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Marianna Davison

“Places for People: Aesthetics and Ethics of Landscape Reclamation in the Pacific Northwest”

Marianna Davison

University of California, Irvine, Garden and Landscape Studies Junior Fellow

Davison’s research examines how the shaping of the built environment and visual representations of the urban landscape work in tandem both to encourage and to foreclose community formations. Her dissertation focuses on contested public spaces in the Seattle region of the Pacific Northwest and the actualization of artistic, environmental, and cultural reclamation projects. Each case—a world’s fair marking the city as an urban trading hub (1909), two sites rehabilitating industrially degraded lands (1979 and 2007), and two reclamation projects asserting the presence and cultural power of the region’s Indigenous populations (1979 and 2015)—grants insight into artistic practices as both governmental and important for forging communities in resistance.

Marianna Davison is a PhD candidate in visual studies at the University of California, Irvine. She specializes in modern and contemporary art, theory, and criticism, focusing on the history of photography and political ecology. Bringing critical race theory, eco-theory, and Indigenous studies to her analyses of visual culture, Davison’s research has addressed community-engaged art activism within climate justice movements, environmental documentaries, and socially engaged artist collectives. She is a cofounder of the Climate Futures Collective (CFC) study group at the University of California, Irvine, which critically engages with topics including decolonization and Indigenous sovereignties, racial capitalism, border policies, and grassroots movements, and their intersections with global climate change. She earned a BA in art history from University of Texas at Austin and an MA in visual culture from Illinois State University.