Land-based learning at Place-Based Field School


From January – April 2022, Place-Based Field School contributors explored responsibility, reciprocity and commitments to land and non-human life with neighbours and organizations from Emily Carr’s community.

Collaborators included Indigenous artists and ethno-botanists; community organizers, activists and social workers; gardeners and waste remediators; advocates for cultural labour; and artists engaged with land and material.

The Field School activities drew upon students’ research and relationships with place, including land-based learning activities at Pacific Spirit Park, Capilano Dam, and Maplewood Flats with T’sou-ke Cultural Guide

kQwa’st’not~Charlene George and Flossie Baker, Lead Organizer, Sierra Club BC in February 2022.


Image (top): kQwa’st’not~Charlene George (right) at Pacific Spirit Park
Image (bottom): kQwa’st’not~Charlene George with participants at Pacific Spirit Park
All images courtesy Alison Boulier

In March, two students involved in Place-Based Field School, Christa Clay (MDes 2022) and Chiara Schmitt (MDes 2022),  collaborated with Metro Vancouver’s Natural Resource Management and organized Scotch Broom Pull activity to learn how to manage and cull scotch broom, an invasive species, and to work with the harvested Scotch broom as a resource for Industrial Design through Place-Based Material Lab (pl.lab). The results of Christa and Chiara’s design research, Ecological Restoration Through Material Practice,  was published by Occasional Papers in 2022.



Image (top): Sam Cousins of Metro Vancouver giving a tour of Iona Park
Image (middle): Place-Based Field School participants pulling scotch broom 
Image (bottom): Sam Cousins working with scotch broom

All images courtesy Alison Boulier

Other activities of the Field School included attendance at events such as Working in Connection with Land (Groundwell School), Tree Talk (Strathcona Talks with Community Ecologist David Tracey), a sharing circle on Water at the Aboriginal Gathering Place with Skwxwú7mesh artists Aaron Nelson-Moody and Meagan Innes; and site visits with green social innovator Louise Schwarz (Co-Founder of Recycling Alternative), visiting artist Lou Sheppard, Imu Chan and the Province of BC’s Broadway Subway Project, Carla Frenkel (President, Strathcona Community Gardens).  A publication of work generated within Place-Based Field School is forthcoming in 2022 via Occasional Press.