Landscape and Critical Agency will be a 1-day interdisciplinary symposium to explore contemporary thinking about landscape. The symposium has been jointly conceived and organised by staff from four London-based universities and will be held at University College London on Friday, 17th February 2012. Seeking to explore the relevance of contemporary thinking about landscape to such issues, this symposium asks the question:

What agency does landscape possess, as a means of territorial organisation and creative production, to engage critically with the conditions that define the collective aspects of our environment?”

As far back as the 10th century the term ‘landscape’ referred to the ‘collective aspects of the environment’, as J.B. Jackson argues in Discovering the Vernacular Landscape (1984). But rather than the scenographic art it later became, landscape design was initially concerned with the production and organisation of agriculture, housing and infrastructure within its surrounding terrain. Today, whilst the ‘collective’ man-made terrain of the 21st century also encompasses the globalised movements of finance, media and digital technology, our most urgent questions still concern how physical landscapes are produced and organised.

In this context, a ‘call for papers’ has been announced for the symposium. It aims to encourage submissions that explore the possibility of landscape becoming a new form of critical agency – a radical departure from current understandings and engagement with landscape. Selected abstracts will be developed as full papers and published following the Landscape and Critical Agency symposium. Full details of the symposium and the ‘call for papers’ are available on the symposium website: