I trained as a geographer in the 1960s in Newcastle, and after a few years in industry accepted a most unusual job, as a geographer in Exeter College of Art (which later incorporated into Plymouth University. Here I was asked to plough the furrow between geography and art, and landscape was the obvious linking thread, teaching students in the areas of landscape perception and some landscape design. My research got me using landscape paintings quantitatively, as evidence of the shift of landscape tastes over three centuries, and this was published as Landscapes: the artists vision, (Routledge, 1991). Through the work of Jay Appleton I discovered Landscape Research Group, and the journal Landscape Research which I edited through much of the 1980s. LRG became a home and support for much of my work, including conferences on Landscape and Painting in Exeter, and European Landscapes in Blois, at which conference the idea of a European Landscape Convention was first mooted. LRG gave me the collegial base of a group from many different disciplines, and those also from the practical world of landscape management, keen to support new ideas and initiatives.
Later I melded my landscape interests with other specialists to produce the second British degree course in Heritage, and founded the International Journal of Heritage Studies which I continued to edit for 13 years. This work led to my Heritage: management, interpretation, identity (Continuum, 2003), and writing, with Gregory Ashworth, European Heritage Planning and Management, (Intellect 1999), and editing jointly with Brian Graham the Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity, (Ashgate, 2008). These were busy years being asked to advise on heritage as a discipline in many countries.
On retirement I accepted a Visiting Professorship in Cultural Landscapes, and my interests reverted more clearly with landscape, being much involved with the Council of Europe and the Florence Convention, becoming LRG’s international coordinator. Retirement has meant much more time to play music and sing, and to be out in the landscape recording birds, but also allowed time to write a textbook for landscape beginners, An Introduction to Landscape (Ashgate, 2011) and also to share in the editing, with Ian Thompson and Emma Waterton, of a major Companion to Landscape Studies, (Routledge, 2012)