By using a contextual biographical approach, the project will place the collaborations and networks of Brenda Colvin (1897-1981) at the centre of the research, through which the wider questions will be explored. Brenda Colvin was born in India and, after being educated in Swanley Horticultural College, started her independent practice in 1922. She was the first woman to be elected president of any leading built environment institute, when she took on the role of President of the Institute of Landscape Architects in 1951. Her work not only defined the future of the Institute - and the profession - but also had lasting impact on the education of landscape architects. Her collaboration with Hal Moggridge through their practice Colvin & Moggridge ensured the lasting legacy of her work: the practice is now the longest running in the country and it celebrates its centenary in 2022.
A series of public facing events co-curated in collaboration with project partners and academic collaborators will commemorate the centenary of Colvin’s practice and will contextualise this body of work within the questions of female leadership, the changing profession of landscape architecture, and the role of these landscapes in the current debates around accessibility of green spaces highlighted by the COVID19 pandemic and the Climate Crisis.
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Photo credit: Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading