Congratulations to the Landscape Institute on its publication of candidate videos for the 2019 LI presidential election. Great that there are four of them – and thank you to the candidates for putting their names forward. But it’s not a beauty contest and three minutes is not enough. Jane Findlay‘s video ends with the four words ‘I really understand that…..’ and she is then cut off. Before this happens she says she wishes to promote the relevance of the profession, talks about the need for gender balance in senior roles and emphasises the importance of digital skills.
What I’d most like to hear from each candidate is about themselves, about where they’d like to lead the LI and about how they would get us from where we are to where we should be. Sarah Jones-Morris‘ video talks about biodiversity, climate change and species extinction but does not seem to have been made as an election manifesto. Helen Tranter‘s video was made as an election address and opens by stating that ‘we are a small organisation with big ambitions – we would like to increase our influence and relevance’. She then observes that the LI has only 5,000 paying members while there are 17,000 landscape professionals in our industry. I guess every member would like the LI to deal with these issues and wish the video could be extended, by at least two minutes to tell us how. Brodie McAllistair‘s video has the best balance between telling us about his career (which includes education, practice and LI roles) and about his vision for the landscape profession. He supports Geoffrey Jellicoe’s statement that ‘landscape design may well be recognized as the most comprehensive of the arts’. He states that the LI ‘must deliver on long-standing objectives’ and he regrets that we ‘may lose ground to other professions’. He therefore believes, as I do, that the LI must therefore engage with the schools, with the media, with the arts, with the sciences and with the other professions.
There are many important topics here. For the next round of LI elections, I hope the time limit will be raised and that content guidelines will be issued. Candidates should be encouraged to tell us about themselves, about their vision for the landscape profession and about what practical steps they will take towards the realisation of their vision. Like bicycles, professions are apt to fall over if they fail to move forward.
Note: I’ve been a member of the LI for half a century and am sorry not have a vote because I am only a retired member. The Institute was founded in 1929 and has its 100th anniversary in 2029.