Louella Exton: Welcome to the 2021 RMIT Open Day, and for today's session for the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Design. My name is Louella Exton, and I'm a graduate of the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program. I'm also a current student in the Masters of Landscape Architecture here at RMIT. So what drew me to study landscape architecture was essentially my interest in the relationships we as humans have with the world around us. So during my secondary education, and perhaps like some of you listening here today, I love the environmental sciences and outdoor ed, but also subjects like studio arts and visual communication and design. Landscape architecture, therefore presented itself as a really exciting way to be able to combine my interests in the environment, with my passion for creating and making. Throughout my time in the program, I've been able to do just this.
I've learned and developed a range of creative techniques and ways of working, I've had my mind opened up by diverse theories and ways of thinking about the world, and I've been able to approach and understand the environment, and all its complexity as both systems and as details from larger to smaller scales. But perhaps my most significant takeaway, is this idea that landscape can really mean something different to everyone. I've been really lucky to have been exposed to, and learned from such a rich variety of creative practices. So those are my tutors and my lecturers. And in doing so, I've been supported and encouraged to really develop my own landscape architectural practice. It is this focus on the individual, together with the strong culture of design research here at RMIT, that I hope to carry with me into my future practice.
When I complete my studies, I'm excited to continue to develop new ways of designing, and using these to contribute to the world around me, and the challenges that we may face within it. I look forward to working within the community of designers, so those that I've studied alongside, those I've learned from, and the industry that the RMIT School of Landscape Architecture is intrinsically linked to. Thank you for taking the time to join us today. I will now hand over to Albert.
Albert: Thanks Louella. Hello everyone? I'm I'm Albert. Thanks for being here. I'm also in my masters, I've also done the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture beforehand. So just on behalf of Landscape Architecture at RMIT, I'd like to take a minute to acknowledge the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the Eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we learn and teach. We respectfully acknowledge their ancestors and elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the traditional custodians and the ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia, where we learn and teach. Landscape Architecture at RMIT is a set of programs that really does conduct its business of learning and teaching across the continent, and not just because we're kind of split up at the moment, learning online, but also because I think the programs make a real commitment of getting out and knowing the continent on which, presumably almost likely, if you're doing one of the programs, you're going to be living.
In making this acknowledgement, we always consider the significance of understanding that land on which we learn and teacher as unceded. We recognize that this implicates the significant opportunities we're offered at the university, in ongoing processes of violence and dispossession. We don't, however, make this acknowledgement in any kind of cynical despondence, rather as a discipline that will no doubt you'll see over the course of this presentation, holds a lively set of knowledge and skill for making change in the world. We also acknowledge our responsibility to direct that knowledge and skill toward working and improving the way this continents land management is undertaken, in the light of ongoing dispossession. And we're here today to extend an invitation to everyone who's here, to come along and see what we do, and invite you to learn and teach with us. So that done, I'll hand over to Jock, who's the program manager of the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design to talk about commitment to reconciliation. Thanks.
Jock Gilbert: Thanks Albert and thanks Louella for your lovely introductions and very articulate, I couldn't have really put it any more wonderfully. So thank you. Yes, my name's Jock Gilbert I am the program manager of the Bachelor of Architectural Design here at RMIT, and I'm going to guide you through this presentation today, telling you a little bit about the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, but also touch briefly on the way we see that being a pathway into the Master of Landscape Architecture, and further potential studies in the Master of Disaster, Design and Development here in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT. These are, we know programs that are world renowned, and they all allow you as students to work across a variety of disciplines, replicating real world experience, and it's a great way to give you early start to your career, a real boost.
As Albert said, RMIT is committed to reconciliation, we embed reconciliation into our practice as an everyday concern. As an institution, we're committed to redefining our relationship, working with and supporting Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander self-determination and cultural integrity. And that's core to what we do in the landscape architecture discipline. The university's goal, and we share that, is to achieve lasting transformation by maturing values, culture, policy and structures in a way that embeds reconciliation in everything that we do. In line with the principles of Bundjil, we are changing our ways of knowing, working and being, in order to support sustainable and practical reconciliation, and activate a relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous staff, students and communities, based on reciprocity and real understanding. So thank you. At this stage, I'll just hand over to our Associate Dean, Katrina Simon, who will guide you through the bigger positioning of the program and the disciplines, and then I'll speak to you a little bit on the other side of that. Thank you very much.
Katrina Simon,: Thank you Jock. And again, thanks Louella and Albert for a really great insight into your experience, which is, we believe that Landscape Architecture is a truly inclusive and diverse discipline. So I'd like to echo the welcome from Louella, Albert and Jock, and from all of the team at Landscape Architecture at MRIT. So even though we are currently far apart, we are joined by one thing, and that's that we are always all living in landscapes, and these are urban landscapes, suburban landscapes, rural landscapes and our discipline is a wonderful one, it's wherever you go, you are in landscapes at all scales. So studying Landscape Architectural Design and Landscape Architecture as a discipline, means that you learn how to read, understand, and appreciate them, in order to design better, and build usable and livable landscapes for humans and all of the living ecological systems that they consist of.
So as a design discipline and practice, landscape architecture works with many of the things that we love the most. Plants, gardens, parks, plazas, seasons, rivers, coast lines, communities and memories, to address many of the things that we fear the most, climate change, environmental degradation, loss of the natural world, disruption and drab uniform public spaces. So in this program, and in these programs, you'll get to learn from acclaimed local and international landscape architects, architect and urban designers, and really expand your skills to contribute the future of design, research and [inaudible 00:08:09].
I'll shortly hand it back to Jock, who'll give you a bit more detail on the structure of the programs, but I'd also invites you to add any questions that you have into the chat, and these will be followed up throughout the second part of our presentation. So again, a warm welcome, and I really hope that some of you find in this presentation, some ideas and opportunities that really inspire you. Thanks very much. Back to you Jock.
Jock Gilbert: Thank you, Katrina. And, we do feel that that statement of intent of the discipline, is one that carries great hope. As Albert said, we're not becoming despondent or cynical about the situations that we find themselves in, but as students within this discipline, and we count ourselves as staff, as students also, learning continually how to move forward in the world that we find around us. We love Matthew Neil who went through both programs about five or six years ago, quote that expands very succinctly beyond the notion that some of us have, that landscape architecture might be about pretty gardens, which it's not, but actually about dealing with the challenges of urbanization. Water, energy, food, security, reconciliation, climate change, biodiversity loss, as well as ensuring equitable access to transport, work, leisure, health and happiness.
Matthew now finds himself running policy around landscape issues in a multinational firm, reporting back to various levels of government. So he's really been able to embed that in his practice, and values that practice in a remarkable way. Thank you all. If we can go to the next slide. Thank you. So for all of you looking at joining our program, and we very much hope that you will be joining us next year, the requirements are, we don't focus on an ATAR, our prerequisites are, just a successful completion of an Australian Year 12 or equivalent, you will need a Victorian Certificate of Education, VCE unit three and four and a study score of at least 30 in English or 25 in English other than EAL. We do ask you to complete and submit a selection task, which is a very easy, straightforward way of asking you to represent the world as you see it around you, and then to suggest the ways that you might make a change to that world.
So, just as we suggest, the way you approach the program, and you'll study individually throughout the program, what we are asking is that you can focus on a very small part of that world, or anything up to the entire world, it's completely up to you. But the task itself is very directed, and very easy to follow. After that, we invite you in for an interview, and we ask you really to explore and explain to us what interests you about the world. If you have an interest in the world and you can share that passionately, you will succeed with us. So going into the next slide, thank you. When you get here, you will start by straight away studying design, and in the School of Architecture and Urban Design, and particularly in the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, we learn design by doing design.
So your studying in any semester, 50% of your load, through what we call a design studio, where a small group of you will come together to explore an issue in the world, or a way of designing around an issue, usually in groups now more than 18 to 20, and you pursue that through the semester with one or two studio leaders. You will find that we divide the rest of the syllabus up into three streams, which all deal with the world and the world of landscape architecture. So you will study environment, which is the study of the world around us, you will study theoretical frameworks, which is considering all of the ways that others have thought about similar issues in the past, so those who go before us. And you'll also study communications. And communications asked us to consider how we might communicate, and use communication tools as tools of design, through all of those issues and approaches.
You'll also have the opportunity to engage in two university electives, which means that you can choose electives that allow you to explore your passions in lots of other different areas of the university. It could be photography, it could be Japanese, it could be the urban and regional planning, lots of different alternatives there. And we also offer a lot of field trip-based electives, which, once we get out of this COVID situation, we will be able to offer again, as Albert said, engaging with people very often Aboriginal people in diverse parts of Australia. Thank you. So what is a design studio? This is Design Studio One, which is the only design studio, which you will come together as an entire year cohort. So for all first year, first semester students in Landscape Architectural Design, come together to study Design Studio One.
And these are project-based studios, and you will be invited, with all of your peers to come together, form a little community, and work out your design approaches, through particular issues in the world. Thank you. Once you've been through Design Studio One, you have the necessary techniques to launch into what we call the Vertical Design Studio stream. And vertical studios are really fundamental to what we do. So that just means that you will be able to choose the studio that you want to do, the one studio that allows you to indulge your passions for that semester and really develop either an issue or a design approach, or a technique, and to do that in a cohort of 18 to 20 of your peers, and they are drawn from across year levels. So you are learning with your peers in a very collegial system, whereby you learn almost as much through your discussions with your peers, as you do from your tutors.
You will also, as you work through, if we can just slide through the next couple of slides, slowly, thank you. You will engage in a range of issues, but you will also be able to see what your peers are doing in other studios, as you move through. So you will develop skills in communicating your ideas through the conventions, if you like, of drawing, communicating to an audience, very often communicating to the very communities that you are working with. If we could keep moving through there, thank you. Once you are here, and once we're all back in non-socially distanced structures, you will be studying within RMIT's design hub, on the corner of Swanson and Victoria Streets.
So we are a school, the Architecture and Urban Design School, and the discipline are embedded within the city, so you are very much learning in an environment which stimulates, and is stimulated by current discussion on how the city looks. So you'll be engaged with alumni, with practitioners, and with your peers in Architecture and Interior Design. So there's also lots of opportunities for cross-fertilization. We have a great range of facilities in that building, including the HoloLens, and lots of kind of IT stuff that all seems like magic to old people like me, but it's amazing. I'm always amazed at what youth can bring to this, and what everyone's able to learn through robotics, through engagement with alternative realities and augmented reality mechanisms. Thank you sir.
The design studios often travel when we're in a non-COVID world. This is an example of a studio that went to Berlin a couple of years ago, looking at spontaneous ecologies, and the way that the Europeans are thinking about open space. I hope that this is their reaction at the end of the studio. It seems like they had a lot of fun, and given the outcomes that came out of the studio, they all learnt heaps as well. A little fun fact there is, or a little fun question is to try and identify who are the students, and which is the studio leader. They've all sort of blended together a little bit there, but it's a great studio. Thank you. You'll also, as Albert suggested, get the opportunity to travel and understand our relationship with this continent that we call Australia, and be engaged with studios in the field directly with community organizations. Very often with Aboriginal community organizations and others, understanding what is their place in this amazing country.
Thanks Sarah. One key plank of our education is the Kerb Journal. So Kerb is a student-edited and led-journal, which is published once a year, it's now getting close to its 30th year of publication, it's one of the preeminent landscape architectural journals internationally. It has a great reputation, and I think you'll find that the people that contribute to that, the editing of that, find it a remarkable plank within their career. Albert could probably give us a thumbs up there. Thank you. And look, you also have the opportunity to contribute into that as a contributor into the journal. Thank you. We're deeply embedded in industry, and have connections directly into that, both into the government and non-government organizations of Australia, but also directly into practice. So you will undertake design projects with leading landscape architects, you'll attend field trips and studio practices, we very often invite practitioners in to talk to us. You'll work on industry projects with clients, you'll engage with communities and with industry in real life projects, and you'll have the opportunity to enter project competitions, which are judged by leading industry experts.
Some industry projects, we've had Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design students working on greening the West in Melbourne with City West Water, with the Melbourne Zoo exploring ways that visitors move through their dynamic landscape and with the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation in South Western New South Wales, designing landscape infrastructure. Thank you, Sarah. We have a range of industry partners with whom we engage in design studios, so that you learn with these partners. These are international, they're state-based, they're national-based, and whilst sometimes these are short-term, very often they're very much long-term partnerships leading to real projects. Thank you, Sarah.
Once we return from this COVID situation that we're in, you will find yourself presented with opportunities for global study also. We have partnerships with 200+ universities around the world, and many of our student to take up those opportunities. Thank you. We have award-winning staff, students and alumni, which means that we see ourselves as being involved in, or having the opportunity to lead the profession. And that's evidenced, I think, by our ability to continually generate these award winning projects. Both Albert and Louella have been the recipients of really high-level awards at the university level, across the entire university, which is fantastic. We have staff and alumni who have been the beneficiaries of awards at the AILA or the Australian Institute of Landscape Architectural Awards at both state and national levels.
And a particular call out to our recent alumni, Jasjit, who has just been given a grant to undertake work in his home country of India, which is really addressing some of the significant issues which are occurring there at the moment. Thank you. You'll have a range of career outcomes from studying the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design. We really position this as being a pathway into the Master of Landscape Architecture, which is where you become an accredited landscape architect, but you are able to exit after the three years of Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, working as a landscape technician in private practice, in local government, in state government organizations, sometimes in national government or organizations, you can hang out your shingle as a self-employed contractor, as landscape designer, you'll have the ability to operate as an ecological designer, you can move into a more domestic realm if you like as a garden designer. And we have quite a few graduates who move into project management, working in large scale landscape civil projects, as project managers. Thank you.
Nicki Schwabe, who is a graduate from about 10 years ago, has developed a really interesting and innovative practice, which he kind of makes the point. The connections he made during his studies have enabled him to gain a foothold in the industry, and then to develop a number of projects, whilst studying, and those projects have continued to influence his practice. So he's taken the projects that he worked on as a student, and built them up into a significant practice, which he's currently involved in. If we then go to the Master of Landscape Architecture, which is a two-year industry accredited, so a degree, it is postgraduate, and it is conducted by coursework, you are able to enter the Master of Landscape Architecture at both midyear and the start of the year, and it's an opportunity for you to much more highly develop your design skills, and your capacity for leadership in the profession.
You will study across those two years, culminating in what we call project A and B, which are significant pieces of work, which allow you to develop and publish, and to proceed into your career. Very similar structure to the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, you do two design studios and then a range of four design research seminars, which help you to understand what is design research. And that all culminates with professional practice, sorry, and an elective, and that culminates in the large projects of A and B, where you develop your own position. Thank you. So, for Master of Landscape Architecture, you will need to apply, you'll need a Bachelor or a equivalent degree in landscape architecture, in architecture, or we say in related design fields.
Applications are accepted on an ongoing and rolling basis. And for semester one 2022, again, you'll have to complete the selection task, and you have to do that no later than the 25th February. You should apply as soon as you can, you need at least two to three months before classes commence, so you can have sufficient time to prepare your documentation. Thank you. In the Master of Disaster, Design and Development, you will find a postgraduate professional master's degree that specifically sets out to address issues in the world of real world nature, and of significant impact. So it's a cross-disciplinary, post-professional master's degree, it's delivered through flexible online study, and again, midyear and startup year entry. But it looks at issues of just and equitable development, humanitarian shelter, disaster management, disaster resilience, the climate crisis, informal settlements and delivering nature-based solutions and sustainable development design opportunities for a fragile planet. Thank you, Sarah.
Again, a similar, but much tighter structure than the other two programs, you'll study a major piece through each of your semesters, and then you will study electives, which contain knowledge within them and material content, which can help to feed in and bolster your major study area in each semester. So you'll end up in semester three, undertaking an industry project implementation project, which again is a piece of work that sets you up, and which will allow you to move into practice in a meaningful way. Thank you. So, application for the Master of Disaster, Design and Development are accepted from bachelor-equivalent degrees in design, built environment, project management, engineering, social science, communication or health. Again, applications are on an ongoing or rolling basis. You need to submit your selection task no later than the 25th February again, but you do need just to recognize that you'll need two to three months before classes commence. Thank you.
So the important dates for 2022, obviously for the Masters of Landscape Architecture and the Masters of Design Development, you will need to take into account that February 25th date, but fundamentally classes start on the 28th February in 2022, and we do look forward to seeing you all there with us. I think we might have a couple of slides left Sarah.
Will Mullesen: My first real design studio outside of the foundation studio.
[inaudible 00:28:54] I think it remains my most important. Jock Gilbert took us out to remote Western New South Wales to the small town of Wilcania. We spent [inaudible 00:29:06] years making these awesome working relationships with the [inaudible 00:29:09] people out there, on the Darling River or the Barka [inaudible 00:29:14] custodians, a pretty cultural and ecologically important land. We worked on designs that made the best use of this little park right in the center of town. It was really well loved, but it was also worn out.
Scarlet McClure: So my favorite studio that I've done, it was called Repair, it was led by Jessica Stewart, and it was based at Westgate Park, which is the park with the pink salt lake, and like the name repair referenced the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2018, and the studios looked like kind of [inaudible 00:29:58], like repair or the generation meant for that park. But I think it was my favorite studio because I got to really experiment with how I collected and displayed information. So, I spent a lot of time at the park and I did video works, and even made sculptors and stuff, just to kind of test how these small interventions would do to actually affect movement on the site. And I had so much fun getting to just experiment with these different ways of collecting information.
But I also found that I uncovered a lot about the site, also about how I learn doing those things that... I don't know. I found it really effective, and it also helped me to kind of understand even some of the studios I'd done before that maybe weren't as successful. So it was good way of reflecting on my other studios and reflecting on how I like to learn.
Jock Gilbert: Thank you. That was just two short clips from, Will [Mullesen 00:31:18] and Scarlet [McClure 00:31:21], who are both current and previous students in our Bachelor or Landscape Architectural Design, just explaining a little bit about their experience in what we call design studio. So, thank you very much for joining us this morning. We very much look forward to the proposition of seeing you join us next year in the program, and I will now hand back for the last word to our student Albert and Louella. Thank you very much.
Albert: Thank you Jock. Thanks everyone for taking the time to come and learn about our globally recognized, and I think more importantly, as we've seen through these presentations, like really locally integrated, locally active and locally conscious set of programs. We're moving now to a discussion phase of the session, so feel free to ask some questions in the chat to myself and Louella, if it's about student stuff, or to Jock and Katrina, if it's about program-specific stuff, and I'm just going to hand over now to Alice to get us through some of those first questions that we've got in. So thanks for coming along.
Alice: Thanks very much Albert and for everyone for those presentations. So I'm a staff member here in the program as well, and we're getting some really great questions through in the chat, and I'd encourage you to ask some more, if you have them there. Some of them have already been answered through text from our moderators, where we have Philip Belesky, who's the program manager of the Masters of Landscape Architecture, typing away and also, Louis Gregory who's one of our fantastic student services team. I'm going to hand over a couple of questions to our speakers, but yes, I'd encourage you all to put some more questions in there as we're going through them. So, if I could get this first one, I'll just pass through to Jock again, to reiterate a couple of things, as well as extend the conversation on entry requirements and the task around the creative task on entry.
So, the question here is probably a double question of a couple of things. So one is just that ATAR, is there a specific ATAR that is needed to be reached and then, following on from that, with the additional, the special requirement task, is that something that needs to be submitted at the same time as the VTAC application or is the VTAC application submitted and then the notification to do the extra task given? So Jock, if you could just answer that one?
Jock Gilbert: Thanks for the tricky and complicated one first up, Alice. I wonder whether it's worthwhile putting a link to the selection page. Are we able to put make that available to the participants?
Alice: I believe to the participants.
Jock Gilbert: Okay, that's great, because I'd speak to that. So the details in answer of that question are all on our admissions page for Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, on the RMIT website. And it's very clear, it's the selection task for Semester one, 2022, you must complete and submit the Landscape Architecture Selection task, and then VTAC applicants must register and select and submit the selection task here. All of these tasks must be submitted by the date noted below for each VTAC round. So, for the main round, all applicants must submit their selection task by the 19th November of this year, for 2022. If you'd like to go into the early round, which is for non-year 12 students, you must submit that task by the 30th September, which is coming up. And I can assure you that it doesn't take a lot of time to submit the task. But the submission details and the submission platform are all in the website, they're very clearly linked.
I hope that answers that question. Does that answer that question Alice? [crosstalk 00:36:08]. If we have places available still at that late point, there are subsequent rounds which will come up, up until the 11th of February 2022. But really it's the 19th for the main round, the 30th September, if you're a non-VCE applicant, or non-year 12 applicant, and then the late ones are the 11th February.
Alice: Thanks Jock. So moving into, I guess the question's more around the content of the program itself. We have one here [inaudible 00:36:45] Johanne to Katrina regarding things that I've learned and specifically here around horticulture. So asking if there is aspects of horticulture taught throughout the course, if and then how students come to know about plants and their culture and what they need.
Katrina Simon,: Sure. Thanks Alice. That's a great question. It's definitely an aspect of landscape architecture that a lot of people are particularly interested in. And in the Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design, you may have seen when Jocko] was explaining the structure, there is a whole stream of courses related to environment. So that is where many of the principles of understanding plants and plant systems and ecologies are taught, in those courses. But they're also embedded very strongly in the studios themselves. So, in the studio options that we have, we have always studios which have a particular focus on ecologies plant materials, but they also are effectively embedded in all of those in different ways. So there are certainly opportunities to focus on those as part of your study. And then, I guess in the masters as well, there are also aspects and choices within the seminar stream and again, within the design studios with particular focus on plant material.
But I think one of the things I would say is that it's very much always really trying to see that embedded within, not just plant material or plant life by itself, but really understanding that really embedded within ecologies, but also social meaning and importance. So really trying to understand all of the ingredients with landscape architecture, and how they relate to each other. Did that answer your question?
Alice: I think it does, hopefully it does. I might also just keep you there Katrina, and field another question through to you, which has just come through and is a really great one. For the Masters of Landscape Architecture, how does MRIT differentiate themselves against courses from other Unis? Yeah, over to you.
Katrina Simon,: Sure. So I think some of the things that are distinctive about the Master of Landscape Architecture at MRIT, one is the particular range of elective studios and elective seminars that we have. They're particularly diverse, so there is a lot of choice that students have. And part of that also relates to the structure of the final capstone, a subject that's part of the MLA where people will do project IMB, that Jock explained a little bit earlier. So that's really a self-directed form of study, it runs across a whole year of study. It's a very substantial piece of work, and it gives people the opportunity to actually pick up on things that they've studied in the design studios or in the seminars, and create a project of their own particular interest. Many programs around Australia and elsewhere do have a final project at the scale of the final project and the degree of variation at MRIT is quite distinctive, definitely.
Alice: Thank you. I'll try to find a nice path through some of these pretty complex questions. I'll hand over to Jock for this next one. It had a text response, but I'll open it up for discussion as well. So Jock, if you could talk to whether there's much about climate change, in responding to the climate emergency in the landscape architectural degrees.
Jock Gilbert: Thanks Alice. I could almost I reckon handball that over to Louella and Albert. But look, from a program perspective, we are absolutely committed and embedded in providing our student body with opportunities to develop their skills, in response to the big issues of the world of the day. And these include, climate change, these include perhaps some issues that are consequential of, or consequences of climate change, including biodiversity loss, urban heat island effects, these kinds of things, as well as reconciliation, and we understand them as being all interconnected issues. So your design studios will be operating within a clear recognition of that realm. So, I would argue that yes, each of you will be able to develop skills that respond and tackle those issues.
And very often we're responding and developing skills to rethink those issues, and think about the world that we live in as one, which is inherently changing, and how we, as landscape architects act within that world of change. I will now, I reckon hand over to Albert who has put his hand up to address that question from a student perspective, and I hope there's some relationship between what I've said and what Albert's going to say. Thank you.
Albert: Yeah. No, I there is. I think there's a lot of stress among people coming out of school now, but quite rightly about the situation we're in, when it comes to climate and about, what can you do to do your bit to help make a change? And I just think, if you're tossing up how to do that, and science isn't your thing, but maybe you're kind if more inclined toward visual arts, but you want to do something that's more pragmatic and more specific, then it's an incredible through line to direct that skillset in representation of space and having an appreciation of the world around you that you reflect through visual media or whatever, it walks that line really beautifully in a way that lets you make measurable change. I'd just say that if that's something you're struggling with, how do you do your bid in the context of a climate emergency? Then it's an incredible pathway for doing that, that can help you to feel like you're doing good work.
Alice: Thanks Albert. That was a fantastic summary, and funnily enough, I think touched on the reasons why I ended up here all those many years ago. So we'll just keep moving through the questions, but again, feel free to keep them coming in from the audience. Let's turn our attention to studio, so design studio, and there's a question here from the audience, which I might hand to Katrina and then perhaps we can get a followup from Louella, has an experience in studio. So really talking around, are studios group work, or are they solo work? So Katrina.
Katrina Simon,: Thanks Alice. It's a great question, and the simple answer is they're both. So one thing that we are really mindful of the fact that landscape architecture is already a multidisciplinary discipline and practice. So in practice, everybody will be working in very large and complex teams or small and nimble teams. So certainly working in groups, and working collaboratively is an important part of the design studio set up. At the same time, we're also really mindful of the fact that people need to experience different aspects of designing themselves, and actually be able to demonstrate that they have learnt those skills. In most cases we have a blend, so it's quite common, for example, to have some sort of collaborative or group work in the early stages of a design studio, and then sometimes taking part of that, or an angle from that into the second part.
Some studios are designed as group work all the way through, depending on the very particular aspects of the studio. So for example, some of the projects that ended up being exhibited at the Venice Biennale early this year in architecture Biennale, we actually run as a group work, but again, it's not an automatic thing, it's very much considered as part of the design of the studio experiences as a whole, but then you do get those skills of working collaboratively, but also you take projects through and demonstrate your own capacity to work with it. So it has a bit of a mix, and the mix will depend on the nature of studio task itself.
Alice: Thank you. And if I could just get Louella perhaps to follow up on that in regards to a student who has been through the studio process?
Louella Exton: Yeah, I can only really echo what Katrina said as well. It's very much both, and I definitely did a range of studios, which combined group work or individual work. And I think what's really fun in that is that in bouncing between the two, you really get to move from learning about how you work yourself as an individual designer, and then learn how to contribute that back into a group working setting. Like Katrina said, some studios do really lend themselves or require group work. So for example, I took a studio that was a traveling studio to Ho Chi Minh City and that involved a lot of data analysis and capturing, and a really large-scale body of work, which really couldn't have been done if you were doing that on your own.
But as a group of 10 people, we were able to move through the city and not a very long time and be able to capture so much, which is really incredible. Even if it is just a part of, say that observation or the early stages of the design studio, sometimes you might then go on and take a project on in your own way. And then other scenarios, it is very much focused and it gives you the opportunity to, I guess, work a bit more intimately with yourself and understand what it is that you really want to get out of the studio and the ways that you want to work. So, yes, it's definitely, definitely both.
And I think just to add, the beauty of the studio system is that, you get to actually ballot and nominate which studio you'd like to go for each semester, and they change each semester. So if you've already done a few ones that have been group work, you might decide, "This time, I'd like to do something that I can focus on myself." So you actually have agency and choice in how you'd like to curate that pathway as well.
Alice: Thanks Louella. That was great. So, we've got a couple more questions, Some are around drawing representation and computer skills, which I would like to get to, but before we go through those ones, I'll just hand one over to Jock, which is querying about, does a diploma offer a pathway, and is there differences between a diploma and a bachelor program? So Jock?
Jock Gilbert: Thanks Alice. Yes, and that's another great question. Within MRIT, we have two pathway diploma programs. One is the Diploma of Conservation and Land Management, and if you successfully apply to us, or if you successfully complete that diploma program and apply to us, you will receive credits, and similarly, we have a pathway program from the Diploma of Building Design. And again, you will receive credits in your Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design. They're different credits, obviously from Conservation and Land Management, but credits all the same. And I think that does also in a little way, segue into the question of drawing, which I will allow Alice to have a crack at as well, as the stream coordinator for communications.
But just to differentiate between those two pathways, we don't expect a level of drawing skills from someone coming in from a pathway from Conservation and Land Management, but they do bring a rich experience of what landscape is, and what the world of landscape can offer. Conversely, we understand that someone coming in from the Diploma of Building Design as a pathway is highly skilled at drawing, because that's what that pathway suggests, but perhaps don't have that experience of landscaping in a kind of environmental sense. So, we're picking up on both. So the bachelor program, we don't expect you to be a landscape architectural designer when you come in, we provide you with those skills, in order to be able to explore the world of landscape, in a kind of general sense. But I will throw it back to Alice to put some more meat on the bones of that question, because it's a great one. Thank you.
Alice: Thanks Jock. Yes. So I am the stream coordinator of the communication stream. And I think Jock did a great job of answering that question, but it is really as landscape architects, drawing is a large part of what we do, and therefore also it is a large part of what we learn and what we teach. So to be good at drawing, I think at the beginning is definitely not a prerequisite to be excited to learn drawing, and learn a range of drawing modes is probably a prerequisite, and that I'll just speak quickly to a couple of other questions that are coming through in that same thread as well. Because we work through drawing in a whole series of ways. We explore hand drawing, we explore drawing through computer programs, such as drafting programs, 3D modeling programs, animation programs. And all of that is taught through the structure of the course itself.
So, you don't need to come in with pre-existing knowledge of these computer program tools, it's sort of all packaged into what we do. But I might just... I know Albert has spent a long time curating or crafting a drawing practice through the degree, and I might just hand over to Albert to quickly talk about that experience.
Albert: Yeah, for sure. Thanks, Alice. I couldn't draw when I started the degree. I came out of school and didn't know what the perspective was, I was drawing and I'd stick figures and things. Not that there's anything wrong with stick figures, but I really didn't know anything about drawing at all, and I had no idea. And in the first year of the degree, I was still able to do... All the things that I needed to say with the drawings, I could say with the drawing skills that I had, and by doing those drawings I built on my drawing skills. And I think throughout, it's a lot more about what your drawings doing, than if your shading is really like a billion percent looks like a photorealistic render shading. It's about what the drawings are saying. And as long as you're having fun doing your drawings, and you're enjoying doing the drawings, you're not going to have any problem with your drawings, no matter what level of drawing you come in with.
Alice: Great. Thank you. I think we can just squeeze in one more question perhaps, and I think this is quite an important one. So Jock, could I just get you to super briefly address the question of what is looked for in portfolios? Assuming this is entry portfolios.
Jock Gilbert: You will proceed on the basis of that assumption. Thanks Alice, and again, it's a great question. In a portfolio, we love to be able to see you as an applicant and your interest in the world. So how are you're passionate about the world, how you're passionate about changing the world, making your mark in the world as a designer. The one thing I can almost say it's easy to answer what we don't like to see in a portfolio, and that's what everybody else is doing, and very often we have applicants who give us a portfolio which is all of the work that they've done at school through Viscom or whatever that is. So, some of that may be really significant, but if you're going to provide that in a portfolio, also, give us a piece of work that you've done outside of the school framework.
So, something that demonstrates something that you've really wanted to do. Something that you've wanted to explore. It might just be a series of photographs with some written texts that explain to us, what it is for you that is about the climate emergency, if you like. Or what you think might be changed in the world in response to issues of reconciliation, or biodiversity loss. Or drab uncolorful public spaces. So it's really in your portfolio, we need to be able to see, or we'd like to be able to see, you and your relationship to the world.
Alice: Thanks Jock. I think we're our time cap. So we're going to wrap up really quickly, but just if I can get you to super, super briefly answer one more question, which is just, if there's work experience within the program? And I'll just hand back to Jock for that one.
Jock Gilbert: I might both answer that and then quickly throw it back to Philip, but there is work experience embedded in the program in that, all of our studios are dealing with live issues to do with practice and the practice of landscape architecture. There isn't a formal component of, go out and work in a practice or work in an industry, but everything that we do is geared towards industry and practice. So it is work-related. Beyond that, I'll let Philips answer that in terms of masters where it's much more explicit, but we also have practice coming in to meet us and our students within the academy. So work and work experiences and the relationships that start to lead to those work experiences, are embedded in what we do and teach. So thanks, Phillip, you might like to have a quick chat about the experience in masters.
Philip: Sure. So like Jock mentioned within the masters, our studio programs are so embedded within practice, both in terms of the ways that they work, who teaches them, and occasionally we also have studios that are in fact embedded into an office or a landscape architectural practice in itself, and students learn in that environment. Within the masters as well, we also have a distinct option, which is an internship program, whereby students in exchange for usually a semester's worth of credit, will go and work at a landscape architectural practice, and then report, or kind of examine the work they do as part of their study.
So usually or in the past, when travel has been a bit more free, those internships they're often overseas, at very prominent landscape architectural practices perhaps, I'd say Boston in the case of staffs, or in Spain and France and various other [inaudible 00:58:24] areas as well. So as part of that almost kind of exchange plus internship, plus a semester of study, students might spend two to four months working full-time at an acclaimed practice, and receive a full semester's credit for that study option. So hopefully that answers the question, and I think now I'll pass back to Katrina.
Katrina Simon,: Thanks Phillip, and thanks everyone for joining us today. It's been great to have an audience with some great questions. We hope you found some information that's really giving you ideas and have inspired you, and we really hope to have applications from some of you, so that you can come and join the great program [inaudible 00:59:08] fantastic students, and a really energetic landscape program here at our MRIT. Thanks very much.