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2020 Garden and Landscape Studies Graduate Workshop

May 17–June 6, 2020 | Intensive three-week workshop, focusing on the public realm and the design and construction of public landscapes, for PhD and MLA candidates. Apply by March 15.

To develop the field of garden and landscape studies and to promote the depth and breadth of future landscape scholarship, Dumbarton Oaks, with the support of the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies and in collaboration with the Arnold Arboretum, will offer an intensive three-week Garden and Landscape Studies Graduate Workshop from May 17 to June 6, 2020. This year the focus will be on the public realm and the design and construction of public landscapes. Dumbarton Oaks is seeking graduate students engaged in projects that address a wide spectrum of landscape and garden histories including but not limited to urban, suburban, and rural landscapes, designed, cultural, and vernacular sites, as well as those projects using landscapes or gardens to address questions of climate change, politics and policy making, and the social/ cultural entanglements of race, gender, and labor. 


Workshop Offerings

Eligible participants include doctoral candidates in early or advanced stages of writing dissertations and current MLA candidates. Participants will be asked to share their own scholarship as well as fully engage in all of the planned activities including but not limited to field trips, seminars, and lectures.

Bringing together early-career scholars and practitioners who are pursuing cross-disciplinary research on landscape-related topics, the workshop will focus on key issues and texts in landscape history and theory, situating garden and landscape design in the context of humanities scholarship: from the idea of the Three Natures and the ecological challenges of the Anthropocene to the role of public space in a more equitable urban landscape.

Seminars led by Dumbarton Oaks staff and invited scholars will form a core focus of the workshops with participants invited to share among themselves selected aspects of their work in a variety of formats while The program will also include two study sessions in the Rare Books Library at Dumbarton Oaks, site visits in the Washington metropolitan area (including the National Mall, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, and Meridian Hill Park), and a four-day stay at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston to include field trips to public landscapes in Boston. During their residency at Dumbarton Oaks, workshop’s participants will have access to the institute’s library resources and its celebrated garden and landscape designed by Beatrix Farrand.


Accommodation and Expenses

Dumbarton Oaks will provide accommodation in Washington, DC, reimbursement of round-trip economy-class travel expenses to Washington, DC (up to $1,600 for international travel, $1,000 for domestic travel), lunches on weekdays, and round-trip transportation to and lodging in Boston.



Prospective candidates are required to submit a letter of interest, a five-hundred-word abstract of the dissertation (in the case of MLA students, a statement of research interests that would demonstrate a developed research agenda), and a current CV. All materials should be emailed in a single PDF file to and received by March 15, 2020; please write “2020 Graduate Workshop” in the subject line. Two letters of recommendation should be emailed directly by referees to

International candidates are eligible to apply; however, Dumbarton Oaks does not sponsor J visas for this program. Any geographical or chronological focus is welcome, including projects dealing specifically with urban subjects. For further information, please contact