Meet our keynote speakers:

Alexandre Chemetoff: Architecture as an art of transformation

Alexandre Chemetoff (born 1950) is a French architect, urban planner and landscape artist. In 2000, he was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme. His approach to project development is to visit the site, walk it, and then connect it with other experiences. Building on decades of experience and learning from projects all over France, this first keynote of the ECLAS Conference 2024 will introduce architecture – in an inclusive and interdisciplinary sense – as an art of transformation.

Dr. Rachel Lilley: A dialogue on Systems Thinking

Dr Rachel Lilley is an academic practitioner, researcher, consultant and trainer in systems thinking and behavioural insights. She brings these two approaches together to create people-centred approaches to climate change, well-being, social change and leadership. Her world leading research brings together behavioural insights and the neuroscience of perception with systems approaches to support systems change, address bias and support effective policy and change making. Rachel has years of practical experience working on wicked and complex issues in communities, education, and the private sector as well as her own self inquiry. Rachel is Programme Director of the MSc in Systems Practice and Leadership at the Birmingham Leadership Institute, part of the University of Birmingham.  

She is very much looking forward to opening up and facilitating a dialogue on systems thinking and practice and how it can support landscape architecture and help meet the complex challenge of regeneration.

Nathan Barlow: Degrowth & Strategy

Nathan Barlow is a PhD candidate and researcher at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) in the Department of Socio-Economics, with the institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development. He has coordinated multiple degrowth projects with Degrowth Vienna and with the web collective. Most recently, he co-edited the collected volume Degrowth & Strategy: How to Bring About Social Ecological Transformation (Barlow et al., 2022). His research interests are in the area of strategies for social ecological transformation, with a particular focus on the potential role of Degrowth. 

With a background in degrowth and social ecological economics, I hope to bring to the conference a perspective that encourages two things: addressing root-causes of our current social-ecological crises and simultaneously pushing academics/thinkers to consider dimensions of politics, strategy, and organizing. These twin concerns are based on the conviction that the world increasingly understands the nature of the current crises, and have begun to imagine a post-growth post-capitalist future, but struggle immensely with how to get from here to there. I look forward to bridging this impetus with the knowledge and expertise of landscape architects, learning from you all through dialogue and exchange.

Dr. Sandra Groll: Designing for Ecologies 

Sandra Groll is a systems theorist and design scientist. She studied product design, philosophy and aesthetics as a minor at the University of Design in Karlsruhe and received her doctorate at the University of Design in Offenbach. In addition to questions of design history and design theory, she researches the relationship between design and society, focusing on systems theory. Since 2024, she is an associate professor at Zhejiang Wanli University in Ningbo. From 2016 to 2018, she represented the ‘Theory and Practice of Design’ professorship at the Kassel University of Art. Since 2017, Sandra Groll has been a member of the editorial board of Birkhäuser Verlag’s Board of International Research in Design.

In her contribution “Designing for Ecologies” she will present system theoretical models for a regenerative mind shift in all fields of design. Drawing on George-Spencer Brown’s form calculus, she follows the argument that design can reach its full potential by developing multi-relational forms for a multiverse of ecologies.

Gilles Doignon: Towards a nature-positive society

Gilles Doignon is a marine zoologist from Belgium. After his research career on symbioses, he worked on fisheries, aquaculture and freshwater issues at the Walloon Region and Oceana, then became the first global seafood leader for WWF. He joined the European Commission in 2008. He spent 10 years at DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and was the communication coordinator for the 4th Our Ocean conference hosted by the EU. He joined DG Environment in 2018 and was the coordinator of the Global Coalition “United for Biodiversity” ahead of COP15. In April 2022, he was appointed Team Leader biodiversity and nature-based solutions at DG Research and Innovation. He is also EU negotiator at the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity”.

Biodiversity is collapsing, because of us. We need a transformative change towards a nature positive society. If we bring back nature, nature will keep helping us, for water, for food, for climate. Any action counts but we need to restore nature, we need to act now. Landscape architects can – and should – be allies for nature and all of us.