Therapeutic landscapes – is a health geography subdiscipline which has developed since the 1990’s. It seeks to explore the relationship between health and place and the relational well-being between self and landscape. To date, research has tended to focus on ‘green’, ‘blue’ and more recently ‘grey’ landscapes which has been described as the ‘pallettes of place’. However, this visual-centric and reductionist approach does not allow for the multifarious variations of colour and sensory experiences of liminal landscapes in the Anthropocene era. ‘Liminal’ landscapes in this project refer to landscapes on the margin, either where the land meets the sea, or the urban meets ‘nature’ all within post-industrial contexts. This project seeks to unveil the complexities of these landscapes, laden with aesthetic value, memory and identity to explore how these spaces could become therapeutic through creativity and affective attunement (or not). It unpacks our understandings of how and why landscapes are constructed as therapeutic.
My project draws upon research in health geography, the medical humanities and cultural geography debates on nature and the environment and landscape to address these three questions:
1. Can the post-industrial be therapeutic in the Anthropocene?
2. What is the role of creativity and art in these landscapes?
3. How are these landscapes experienced affectively at the scale of the body?
Informed by feminist and creative geographical methods that foreground embodied and socio-cultural difference, I will build an embodied ethnography of three different post-industrial therapeutic landscapes which have utilised creative ways of encouraging well-being. Studying these sites my project will i) build on therapeutic landscape literatures by exploring post-industrial sites and the potential for creativity and well-being and ii) use feminist geographies of the body to respond to medical humanities calls for embodied accounts of health that attend to cultural and bodily experience and difference.