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Jonathan Miley talks to graduates and fellow professionals in Manchester

North West practices exhibiting work alongside the students.

North West practices exhibiting work alongside the students.

RLC were asked by Manchester Metropolitan University to give a talk at a gathering of newly graduated Landscape Architectures and fellow professional at a celebration event held in CUBE Gallery, Manchester. The event coincided with the Masters Students end of year show and provided them with an opportunity to meet and showcase their work to professionals from around the UK.

It was clear upon entering the gallery that the tutors at MMU have allowed this year’s graduates to be more expressive with their exhibitions than in previous years. This resulted in a significantly raised bar and an exhibition that appeared well considered, highlighting a diverse range of responses to the brief and more than competing with the Architecture graduates exhibiting just next door.

RLC were one of three speakers on the night including Tom Lonsdale of Playcraft and fellow Landscape practice Kinnear who had travelled from London for the event. Jonathan Miley (Senior Landscape Architect) gave RLC’s talk and encouraged the next generation of Landscape Architects (and professionals alike) that it isn’t all bad out there at the moment and things are (although slowly) getting better.

After much deliberation Jonathan decided to talk about a number of commissions the practice is currently undertaking using them to demonstrate the diverse range of projects Landscape Architects get involved with – some of which are more obvious that others! These ranged from helping a zoo to re-arrange a number of animal enclosures, developing multi-million pound flood defence schemes working with the Environment Agency and trying to convince Anglesey County Council that sinking a warship off the coast of Anglesey to create an artificial dive reef was a great idea! Jonathan argued that it’s the professions inherent flexibility and the diversity of skills that are our greatest asset. All we need to do now is educate the client to think the same!

Jonathan Miley talks about current RLC projects and that diversity is the key.

Jonathan Miley talks about current RLC projects and that diversity is the key.

Jonathan ended his talk on a subject that is currently in the media spot light, describing the work the practice does in this area as one of its most fulfilling. Whilst developing flood alleviation schemes isn’t viewed as the most glamorous work for Landscape Architects, it’s certainly one area that has the greatest positive effect of people lives. These schemes help safeguard communities, homes, businesses and places of work for the future. They involve the creation of new dams, embankments and flood walls and can run through open countryside, town centres or people’s back gardens. They involve community consultation, masterplanning, concept and detailed design, environmental assessment and habitat creation. In short, they encompass all that we do as Landscape Architects….they help to protect the environment whilst improving people’s lives.

The event was well attended by both students and professionals and the message from all speakers appeared to be the same; stay flexible and remember diversity is the key to the continued development, and survival, of the profession.

Students exhibited work related to their MA projects.

Students exhibited work related to their MA projects.