Sharing the Field: Art in the Landscape and Landscape Archaeology

A one-day conference at UCL on the 30th of November 2013. Hosted by the Aperture Project - a collaboration between UCL Institute of Archaeology (Hilary Orange and Matt Pope) & RED EARTH arts group (Caitlin Easterby and Simon Pascoe).


  1. Let's get started...
  2. In the welcome Hilary asked for a show of hands from members of the audience 'How many archaeologists are here?' How many artists are here?' It was about 50 / 50.
  3. First to take the floor was Robyn Mason. Robyn completed an MA Public Archaeology at UCL and has recently completed an MA Landscape Archaeology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She has worked for RealSim in Galway, Ireland for the past year as their Archaeology Consultant. RealSim specializes in creating fully immersive 3D GPS guided environments of past and present landscapes for PCs and smartphones.  @RobynGalway 
  4. Robyn's conference abstract is here...
  5. Then James R. Dixon talked about "Art and archaeology in the urban landscape: legibility vs habitability." James is an archaeologist with research interests in contemporary urban spaces, public art and historic buildings. His doctoral research (Creative Arts, University of the West of England, 2010) focused on investigating public artists’ practice, and how artworks, made in response to particular times and places, exist in the changing landscape. James is a Senior Archaeologist with Museum of London Archaeology.
  6. James' abstract for you:
    Contemporary developers, local councils, art institutions all play a role in the commissioning of public artworks which are allied to particular narratives, particular takes on life in the city, that are researched, created, promoted and, ultimately, physically located in the landscapes to which they refer. This is, broadly speaking, the art of legibility: the imposed, institutional take on the relationship between art and daily urban lives in known urban spaces. Contrast this with the art of habitability: the artistic manifestations of people’s attempts to live their lives in, around and in opposition to those institutional attempts at imposing certain narratives onto the city and the ways that people relate to built space.

    This paper will explore the relationship between the legibility and habitability as seen through art in the urban landscape. It will explain why contemporary archaeological perspectives are crucial to understanding this relationship and why understanding the nature of this relationship is, in turn, crucial to the future of urban landscape archaeology.