The Essex Sustainability Institute is hosting a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk.
Our next scheduled seminar is on the 29th of November, at 12:30pm in Room TC 2.10.
The Lies of the Land? Foxhunting, Landscape Policy and the Cultural Appropriation of Space.
Abstract: In 2007 the UK Government adopted the European Landscape Convention (ELC). In doing so it became bound to recognise the significance of spaces as more than physical regions; they were also to be regarded as dynamic, living landscapes, characterised by distinctive and diverse identities. However, my analysis of foxhunting culture and spatial identity indicated that local landscape assessments, designed to implement the ELC, removed foxhunting from the English countryside. This is despite the fact that foxhunting has a distinctive, long-standing and fecund physical and social presence in the land.
In practice, policies, which are designed to implement the aims of the ELC and purport to embrace its ethos, actually have a tendency to frame space selectively. They contribute to an appropriation of the landscape and represent a form of bureaucratic colonialism. The ELC claims to incorporate inclusiveness, bottom up involvement and local empowerment. However, in practice, selective representations of the environment wrest power from places and from those who create and give meaning to them. This paper warns that this precedent represents a danger for our cultural and physical environment.
 The ELC was signed and ratified by the UK Government in 2006 and became binding in 2007.