With combined backgrounds in academia, landscape architecture and urban design practice, the Perth based team of Maria Ignatieva (UWA), Christina Nicholson (UWA), Damien Pericles (REALMstudios), Hans Oerlemans (wOnder city+landscape) and Kat Stewart (Student Representative) bring together their intellectual, creative and organisational skills to deliver the 2021 AILA Festival of Landscape Architecture.

(L-R) Damien Pericles, Kat Stewart, Hans Oerlemans, Christina Nicholson and Dr Maria Ignatieva.


Dr. Maria Ignatieva is a Professor of Landscape Architecture and the Head of the Department of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at the School of Design, University of Western Australia. She was working in five countries (Russia, USA, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia), teaching as a full-time tenured academic in landscape architecture programs, conducting research in urban ecology, history of landscape architecture and garden restoration, and implementing research results in practical landscape architecture projects. She is a member of the AILA and IFLA (the recipient of Certificate of Appreciation in Recognition and Thanks for Services to IFLA in 2009), and the President of URBIO (Urban Biodiversity and Design International Network).


Damien Pericles is a landscape architect and founding director with REALMstudios.  He is a public realm design specialist and award-winning designer, client manager and project leader with over 20 years professional experience. He sits on three local Design Review Panels as well as a member of the inaugural WA State Design Review Panel. As evidence of his leadership, Damien provided critical landscape related inputs into the Western Australian Department of Planning release of DesignWA and the Apartment Design Guide. 

He has delivered a full spectrum of project types, sizes and phases and has led design and delivery of high profile and bespoke projects across Australia and internationally. Damien is passionate and active in the negotiation of creative public realms that bring ecology to community, community to poetics, and poetics to ecology.


Kat Stewart is a PhD student at the School of Design, UWA and a graduate landscape architect at Four Landscape Studio. She completed her Master of Landscape Architecture at UWA in 2020. Kat also has a bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology and her ongoing interest is in people’s engagement with landscape. Her current research focus explores cultural and ecological aspects of urban vegetation and ecological design in the Southwest Australian Ecoregion. Kat has been involved with the wAILA Fresh Committee since 2015. She was awarded the AILA WA Emerging Achiever Award in 2019 for a high commitment to her study and the profession of Landscape Architecture. 


Christina Nicholson is a Major and Unit Coordinator and Lecturer at The School of Design, UWA. Her curiosity for people and places and a pursuit for sustainable design excellence has led to a lifetime of living, working and travelling in and through diverse communities, climates and landscapes across Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa. Her travel and careers in childcare and landscape architecture have developed her skills as a researcher, observer, listener, communicator, designer and educator. She has a familiarity and aptitude in an ever-changing globalised world that informs her teaching and design practice. She runs an award-winning practice, banksia & lime, designing with both local and productive plants as ever-changing textures and colours to create unique places for the people who use them. Christina is also in her second term of the Executive Committee of the AILA WA Chapter.


Hans Oerlemans is a landscape architect, urban designer and urban & regional planner with over 30 years of experience. Hans designs with a mindset that great plans need a focus on the big picture and an eye for detail, combining visionary concepts with practical feasibility. He has designed over 300 masterplans, strategies and public realm designs across Europe, Australia, USA and Asia. Many of these have been published in books and magazines. Before emigrating to Australia in 2011, he was a founding partner of OKRA landscape architects (NL) and led the office for 17 years. He also worked for Peter Walker Partners (USA), Place Laboratory (AU) and RPS (AU). Currently he is the director of wOnder city+landscape, focusing on place making, community engagement and industry innovation. 

The 2020 Festival of Landscape Architecture is taking place on Whadjuk Noongar Country. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Whadjuk Noongar Country and Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.