Women of the Welfare Landscape


Women of the Welfare Landscape

by Luca Csepely-Knorr & Camilla Allen

This exhibition catalogue is part of ‘Women of the Welfare Landscape’, an Arts and Humanities Research Council supported research project that commemorates the network of women and their collaborators who have had a major impact on shaping the post-war designed landscapes of the British Welfare State. A key part of the project which started in April 2022 has been an exhibition which has travelled to various locations in the UK, including East Kilbride, Kingston, Sheffield, Lancaster, Manchester, Birmingham and Reading. The catalogue reproduces and expands upon the content of the exhibition with a text by Luca Csepely-Knorr and Camilla Allen, Foreword by Hal Moggridge and Afterword by Elizabeth Darling.

The exhibition introduced the wider questions of post-war landscape architecture and the role women played in it through the lense of the work and collaborations of landscape architect Brenda Colvin (1897-1981). 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 celebrated its centenary in 2022.

As Elizabeth Darling writes in the Afterword ‘This wonderful exhibition opens the visitor’s eyes to new understandings of what constitutes the landscape of modern Britain. Perhaps few of us have thought that the land around power stations, quarries and reservoirs, or along the sides of roads, were designed as carefully and consciously, and with the aim of providing environments that were intended for all to experience and enjoy, as were the landscape settings of the post-war New Towns and the campuses of the new ‘plate-glass’ universities. More than that, through the lens of the career of Brenda Colvin, it has also shown us how woman-made was this landscape. As a whole it constitutes an invaluable and powerful documentation of the generations of women who, from the 1920s onwards, created and shaped the profession of Landscape Architecture.’

Design and layout by Lydia Ridgway
Softcover, 80 pages,
Colour and B+W
ISBN 978-1-9164718-7-0

*NB images shown here are artist impressions, the actual books may be slightly different.

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