Landscape Architecture

Posted August 6, 2020

Announcing ‘Through the Gap’: A Call for Ideas

Overview

“Many of us are experiencing pain and grief in these unprecedented times. At the same time, we live with the paradox that the loss we feel also makes possible the notion of a new post-pandemic normal—one that hopefully is more equitable, more inclusive, more nurturing of people and environments.”
– Richard Weller, professor and chair of landscape architecture; Lucinda Sanders, adjunct professor of landscape architecture and CEO, OLIN; and Zuzanna Drozdz (MLA'20)

The Mind the Gap team wants to hear about what you are thinking and doing in these difficult times. What motivates you? Gives you hope? Drives you? What projects and ideas are you developing and how?

This is meant to be a quick exercise--think of this more as an abstract or a snapshot than as a fully rendered and resolved piece. Work in progress/process work/thoughts in evolution are welcome.

Background

The Mind the Gap series explores the question of how young professionals in the field might survive, grow, and evolve in the employment gap that is likely to result from the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the pandemic has highlighted social and environmental injustice broadly, it has also done so for our profession, especially around racial inequities in access to education, in hiring and promotion, and in issues around work that negatively impact communities of color either through omission or through misguided attempts at design and intervention. As such, the discussions in the series have attempted to address these issues. Our speakers and their guests have also shared reflections and guidance on how you might use this moment to not only grow as a landscape architecture professional (or academic, or organizer or, or, or…), but also on how that growth might shape our profession.

Provocation

For this call for ideas we ask that you reflect on how you are navigating this gap:

  • how the gap is shaping your personal and professional realities and aspirations
  • or, what research project are your pursuing
  • or, what  design proposal, idea, or skill you are investing in  

Be sure to tell us why you think your idea is important and how it will be transformational to you, the profession, a community, or the world.

Requirements

  • A photoessay that mixes prose or poetry with images (maximum 4 spreads)
  • or, an essay (maximum 1000 words)
  • A current Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 professional and/or academic references, including names and contact information (email and phone number)
  • The ability to participate in the final Mind the Gap session on September 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

Submission Guidelines

1. Submit your entry to landarch@design.upenn.edu by midnight HST on August 18.
2. Please include [Through the Gap] in your email subject line.
3. Attach a PDF of your entry. Do not include your name on any pages of your entry. We want to keep entries as anonymous as possible for fair judging.
4. Attach your CV (it is ok for this to have identifying information here)
5. Include your full name, your graduation year and school (for landscape architecture) in the text of the email.
6. Include your professional and/or academic references (including email and phone number)

Recognition

Selection to participate in the final Mind the Gap session on September 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm.
The number of individuals selected will be dependent on the quality of the submissions, but could be anywhere between 3 and 8.

Criteria for Judging Submissions

Inspiring
Moving/shifting the conversation
Expressing Leadership
Radical creativity
Honesty
Clarity
Beauty
Power
Humor
Provocation

Jury

Head Juror: Rebecca Popowsky
Gina Ford
Maisie Hughes
Timothy Schuler
Aroussiak Gabrielian
Sanjukta Sen

Timeline

Release of Call: August 4
Submission Due Date: August 18
Review of Ideas: August 18-August 23
Notification of Winners: August 24
Public Announcement: August 26 during the Mind the Gap presentation
Mind the Gap Session: September 2 (6:00-7:30 pm)

Eligibility

Anyone who has graduated with their BLA or MLA from any school in 2020 and is still in the process of finding traditional employment (may have taken a non-traditional job, devised a creative way to make money, is independently pursuing research or a creative endeavor). Anyone who has been furloughed or laid off since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Groups of collaborators are welcome to apply together.

Mind the Gap and Through the Gap are organized by the Department of Landscape Architecture.