MLA+U ‘GROUND’ Conversation Series: Material Grounds

02/25/21, 5:00PM

  • Friday, February 25, 2021

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

Cover photo courtesy of Jane Hutton

We start this series of conversations with deep consideration of the ground’s physical matter – its underlying geologies, its biotic and abiotic assemblages, its biochemical processes, its material flows – as a means to focus our attention downward to the complex living system beneath our feet, and to contemplate its future within the geologic epoch of the Anthropocene. Operating across a range of scales, timeframes, and depths, this initial conversation explores the animate, relational, and differentiated articulations of the “ground” as material. 


MODERATOR: Aroussiak Gabrielian, Ph.D., FAAR, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism, USC School of Architecture


Emily Eliza Scott, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art History and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Ph.D., Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University fo California, Merced

Jane Hutton, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo

Ryan Dewey, Artist

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.