Assignment 2: Your Landscape Symbols (2017)

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Time frame

April 5 - 19, 2017

Task Description

  • In this assignment, you are invited to identify features in your every-day surroundings that you believe have symbolic meaning and to interpret that symbolism. The task employs a method called “photovoice” which uses pictures to identify particular landscapes and their symbolic nature. You will identify and take pictures of three landscapes, which hold peculiar meaning in terms of landscape democracy.
  • For each picture, you will develop a caption that will seek to explain what these symbol(s) mean in the context of Landscape & Democracy. Examples of landscapes holding a symbolic values might be depicting sculptures or memorials referring to historical or political events, etc. Symbolic meaning can also be inherent in architectural/urban form. For example, a building or open space might symbolize changes that have taken place at certain times either because it reflects the identity of a long lost community or because they embody a new identity.
  • Often, these symbols and meanings came into being during specific moments in time and reflected a particular power structure or set of cultural assumption. Power structures may be changing while symbols are either maintained, or removed, or reinterpreted. On the other hand, symbols can also appear outside of conventional power structures, spontaneously created, representing alternative approaches to mainstream ideas.

The following questions should be kept in mind as you approach this photovoice assignment:

  • How and why did the symbols you identify appear in your surroundings?
  • Did their meaning change along with socio-political changes in your region, or country?
  • What do these symbols mean to you today? Are they understandable for someone outside of your own culture?
  • What do you think about sharing symbolic meanings of landscape?

Sequence of activities

  • April 5 - 10, 2017: Identify and take pictures of three landscape symbols in your surroundings. Upload at least one representative image to the seminar wiki. We will look at it during the session collectively.
  • April 10 - 18, 2017:
    • Complete your assignment by posting additional pictures on the wiki using the template introduced in class. You will need to add a caption (one paragraph max) description of their symbolism, interpretation, as well as geo-location. The pictures should be your own (no downloading from the web).
    • If you do not have a phone or digital camera, you can draw pictures or sketches of these symbolic landscapes.
    • Reflect individual findings as a team-effort in your group. Look through all the pictures and try to see patterns/themes/issues that are common to all. This reflection will also be added to the wiki template
  • April 19, 2017:As a group, present your findings in the plenary, please use this template for your presentation

Evaluation Criteria

  • Uploading and formatting of pictures and captions related to landscape symbol(s) on the wiki
  • Use of original materials and images (taken by yourself in your own landscape context), no copy-paste from online resources (!)
  • Differentiated reflection (social, historical, political, religious…)
  • Quality of oral presentation (i.e. keeping time limits, clarity, expression, quality of presentation slides