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CUT-FILL 2021: Are We Building a Bridge to the Future?

Cut Fill Unconference 2021

We were all in 2020, together. COVID knocked our society onto its heels; it made us pause. The attention towards racial injustice only amplified the need for landscape architects to take an active role in the healing of our society.  Could we afford to be stagnant while the world was changing? The answer, we clearly know, is absolutely not.  

During the global pandemic and amidst social upheaval, Sandra Nam Cioffi, ASLA, of Ink Landscape Architects created and launched the CUT|FILL unconference series to make space for critical and participatory discourse in landscape architecture. CUT|FILL 2020, co-convened by The Urban Studio, was a paramedic response, a call for connection, and a plan to convene a field that quietly yearned for deeper conversations about the  problems in our civic spaces and communities.

CUT|FILL is designed to create space for landscape architects to meet and discuss the issues of our time. At its core is a non-hierarchical method for convening people around difficult conversations and topics.

CUT|FILL 2021, hosted by INK and The Urban Studio, is taking place this week from July 29-30, 2021 and the central question is, “Are we building a bridge to the future?”

The goal of getting as many voices in the room and letting them be heard sets this event apart. CUT|FILL brings together students, emerging and mid-level professionals, and principals of firms.  

Each day begins at 11:00am Eastern with a panel discussion from leading voices. The purpose of the panel is to inspire and seed the conversations that participants will host over the course of two days.

Day 1

  • Jennifer Reut, Acting Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine
  • Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, CEO of Landscape Architecture Foundation
  • Mae Lin Plummer, Co-chair of the American Public Garden Association’s Inclusion Diversity Equity Accessibility (IDEA) Committee
  • Marc Miller, ASLA, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Recruitment (2021-2023) at CELA
  • Matthew Williams, ASLA, Landscape Designer and Planner with the City of Detroit

Day 2

  • Steven Chavez, Founder & President of NAMLA
  • Cinda Gilliland, ASLA, Co-Founder of WxLA
  • Maisie Hughes, Co-Founder & Treasurer of The Urban Studio

The unique format of the conference gives it a particularly bottom-up and emergent feel. It is an “open space unconference” where participants have the opportunity to propose all the topics that will be discussed and to set the agenda for their time together. Here is the growing list of potential topics shared by those who have already registered.

We would like to give special thanks to Reed Hilderbrand, Groundsmith Collective, and Confluence for sponsoring this event and supporting and encouraging their staff to attend; every voice matters.

It’s clear that there is no going back to how things were. What can we as a profession do with this moment?  There is momentum, and now we can convert conversation into actionable change.

We hope to see you at CUT|FILL 2021 to exchange ideas and make new professional connections.

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