Practicing Landscape Symposium: Dr Louise Purbrick Keynote
Reading Landscape Research Group

Event Type:

Research Presentation


Online via Zoom – link sent by email to registered guests


27 Nov 2020
13:00 - 14:15



Plate 7, Series of Open Trenches' Oficina Alianza and Port of Iquique 1899, Album 12
Fondo Fotográfico Fundación Universidad de Navarra/Museo Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona

Practicing Landscape Symposium: Dr Louise Purbrick Keynote

Event info

Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation
Reading Landscape Research Group Symposium
6 November - 11 December 2020

Keynote: Dr Louise Purbrick
Friday 27 November 2020 via Zoom

Book online via Eventbrite

Dr Louise Purbrick is the second keynote for the symposium ‘Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation’, organised by GSA’s Reading Landscape Research Group. The respondent is Dr Marianne Greated from GSA.

Purbrick’s keynote 'Beyond Loss: Landcsapes and History' will reflect upon empty, or almost empty, distant landscapes, examining the the ruptured nitrate fields of the Atacama Desert. From the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, the Antofagasta and Tarapacá regions of northern Chile were extensively and intensively mined for nitrate. The industry, which supplied the agricultural economy of Northern Europe with fertiliser and its chemical industry with explosives, was driven by British capital. Residues of a history of the past exploitation of life remain in the desert landscape and appear in the present in other landscapes and in other forms: archives and images. 

Purbrick will also consider the once derelict site of the H Blocks. Twelve miles south-west of Belfast, it was the largest male prison for those serving life sentences for ‘conflict-related’ offences and frontline in the Northern Ireland conflict. Through the political stalemate of peace process of the last twenty years, this site of conflict became a source of disagreement, a space of denial and silence. Most recently, it has been transformed, ecological and economic forces taking their effect, yet the site of the H Blocks still raises the question of how the material forms of history may remain in landscapes of loss.


Dr Louise Purbrick

Louise Purbrick is an academic, activist and artist based at the University of Brighton. Principal Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton, her work is devoted to understanding the sites of extraction and incarceration; she investigates the material culture of conflict and everyday life. With Xavier Ribas and Ignacio Acosta, she is part of Traces of Nitrate, which examines legacies of mining colonialism and political ecologies of extraction.

Dr Marianne Greated

Dr Marianne Greated is Acting Head of Drawing and Painting at The Glasgow School of Art.  Through her painting practice Greated explores how sustainability manifests within the landscape. Her work addresses landscape painting, constructing uncertain narratives around human intervention into the landscape. The paintings focus on renewable power structures, displacing the notion of the site and redressing histories of landscape painting. Greated’s research includes field trips, such as a site visit to Southern India from which these paintings stem, and ongoing explorations of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The visual representations of the environment are informed by the complexities of sustainability, public and political influence and how the landscape is forged by industry and power.