Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), was invited to China by Lin Guangsi, Professor of Landscape Architecture at South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, to deliver a series of lectures on urban green spaces and health.

Catharine was asked to share her research at OPENspace - an international research centre at ECA contributing new evidence on why inclusive access to the outdoors matters - and her experience of teaching and research in Landscape Architecture.

"The invitation came after Professor Lin had heard my keynote presentation at an international conference on 'Landscapes and Life' in Lisbon in May 2017," said Catharine, "Having previously been aware of my research, Professor Lin asked if I would be willing to come to his university in China to talk about my work, and when I agreed, he set about obtaining funding from his university to support my visit."

Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture
Image: Catharine Ward Thompson
Catharine with recent MLA graduate, Lin Danwei

""It was great to have such enthusiasm and interest in my research from a range of landscape architecture and other disciplines. One colleague, Chongxian Chen, came from Tsinghua University, Beijing, to hear my lectures and to help with interpretation where needed.""

Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture

Catharine presented a series of lectures, based on her research and with reference to ECA’s new Masters in Landscape and Wellbeing. Topics included, "historic links between landscape and health"; "affordance theory, its implications for practice, and examples of design for wayfinding"; "design for children, drawing on personal construct theory, affordances and a multi-method approach"; "inclusive design for getting outdoors (I’DGO) – older people’s access to the outdoor environment" and "mobility, mood and place: what enhances enjoyment of outdoor environments in older age and why does it matter?"

During Catharine’s visit, she met up with a few ECA graduates whom she had previously taught. In Hong Kong she met Associate Professor Matthew Pryor, a Landscape Architecture graduate (1987) who is now Head of the highly-regarded Landscape Architecture Division at the University of Hong Kong. In Guangzhou, she met Barry Wilson, an independent landscape and urban design consultant, who teaches part-time in Hong Kong but also works in mainland China. He graduated in 1989 and now runs Barry Wilson Project Initiatives.

Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture
Image: Catharine Ward Thompson
Catherine delivering a lecture at the South China University of Technology
Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture
Image: Catharine Ward Thompson
Poster from South China University of Technology

"I also met a much more recent graduate from our Master of Landscape Architecture programme, Lin Danwei, who graduated in 2016 and who is now working in a major international practice, AECOM."

"There is enthusiasm from South China University of Technology as well as from other universities in China, to develop joint research programmes in the future," Catharine said, "There is no doubt that there will be opportunities for other members of ESALA staff and researchers to visit and also host Chinese expert scholars here in Edinburgh."


Are you interested in studying Landscape Architecture - MA at Edinburgh College of Art?



Related people