of the processes of heritage policy and decision making. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview.

Application deadline: 21 February 2020

Informal enquiries can be made to: Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr, Reader in Architecture l.csepely-knorr@mmu.ac.uk

For more information and applying online, please visit this page.

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