an approach to people, place and space

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Consultancy and training

Experiemics Ltd. is the consultancy of experiential landscape.

Training and education

Over a number of years our research and practice activities have been complimented and informed by working with post-graduate landscape architecture and urban design students at the University of Sheffield and Leeds Metropolitan University.  This work helps us continue to develop and test methods and develop training workshops and CPD for application in different contexts.  Examples include:

  • One day workshop in Experiential Landscape observational techniques and mapping representation. Working with staff and undergraduate students at the Unit of Landscape Architecture, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden, January 2010.
  • A one day workshop in Experiential Landscape observational techniques and restorative environments for post-graduate urban studies students at University of West of England, February 2009.
  • Lecture and experiential walk with practitioners, RSAW Spring School, Portmeirion, Wales, April 2007.
  • A five day international Disability Equality Training of Trainers course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, organised by the Department of Social Welfare, Malaysia and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, November 2007.
  • A four day training workshop in Experiential Landscape mapping methodology for international post-graduate students at the Politecnico di Milano, funded by the European Union Social Fund, November 2005.
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Advisory and consultancy

Alice is currently involved as a peer reviewer for the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) research programme, where she is employed by the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU), Department of Sociology, University of York to review applications with a particular community and disability focus.

In 2009 we were invited to collaborate on the guidance for Landscape Architects involved in the 2009 Grounds for Optimism programme an; “award scheme that helps secondary schools plan innovative changes to their grounds.” The project partners included: Solent Centre for Architecture + Design, arc architecture centre, Kent Architecture Centre, Learning Through Landscapes, Hampshire County Council, The Landscape Institute and Sifer Design.
Advisory board associates to the Multimodal Representation of Urban Space Sensory Notations, a University of Strathclyde research project running from 2007 to 2008.

We regularly contribute to reviewing a wide range of manuscripts offered to academic and practice journals including: Landscape Research (UK), Urban Design International (UK), Journal of Urban Design (UK), Landscape Review (New Zealand) and Landscape Journal (USA).Back to top

Policy and practice guidance

Experiential Landscape principles and methods for creating sense of place through prioritising human relationships with environment have been included in practice guidance in the UK by Gillespies in their 2007 publication: Creating Inspirational Spaces: a guide for quality public realm in the northwest. Liverpool, Renew Northwest.

Projects that have influenced policy have included the “Excuse me I want to get on!” tram project. The findings from this project have been incorporated by travel operators in their staff training. Findings from the subsequent “What’s the fuss we want the bus!” project have been incorporated within the Sheffield City Council Mobility Strategy policy (2009).

We play an increasingly important advisory role with regard to policy. As a group Experiential Landscape now sit upon the Sheffield City Council Mobility Strategy Steering Group, and more recently Alice has been involved as a consultant to the Sheffield City Council Learning Disability Advice Project Steering Group.

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Networks and associations

Ian Simkins, Alice Mathers and Kevin Thwaites are part of various networks including:

  • Disability Research Forum (DRF)

    A postgraduate/postdoctoral interactive forum originating at the University of Sheffield (2004).  Active researchers involved, including those from neighbouring institutions, are drawn from a wide range of disciplines (e.g. Law, Education, Geography, Health and Social Care, Landscape, English, etc). It continues to be controlled and organised by PhD students themselves, whilst also being an integral part of the Centre of Applied Disability Studies (University of Sheffield), from which it enjoys support and constant encouragement.

  • Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, the University of Sheffield.

    The Centre aims to be a multidisciplinary Centre of international excellence in the study of childhood and youth that can contribute to theory and its application to policy and practice. It brings together a range of academics and researchers from different and diverse disciplines to explore the nature of childhood and youth in modern society.

    It is strongly committed to actively involving children and young people in the research process. The Centre is actively involved in exploring and developing methodological approaches that gives 'voice' to children and young people in the research approach. The Centre is also actively involved in trying to improve the lives of children and young people. Many members are involved in helping to shape and influence both national and local policy-making especially in relation to children's and young people's services. As a result the Centre is committed to working closely with policy makers, practitioners and other interest groups who are aiming to improve both the lives of children and young people and the quality of services. This involves the Centre in a programme of knowledge transfer and dissemination to a broad audience including children, young people and their families.

  • IAPS Restorative Environments Network

    An international network of academics, practitioners and students researching restorative environments, formed November 2007. Conveners: Kevin Thwaites and Terry Hartig of the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University.

  • IAPS Children, Youth and Environment Network (CYE)

    Joint Conveners: Ian Simkins and Sandrine Depeau

  • Centre for Place and Learning (Centrum för Plats och Lärande)

    An interactive forum for researchers and practitioners interested in the significance of Place for Learning – and Learning for Place.

    Project group: Mats Lieberg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Pia Björklid, Stockholm Institute of Education, Lars-Owe Dahlgren, Linköping University, Gunilla Halldén, Linköping University , Suzanne de Laval, Swedish Association of Architects, Maria Nordström, Stockholm University, Susan Paget, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Anders Szczepanski, Linköping University, Petter Åkerblom, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala

  • Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design (UStED)

    UStED, is an International Consortia conceived by Dr. Sergio Porta formerly of the Politecnico di Milano. The origins of the organisation date to 2003, with a vision to establish an initiative which includes three areas: Network, Research and Education, for the purpose of gathering, updating, co-ordination and dissemination of tools of Sustainable Urban Design, with special emphasis on ‘public space’. Interested parties were brought together in an inaugural conference at the Politecnico di Milano in January 2004. Following the success of this event the consortia has moved to strengthen its internal relationships and a core team has developed to promote and further the original aims.

    UStED Core team members: Ian Simkins, Kevin Thwaites, Alice Mathers, Sergio Porta, architect, PhD in territorial and environmental planning and Professor of Urban Design Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Ombretta Romice is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde. She is an architect and President of the International Association for People-Environment Studies (IAPS). Barbara Golicnik specialized in landscape architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University, UK. She is a researcher at the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. John L. Renne, AICP, is an assistant professor of urban planning and transportation studies at the University of New Orleans and an associate director of the University of New Orleans Transportation Center.

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