Doctoral Colloquium


Landscape Architecture Doctoral Colloquium

Sunday 10th September 2017, University of Greenwich, London, UK


Target Group: This colloquium is addressed to both current/prospective doctoral students and senior researchers who are supervising thesis processes. It may also be of interest for prospective supervisors who wish to learn from peers about tutoring methods in this field. The overall objective is to share and discuss methodological aspects within the European landscape architecture research community. The meeting is open to all research themes and methodological approaches. Thematic groups will be formed according to the responses received to this call. 

Focus of the Colloquium: As a practice-led discipline landscape architecture faces a challenge when trying to impose some sort of methodology on a somewhat theory-resistant subject. While the positivist sciences provide a well-equipped box of quantitative tools for investigating the physical layers of our environment and some for the social aspects, qualitative instruments from the domain of social sciences are often required for interpreting the human factor, especially in a deep way. The application of methods found in or developed by neighbouring disciplines has become common practice in landscape architecture research.

Conversely, the planning and design process itself has developed into a research method in its own right: Landscape architecture can create new knowledge through design and by the critical review or post occupancy evaluation of designs and implemented projects. However, this approach is only at the beginning of evolving its full potential. Furthermore, the product (or the process) itself can be regarded as an issue for research. We use case-study methodologies, critical analysis and hermeneutics for positioning landscape architecture in our cultural and social context. All of these can be valid approaches. Luckily, none of them tells the whole story on their own.

This is of course a reduced and incomplete spotlight on the situation but it shows the dilemma all (not only) young landscape architecture researchers face: How can we create new knowledge? In our colloquium we will try to approach this question by means of an interactive discourse among young and senior researchers from Europe and beyond.

Format and activities: The colloquium is intended to be a combination of individual mentoring, group discourse and thematic input on research methods. However, this year, we are not going to invite a series of thematic inputs form senior researchers. Instead, the core part of the colloquium will be an open space, i.e. an open discussion format by which the participants will define their discourse agenda at the beginning. This way we plan to address the diversity of needs and questions that usually arise among the community of landscape architecture researchers present at the ECLAS conference.


How to get involved as a thesis supervisor or senior researcher: Senior researchers or academic staff engaged with supervising doctoral theses are warmly invited to participate in the open space process, the discussion groups and the poster session during which feedback will be given on individual research approaches.

How to get involved as a doctoral student: Current and prospective doctoral students are invited to present a poster (A1) of their methodical approach in relation to the research hypothesis or question.

You are asked to answer the following questions with no more than 50 words each:

Title of my research project

  • Please state the short and the long version of your doctoral thesis.
  • What is my research topic and why did I select it?
  • Please explain what has been your (initial) assumption/hypothesis that you wish to prove or disprove. This section is not only about assumptions, etc., but also about context and scientific and societal relevance.

What is my research question and which research strategy & approach have I selected to answer this question?

  • Please explain why and on the basis of which methodological consideration you have chosen this research strategy. This section is, of course, also about specific sub-questions. Often there are (too) many sub-questions (!).

What is my research method and why have I chosen it?

  • Please explain your methodological framework and the methods you selected in order to implement your research strategy/approach.
  • There can (also) be multiple methods of course, each relating to a specific sub-question. Which guidance did you have/use when you select(ed) your research method?

What is, or will be, my empirical evidence and how will I collect and analyse my data/evidence?

  • What kind of evidence will be generated and how will it be analysed?
  • Explain, for example, your choice of case study and your selection of study areas, and any other approach to generating evidence.
  • In this context it might be useful to also explain your way of operationalizing the theoretical concepts that are included in your research question.

The poster is to be prepared according to a template (download PDF of template).

Submission deadline: 31st of August 2017 to this e-mail:

Prospective doctoral students: If you are a future doctoral student and still in the process of developing a thematic framework you are also invited to attend the discussions. In that case you may not submit an outline but please send an e-mail to the organiser to inform them of your intention to attend.


Organisational Issues

Time               Sunday 10th September 2017, from 10 am – 18 pm

Location        University of Greenwich, Department of Architecture & Landscape,                         room to be specified

Costs             Free of charge for ECLAS conference participants, reduced conference                fee for doctoral students available

25 € for those who are not registered for the ECLAS conference

A certificate of attendance will be issued on behalf of ECLAS.