Peter Howard

I have spent many of my working years in the rather odd job of geographer in a School of Art, expected to teach art and design students about the landscape, which for most of them was a major source of inspiration, and, in research terms, expected to plough the furrow between geography and art. So ‘landscape’ and how we perceive it became the obvious hook on which to hang my work. All other members of staff were either artists or art historians, so the job was enormous fun, but not central to the concerns of my colleagues. Through the work of Jay Appleton, I discovered Landscape Research, the journal, and the group. Despite the cross-disciplinary nature of the group, there was not a great deal concerning art, or at least not contemporary art, so I was delighted to find that LRG would not only support but underwrite the costs of a conference and exhibition, on Landscape and Painting, which we duly held in Exeter in 1983. I have been a member ever since, for a decade the editor of the journal Landscape Research, and more recently the group’s International Coordinator.

LRG gives 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. Many members have interests in landscape that, like my own, are tangential to the department in which they work. Sometimes that means that support for one’s activities, for travel, for conference organising, even for publication, is hard to find. Even where there is financial support, it can be difficult to find other experts to discuss ideas. Suddenly there is an organisation prepared to help, which has the expertise to assist, the money to underwrite, and the enthusiasm to join in all sorts of landscape activities. In particular we have always insisted that no one discipline holds the chair or sets the agenda. Everyone comes to the table with their own agenda. LRG’s plans for the future, its events schedule are the plans of its members, and the events are organised by its members, with communal support. If that is what you need, then LRG is for you.

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