Department of Landscape provides platform for Chinese garden and landscape history research

Speakers from New Research on the History of Chinese Gardens, which was held at the end of October

The Department of Landscape continued its tradition of providing a platform for the latest research in Chinese garden and landscape history when it played host to New Research on the History of Chinese Gardens.

The two-day conference, which attracted an international audience of speakers, was organised by Dr Jan Woudstra in conjunction with the Gardens Trust. The event was funded by the Sheffield Confucius Institute.

Over two days, academics and postgraduate students from a range of international institutions presented their latest research on Chinese landscape to a full audience.

The conference was opened by Dr Alison Hardie, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, who gave an overview of how Chinese garden and landscape studies have changed since the year 2000 and how they may potentially be taken forward.

Other presentations included Dr Kate Bailey and Charlotte Brooks, from the Royal Horticultural Society, who examined The RHS Reeves collection of Chinese botanical watercolours and the stories these tell of both people and plants in China and Britain in the early 19th century.

Department of Landscape PhD candidates Youcao Ren and Josepha Richard, presented results from their recently submitted thesis on Chinese belief landscapes and 19th century gardens in Guangzhou respectively.

The event was wide-ranging in scope, with the periods discussed ranging across time from the Song dynasty to the 20th century. Topics included the Chinese imperial landscape and the garden as expression of power and diplomacy; but also the private garden and its religious, literati, botanical and mercantile functions.

The full conference programme can be viewed here.