The one-day workshop Post-Conflict Landscapes was co-convened by Professor Fiona Stafford (Professor of English, Oxford) in collaboration with the National Trust in support of the National Trust’s 2019 ‘People’s Landscapes’ National Public Programme.
The impact of major conflicts on a landscape are immediate and obvious – in the devastation of cities, the sites of pitched battles, the ruins of castles and abbeys. Preparations for war also make indelible marks, in the shape of forts, airfields, pillboxes, military bases, or fortified harbours. But what of the less obvious and often longer term effects of conflict on a landscape? What kinds of action are taken by survivors in the aftermath of conflict? Are post-conflict reactions dependent on the nature of the conflict, or can any patterns of human behaviour be seen in the erection of memorials, the erasure or preservation of signs of war, the reshaping or reconstruction of towns, coasts and landscapes?
The symposium was a targeted event for subject specialists and heritage professionals. Its purpose was to deepen understanding of the experience of conflict aftermath, the ways in which subsequent generations continue to be affected by past conflicts, methods of recovery after major collective turbulence, and the connections between the arts and literature and the physical landscape. The day consisted of three themed panels – on landscapes, seascapes, and buildings and collections – and a roundtable discussion at the end of the day.