Landscapes of In/Justice – an interdisciplinary workshop

In late 2017, I was invited to participate in a small workshop entitled Landscapes of In/Justice, that was designed to celebrate the Landscape Research Group’s 50th anniversary by inviting discussion about ‘landscape justice’ in the context of the Port Arthur Historic Site. Located on the southeast end of Tasmania, Port Arthur is one of eleven penal sites connected to Australia’s convict past and recognised by UNESCO in 2010 as ‘world heritage’. As Waterton et al (2021:301) explain ‘the aim of the workshop was to bring together a group of scholars for a period of knowledge exchange and artistic exploration with the ambition of presenting Port Arthur’s histories of in/justice and punishment from a diversity of disciplinary perspectives…The workshop ran across five consecutive days, commencing with an introduction provided by the site’s Director of Conservation and Infrastructure, Dr Jane Harrington, with additional discussions offered by the Site’s Heritage Programs Manager, Dr Jody Steele, and archaeologists Dr David Roe and Dr Richard Tuffin. In addition to presentations and periods of self-guided reflection, the workshop also included visits to Point Puer, the Isle of the Dead and the nearby Coal Mines Historic Site.

In response to my participation in the workshop and subsequent research I developed a photoessay reflecting on the persistent imagining in word and image of Port Arthur as bad and beautiful heritage landscape. The exegetical text accompanying my creative contribution outlines my working process, including initial efforts to layer historic and contemporary photographs using painting and inkjet media. These images sought to bring the material, social and environmental qualities of the landscape, across different temporal dimensions, into play on a single visual plane. In the final suite of images, however, I chose a more definitive approach to rupturing the representation of landscape.

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