The Memory of the Designed Landscape programme provides the impetus for a future-proof perspective on the archiving of garden and landscape architecture. This field currently lacks a clear repository for the archives that document its history. Materials struggle to find their way into cultural institutions, get fragmented or lost. As a follow-up to the initial inventory (2021) of a potential collection policy, this three-year programme aims to create a broad consensus whereby the importance of a careful handling of garden and landscape architecture archives is implemented in cultural policy as a public responsibility.
In 2020, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) commissioned the Nieuwe Instituut to investigate how to deal with archives in the field of garden and landscape architecture. How do we store this material, and how do we keep it accessible? Up until now, archiving garden and landscape architecture has not been designated as a public task, and there is no clear address where archives can be kept.
This research was conducted by Noël van Dooren en Marieke Francke. It was based on discussions and meetings with various actors, primarily focusing on the professional practices of Dutch garden and landscape architects. It mapped the playing field, exploring the bottlenecks, opportunities for improvement and expectations of a long-term perspective for garden and landscape architecture archives.
On 8 July 2021, Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven received the research report Memory of the Designed Landscape: The Importance of Archiving Garden and Landscape Architecture. On this occasion, she indicated that she wanted to facilitate a follow-up study, in which the recommendations from the report would serve as guidelines. The most important of these were a programmatic approach and the choice of a network form.
The follow-up process
Within the current programme, the impetus will be given to a jointly supported and future-proof perspective on the unique history of the designed landscape. This will focus not only on preserving, sharing and interpreting the important archives, but also on using them in future design assignments and preserving the cultural-historical values of gardens and landscapes.
Programme outline 2022-2024
A programmatic approach makes it possible to work step by step towards a long-term perspective for garden and landscape archives. It focuses primarily on exploring the possible contours of a method for valuing and selecting garden and landscape architecture archives, and the associated network. In order to explore the possible forms of such a network and archive, the programme will be organised around concrete case studies.
The programmatic process provides several concrete case studies of different archives and archival approaches, ranging from an existing archive that urgently needs to find a home to an archive that has yet to be formed by bringing together several sub-archives. The cases each have their own scale and approach, a specific network and type of archive material. They each deal with specific aspects of the content-related, methodological and strategic aspects of the archive issue.
The case studies offer the opportunity to explore possible solutions in small working groups for the acquisition, collection and disclosure, and to provide insight into bottlenecks. This process generates numerous stories that can be shared with diverse audiences in various formats - such as a podcast series, a lecture series, a collection of oral histories, image essays and archive tours.
The network approach
The choice for a decentralised network form builds on the organically grown infrastructure of archives. A network, as a sum of actors from different sectors and groups in society, does not yet exist. This is why the programme will initially focus on consolidating the connections that arose at the time of the initial inventory, in which a clear commitment and consensus has been established. But the network should equally represent the voices of other actors involved in the creation of gardens and landscapes.
Nieuwe Instituut recognises multivocality as a guiding principle. In the context of garden and landscape architecture, this means that, in addition to the professional design sector, social actors - from citizens' initiatives to businesses and urban ecologists - will also become involved in thinking about the archives.
The programme is coordinated by the Nieuwe Instituut. For more information about this programme, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for the newsletter through the button below.