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Preservation and Place: The Cultural Landscape of Providence

2018 Symposium Bibliography

2018 Symposium Keynote Lecture video "The Natural History of Cities"

November 1-3, 2018

The 2018 Providence Symposium will present a range of events aimed to engage the public, design professionals, students, and PPS members as we investigate the layers of (sometimes invisible) cultural landscapes present in this city.

Each use shapes our city’s landscape in tangible and intangible ways, from buildings and rivers to place names and memories.  The Symposium will explore the many landscapes of our city—sacred, industrial, formal, threatened, vanished—and contemplate the ways we can recall and protect them or their memory for those who follow us. 

Noted academics and heritage professionals will help us to unpack the breadth and depth of this emerging area of study, as well as offer case studies to relate elements of cultural landscapes to our ever-evolving urban landscape.

Featuring a FREE Keynote Lecture by Ron Henderson, FASLA on "The Natural History of Cities" on Thursday, November 1.

Thursday, November 1 Schedule

"The Autobiography of a Garden"

Speakers: James Brayton Hall, President and CEO of The Garden Conservancy, and Andrew Raftery, RISD Professor of Printmaking

Hall and Raftery will deliver a presentation to be held at The Pavilion at Grace Church.

Gardens—culturally significant living works of art— are inherently difficult to preserve. The Autobiography of a Garden is an installation of twelve earthenware plates transfer-printed with engraving that shows artist Andrew Raftery going through the year performing gardening tasks appropriate to each month—a contemporary response to the medieval book of hours. 

The garden at Raftery's mother's home in Providence, Rhode Island, is both the inspiration for his work and a separate creative entity. In discussion with James Brayton Hall, President and CEO of The Garden Conservancy, Raftery will explore the relationship between the eight years it took to develop this project, the constantly renewing cycles inherent to gardening, and this novel approach to “preserving” an ephemeral garden.


Keynote Lecture

Speaker: Ron Henderson, FASLA

"The Natural History of Cities"
Landscape architect and director of the Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Ron Henderson FASLA will deliver the keynote address of the 2018 Providence Symposium.  His talk on cultural landscapes will include inspiration for his design of CityWalk.  Henderson with Phoebe Blake and Dan Baudouin received the PPS Preservation Initiative Award for Community Involvement in 2017 for their decade-long dedication to the study and planning of the 8-mile pedestrian and bicycle network, currently becoming a reality through the City of Providence.
Henderson is a frequent lecturer in Asia and North America, and his talk, "The Natural HIstory of Cities" investigates the persistence of natural factors - such as geological formations, hydrological regimes, soil formation, catastrophic events, and other factors - in the settlement and development of global cities such as Semnan (Iran), Beijing (China), London (England) as well as Providence.

Friday, November 2 Schedule

Professional Education Breakfast

Speaker: Leonard Yui, AIA, LEED AP, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Sustainable Studies Faculty, Roger Williams University

"The Rising Edge at Blithewold Gardens: Expanding Preservation, Regulation and Ecology through Sea Level Rise"

Yui will speak to waterfront landscapes and resiliency, and his work at Blithewold.

Saturday, November 3 Schedule

Introductory Lecture - Talk by Elaine Stiles, Asst. Professor of Preservation, Roger Williams University

"The Walls of the City Speak!: Seeing and Listening to Cultural Landscapes"


Panel I - curated and moderated by Danya Sherman, Community Development and Arts Consultant; participants include Doneeca Thurston and Kameko Branchaud

"Murals, Contested Public Spaces, and Belonging: Public Art in the Age of Displacement"

How can public art projects and programs better nourish and bolster communities that are vulnerable to displacement? Join cultural programmers, urban planners, and artists Doneeca Thurston (Creative Engagement Producer , Peabody Essex Museum), Kameko Branchaud (Artist and Director of Education, Newport Art Museum), and Danya Sherman (Community Development and Arts Consultant) for a discussion about the role of public arts in promoting stability or dispossession of long-term residents and low or moderately resourced communities.


Case Study - Taylor Polites and Christina Bevilacqua on the Pond Street Project (Cathedral Square)

"Engaging Community in History Gathering and Telling in a Providence Neighborhood"

The Pond Street Project, co-developed by Taylor M. Polites and Christina Bevilacqua in partnership with the Providence Public Library, will document Pond Street and the neighborhood that vanished with the redevelopment of Cathedral Square in the late 1960s. The Project intends to assemble a web-based primary source archive through research and community-engaged oral history and artifact-gathering programs. The Project will then partner with community arts and youth organizations to rediscover, revalue, and share local history in culture- and community-building programs.


 Panel II - moderated by Elaine Stiles; participants include Adam Anderson, James Brayton Hall, Paul Loether, and Carrie Zaslow

"The Power of People and Their Spaces: Culture, History, and Urban Resiliency"

Symposium Committee

Rita Danielle Steele, Chair

Alisa Augenstein

Jim Barnes

JP Couture

Charlie Hartfelder

Courtney New

Elena Pascarella

Carla Ricci

Elaine Stiles