Andy Clayden BSc DipLA, MA
Telephone: 0114 222 0612
Floor 12, The Arts Tower
In a world that is becoming increasingly populated and urbanised there is a need to reflect on how we plan for, design and manage cemetery landscapes to enhance the contribution they make to creating more robust and resilient urban environments.
My research interests focus on the planning, design and management of cemetery landscapes. Cemeteries and other forms of burial and memorial landscapes make an important and significant contribution to our urban green spaces. Cemeteries are frequently larger and older than many of our urban parks but are rarely considered as part of this green network. They are also landscapes that are highly invested in both emotionally, culturally and economically yet their potential to make a much wider contribution to the life and sustainability of our towns and cities is poorly understood and undervalued. In a world that is becoming increasingly populated and urbanized there is a need to reflect on how we plan for, design and manage these spaces to enhance the contribution they make to creating more robust and resilient urban environments.
My recent research has focused on landscapes that are connected with how different communities and cultures plan, design and care for their dead. I am perhaps best known for my research and publications on the landscapes of natural burial, which was first developed in the UK in 1993 and has evolved to have wider global impact. A three year research grant from the ESRC in 2007 enabled me to work with colleagues from sociology and anthropology to investigate how natural burial was being interpreted as a landscape and how this was experienced by users and providers. I have continued to develop this area of enquiry through on-going research and recording of a single natural burial ground that is now in its 10th year. To my knowledge this longitudinal study of a single burial ground over this extended period, is unique in cemetery research. The time spent observing and recording how the landscape has evolved and informal conversations with burial ground visitors and staff has been pivotal in developing my understanding of how these landscapes evolve through time. More recently my research has expanded into the design and management of War cemeteries and specifically those developed by the American Battle and Monuments Commission. They are important historic landscapes often created by the leading landscape and architecture practitioners of their time. This research explores the ideas and motivation that shaped these landscapes and how they have matured and been adapted in response to a changing social, economic and environmental context.
I am also interested in how contemporary landscape design can contribute to delivering more robust and resilient cities, which are able to respond to a changing climate and deliver a range of eco system services. This area of enquiry embraces different urban landscapes including schools, parks, gardens and cemeteries and is driven by the necessity to increase habitat diversity, respond to the increased likelihood of flooding and drought and minimise environmental impact.
In addressing my research I apply a range of methods and tools that include working with archives, interviews and focus groups GIS and field studies. There is however always a strong visual dimension to my work, which is driven by a landscape perspective of how I record, analyse and communicate my research. I contribute to a research cluster where we each share an interest in creative spatial practices.
Areas of Potential Research Supervision
I am interested in supervising research that has a clear landscape focus and that develops new understandings of how different cultures and communities plan, design and manage, how they care for their dead. Climate and population change, ethnic and religious diversity, economic growth and decline, and innovation in design and technologies all potentially impact on the landscapes of the dead. Research proposals may address but are not restricted to following areas of enquiry:
- Innovation in contemporary cemetery design and management
- Strategic planning and the impact of changing policy on death care provision
- The conservation and management of historic cemetery landscapes
I am also interested in supervising research students on different aspects of environmental landscape design where theory and practice in relation to water sensitive design and life cycle analysis is applied to different landscape contexts.
- Roziya Ibrahim (2011-2016) Towards a sustainable landscape of urban parks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: a study from a management perspective. Supervisors Andy Clayden and James Hitchmough.
- Doaa Esmat (2007-10)Green School Grounds: A study of sustainable Landscape Design in English Primary Schools. Supervisors: Andy Clayden and Nigel Dunnett..
- Fiona Sterling. (2006-9). Grave re-use: Understanding the potential impact on the cemetery landscape and its community. ESRC funded. Supervisors Andy Clayden and Julie Rugg (York University)
- Izawati Tukiman (2002-2007). Public Perception and acceptance of sustainable urban drainage systems in Malaysian housing.
- Carl Smith (2001-2005) Green Homes: Assessing the Environmental Sustainability of their Residential Landscapes.
- Ayman Mahmoud, (1998-2001). An investigation into the validity and efficiency of web-based desktop virtual environments in environmental representation and design visualisation.
Funded Research Projects (present and past)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 2007-2010.
Back to Nature: The cultural, social and emotional implications of natural burial - £302,985 (Award: RES 062-23-0448
National House Building Council (200-2005) – Residential Landscape Sustainability £55,000
My teaching activities reflect my broad interests in Landscape Architecture, design processes and how we might craft a design by using a wide range of tools, materials, techniques and technologies. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to travel extensively and visit and explore many different landscapes; historical and contemporary, designed, made and wild. These different experiences have significantly shaped how I think about landscape architecture and my teaching. Time spent revisiting familiar landscapes over many years has helped me in developing my appreciation of the complexity and dynamic and temporal qualities of landscape. As a Landscape Architect the opportunity to work with a palette of living materials, water, earth and vegetation is both challenging and exciting. Through practice we all develop our understanding and appreciation of how we experience landscape and these experiences change with the passage of time – a moment, a day, a year, a century.
Whilst I deliver a range of lectures on design and landscape construction and detailing my preference is to be working in the design studio alongside students and colleagues, or better still, out in the landscape. Whilst design is informed by relevant theories and precedent it is through practice that an idea is crafted and refined. In developing our skills to design and shape landscape there is no substitute for time spent looking, drawing and reflecting on how we engage with our environment.
- University Achieve More Steering Group
- Member of University Estates – Public Realm Stakeholder meetings
- Faculty coordinator – Achieve More
- Department coordinator Whole School Event
I first became aware of Landscape Architecture after completing a geography degree at the University of Wales in 1986 after a chance meeting with a neighbour who was working on his year out in a local landscape practice. Before taking up an ESRC funded place on the postgraduate course at the University of Sheffield, I worked for two years for a landscape design and build company in London where I gained invaluable experience of directly working with the materials of landscape. After completing an MA in Landscape Architecture in 1992 I was employed as a research assistant working with GIS and landscape planning. During this time I worked as a consultant for ECUS (Environmental Consultancy University Sheffield) and contributed to department teaching where I focused on the application of emerging digital technologies. In 1994 I was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Landscape and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009. Since my appointment I have contributed to a wide range of teaching and administrative activities within the Department, Faculty and University.
Throughout my career I have worked as a design consultant working with other design practices on a range of projects that have included urban regeneration projects, urban parks, industrial and manufacturing sites and school grounds. Most recently I had the opportunity to design a demonstration garden that was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to illustrate the impacts of climate change on the domestic landscape with my colleague Ross Cameron – RHS Garden in a Changing Climate. This was a great opportunity to test and communicate some of the research and ideas that were included in RHS report Gardening in a Changing Climate, which Ross and I had contributed to. With the support of University Alumni fund we also had the opportunity to involve around 50 of our students in helping to build and communicate the garden to the public.
Beyond the department I enjoy gardening, the allotment, cycling and cycle touring and watercolour painting and drawing. I now tend to work with watercolour sketch books that I can easily transport in pannier or back pack. The enjoyment of painting is increasingly about time spent in and looking at landscape and thankfully less about the end result.
- Cutting the lawn − Natural burial and its contribution to the delivery of ecosystem services in urban cemeteries. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 33, 99-106. View this article in WRRO
- Churchyard and cemetery in an English industrial city: Sheffield, 1740–1900. Urban History, 41(4), 627-646. View this article in WRRO
- Landscapes of the Dead? Natural Burial and the Materialization of absence. Journal of Material Culture, Vol 17 No. 2 pp115-132.(No. 2), 115-132.
- Natural Burial: The De-materialising of Death? In Hockey J, Komaromy C & Woodthorpe K (Ed.), The Matter of Death Palgrave Macmillan
- From Cabbages to Cadavers: natural Burial Down on the Farm In Maddrell A & Sidaway JD (Ed.), Deathscapes: Spaces for Death, Dying, Mourning and Remembrance Ashgate
- Construction for Landscape Architecture. Landscape Research, 38(5), 685-686.