Observing interfaces: treasure hunt in the field

    Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureBijdrage aan een boek/anthologie


    Looking at an oil field landscape west of Paramaribo in the prelude, Gulinck and Schreurs did not detect the main land use being the oil pump first, but rather the lush greenery, canals and wildlife. In other words, a closer look at reality can reveal a different picture and a different story of the landscape. What is then a helpful way to look at that reality? What enables and supports a closer analysis of the actual landscape and its processes, besides existing maps? And equally important, how does one avoid yet again falling into the trap that is being criticized by the interface-concept, namely using a fixed land use categorization? In its static nature, the use of fixed land-use categories has difficulties in describing and responding to the inherently dynamic nature and use of the landscape. The interface concept intends to overcome this obstacle, but is still limited by language as well.

    By leaving traditional means such as books and classrooms behind, a field trip or excursion can be a learning method with a proper fun factor. The benefits of an excursion, to meet and understand interfaces in the field, are explored as one possible answer to the above questions and the challenges they pose. The interface-concept is not merely a refinement of existing categories of land use, nor just about simply adding to those categories. It is about something all together different than categories. The question then is: how do you communicate about land uses, about the dynamics you encounter, without the supporting frame ofcategories? Again, an excursion seems an interesting tool to explore further.

    As Kent et al 5 point out, excursions are based on the idea that the context for learning is made in the particular setting where the object for learning takes place and is placed. An excursion can be defined as an in situ learning and teaching practice 4 and is considered an action-based learning method requiring intense interaction between all people involved. A large body of literature indicates that an excursion is a good way to learn about the structuring and functioning of a space 2. Such experiential learning activities are an effective pedagogical strategy 9. Participants are more likely to be open to alternative readings or mappings of their everyday environment, and to be hospitable rather than hostile towards imagined future landscapes 3. Excursions and fieldwork are usually appreciated by a wide range of participants. They are fun and educational, and provide an interesting way to learn about and/ or discuss land use dynamics, and possibly interfaces. Moreover, bringing students into the field may serve as a bridge between the popular and the academic 3. This way, new insights can be transferred quickly into practice and to a wider audience.

    This reflection explores the role of field excursions in defining, describing, analyzing, understanding and unraveling the complex realities of the contemporary landscape, with respect to the concept of interfaces. First, I tried to understand what an excursion in a small peri-urban town can teach us about interfaces in general. Secondly, I tried to find out what an excursion can teach people, unfamiliar with the interface concept, about real-life land use. Starting point in both was an excursion.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TitelChallenging the boxes. Interfaces in landscape and land use.
    EditorsV. Dewaelheyns, H. Leinfelder, H. Gulinck
    Aantal pagina’s16
    Plaats productieAntwerpen
    UitgeverijGompel & Svacina
    ISBN van geprinte versie978 94 6371 045 9
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2018


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