MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series: Ancestral grounds

03/25/21, 5:00PM

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  • Friday, March 25, 2021

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With support from The Grant & Shaya Kirkpatrick Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Leadership Fund

This set of conversations will focus on how the ground serves as a material medium through which to connect with ancestors, a manifestation of ancestral presence and care, a homeplace, while dislocated grounds can be claimed as a medium through which to play out diasporic identities and connections to homeland. It is equally a political terrain through which claims to rights and access are played out; where communities indigenous to a particular ground can claim the right to self-determination.

MODERATOR: Thaisa Way, Ph.D., Director of Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks

About the MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series

An interdisciplinary series on the ground’s many manifestations and meanings.


While a primary medium for landscape architects’ physical intervention, the ground has remained muted in discourse and action despite its many manifestations and capacities – to stir, to connect, to remember, as well as to expose and destabilize. This multifaceted explorative series aims to excavate the ground for these manifestations and meanings to better understand how we (humans) situate ourselves in the world and in relation to each other, to our pasts, and to the more-than-human - materials, systems, species. We explore its significance as a noun (the ground; a material), a verb (to ground; its agency), and an adjective (to be grounded; situated). In particular, the series will consider the ground as both a site of exploitation and extraction, as well as resistance and creativity. The series of conversations, exhibition and field happenings focused on questions of landscape and its varied grounds, integrates activists, designers, artists, scholars, scientists, environmentalists with diverse and intersectional identities.