Stakeholder Release
6 September 2019

Full Speaker Program Announced: The Square and the Park

The final speakers and topics have been announced for the 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.

The two-day conference component of the Festival opens at Deakin Edge, Federation Square on 11 October and includes international and domestic keynotes covering the theme, The Square and the Park.

Speaking on behalf of the Creative Directors, Jillian Walliss highlights that ticket holders can expect a dynamic exploration of contemporary concerns of landscape architecture such as design, politics, ecology and management.

“Day one focuses on design and discourse, mixing European and Asian perspectives with critical reflections from Australian practice, and concluding with the announcement of The Future Park Design competition winners,” Jillian Walliss said.

“We will then shift into day two which looks to process and politics, exploring dynamic ways for curating cultural and living systems and delving into the increasingly complex challenge of designing public space.”

Tickets are selling faster than previous years and are expected to sell out before the event. One of the headline international keynotes is Gunther Vogt, the founding Director of Vogt Landscape, a practice renowned for their contemporary park design such as the Meles Zenawi Memorial Park in Ethiopia , Novartis Campus Park in Switzerland and the new park landscape around the Tate Modern Extension.

Image: Tate Modern Extension, London, Great Britain - Source:,

Other international keynote speakers include North American academic and critic, Julia Czerniak who will explore new parks in the US and South Korean academic and designer, Kyung-Jin Zoh, the chief advisor of Parks and Green Space in Seoul Metropolitan Government.Other topics

Materiality of the Square
Lab D+H Managing Director, Huicheng Zhong will form part of the Materiality of the Square session on day one which focuses on the urban detailing required of the Square. Discussion will cover the potentials of fabrication, the budgetary challenges of balancing ‘off the shelf’ with bespoke outcomes and the ephemeral materiality of digital media and lighting. Speakers for this session also includes Jane Irwin and Mark Jacques.

Image: Tetris Square – Lab D+H’s Managing Director Huicheng Zhong will be talking at the Festival - Source

State of the Nation
Delivered by leading designers from across the country, the State of the Nation session will feature a critical discussion on significant parks or squares constructed between 1990-1999 in the cities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart. Speakers include Catherine Evans, Julian Bolleter, Jo-Russell Clarke, Jerry de Gryse, Anna Chauvel, Claudia Justino Taborda and Rebecca Connelly. 

A Hypothetical Debate

The year-long debate over plans to insert an Apple global store into Melbourne’s Federation Square highlighted the challenges of distinguishing civic and cultural values from commercial intent, with the Apple corporation particularly apt at adopting the language of creative place-making to legitimise their claims on civic space. With Australian government increasingly drawn to public/private partnerships, questions arise over how civic space will be funded in the twenty-first century. A diverse range of speakers will contemplate and debate the future design and management of civic space in the context of limited government investment. Speakers include Tania Davidge, Kate Shaw and Jacky Bowring.

Detailing Debacles
In contrast to the AILA National Awards, which acknowledge the best of Australian landscape architecture, this session focuses on the moments where things don’t quite go as expected. Often this is a result of a contractor not following drawings. But sometimes it is because the designer’s intent has been interpreted in a different (and often humorous) way by the public. Presented by Shit Garden’s Bede Brennan and James Hull, this session will celebrate these moments. 

The Park as an ongoing process
The park is no longer conceived as a static ‘masterplan’ but instead understood as a dynamic and evolving system which requires ongoing care and maintenance. Reconciliation processes encourage designers to work with Traditional Owners in developing parks and squares as practices of co-management and co-creation. This session offers two fresh perspectives on these developments; Julian Raxworthy who will discuss ideas emerging from his recent publication Overgrown: Practices between landscape architecture and gardening and Richard Walley, respected Nyungar artist and Indigenous leader who played a major role in the co-creation of Perth’s Yagan Square.

Secure your seat before tickets sell out. Visit

Industry Tours
The Industry Tours on Thursday 10 October have also been finalised and are now available for Festival Ticket holders to register. Delegates have the opportunity to: Make the most of your Festival attendance and secure your seat on an industry tour. There's a whole array of experiences awaiting you at this year's Festival with four industry tours on offer - all Free for festival delegates thanks to our generous partners, WE-EF LIGHTING, Lark Industries, ACO and WoodSolutions.  

Travel to Mornington Peninsula with WE-EF, explore play spaces around Melbourne with Lark Industries, visit leading education spaces with ACO or head to a timber production yard with WoodSolutions All tours provide a great opportunity for networking with colleagues whilst earning more about recent project work in the area.

Find out more about project tours 

In addition to the two day conference and free industry tours, the Festival includes the National Landscape Architecture Awards on Thursday 10 October, the New Gen program for students and recent graduates on Friday 11 October and a series of other social and fringe events.

Thanks to our partners who are making this event possible.
Principal Corporate Partner: WE-EF Lighting
Supporting Corporate Partners: ACO, Street Furniture Australia, Brickworks, Lark Industries, the Build Environment Channel, Lawn Solutions, JLT
Festival Partners: Andreasens Green, WoodSolutions, Christie and the University of Melbourne