Post-graduate Landscape Architecture students at Landscape Interface Studio, Kingston University successfully bid for a £1,000 grant from Kingston University’s Student Academic Development Associate Research Scheme (SADRAS) to support their landscape architecture project, “Landscape IS: planting knowledge – growing capacity”. The Kingston students developed a ‘growing’ plot within Ham House offering an area of horticulture for members of the local community who would otherwise be excluded from community activities either through issues of mental health, social disadvantage or religious and economic grounds. The SADRAS scheme, set up by Kingston University Students’ Union in partnership with Kingston University Academic Development Centre, funds projects which offers students and staff the opportunity to work in collaboration to strengthen learning and teaching at the University.
Both staff and students were invited to initiate and consider particular issues which they would like to be the subject of the research. Successful project proposals would clearly show how students were an active partners in the project and preference would be given to those proposals that have been developed in partnership. The scheme was initiated to improve student-staff relationships by providing a collaborative environment where exchange of information and skills occurs e.g. research skills, student perspective and to create a bank of research based on issues and ideas relevant to Kingston University students, academics and staff.
The landscape architecture project, “Landscape IS: planting knowledge – growing capacity”, was based at the National Trust’s property Ham House, located in west London. Students on the Landscape and Urbanism MA and Landscape Architecture (LI accredited) PgDip courses took part in the project which was project managed by Colum Sheanon, a MA Landscape + Urbanism student. The project provided students with the opportunity to collaborate with representatives from National Trust, ‘Heritage-2-Health’ led by Theresa Nash of the Faculty Of Health & Social Care Sciences, St George’s Hospital, plus representatives from Children’s’ Trust, Kingston Centre for Independent Living and Kingston MIND.
“Taking part in the project enhanced the student experience of learning about plants and planting and relationship with identity of place. Students lead the learning experience, taking ownership of the collective project planning, management and delivery, including managing the funding.
Engaging students immediately with this project provides hands-on action-based learning alongside studio-based and theoretical learning. Students on our post-graduate landscape architecture programmes come with widely varying plant knowledge and geographies of experience. This approach has allowed for sharing and knowledge exchange within our cohort and development of individual interest and ownership. ” Pat Brown, Director Landscape Interface Studio