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Fuller Initiative for Productive Landscapes: Overlook
Field School

Eugene, OR

The Fuller Initiative for Productive Landscapes (FIPL) is an internationally recognized center for research-based design and design as research, focused on the role of place in cultural sustainability, and grounded in the arts and humanities. Guided by a team of scholars, students use fieldwork and art methods to investigate the ongoing stewardship of landscapes and culture.

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RECOVERY Overlook Field School


Highlights of this five week project can be reviewed in this digital booklet.

featuring works by:

William Booner, Hanna Chapin, Celia Hensey, Abby Pierce, Kennedy Rauh, Audrey Rycewizc, Massayo Simon, Ian Vierck, Nancy Silver & David Buckly Borden

responding to Ground Truths

In the western United States, wildfires are becoming bigger, hotter, and more frequent due to the effects of climate change. During the summer of 2021, as smoke from western fires stretched across the country, the Oregon-based session of the Overlook Field School explored the theme of “Recovery” as it relates to wildfire burns. Analogous to resilience, restoration, and regeneration, recovery is a return to some previous state - perhaps a new normal - and ever more complicated when applied to a medium as dynamic as landscape in the time of rapid climate change. Over the course of five weeks, we visited post-fire sites in the Willamette National Forest, most of which occurred within the last 30 years. 


The projects shared in the Recovery booklet are the outcome of these forest explorations and creative interactions led by educator, Michael Geffel, and artist-in-residence, David Buckley Borden. We were also strongly influenced by concurrent environmental events: a record heat wave which coincided with the first day of the field school, and the explosion of wildfires as we entered our final design phase. Despite the prevailing narrative of catastrophe and destruction, the recovery we observed was incredibly inspirational.  The Field School culminated in a public exhibition of temporary landscape installations that centered the dynamism of post-fire landscapes and what they can teach us about resiliency, as we aspired to communicate the beneficial impacts of fire in the face of increasingly longer fire seasons.

more from FIPL's projects

Despite the prevailing narrative of catastrophe and destruction, the recovery observed by the group was inspiring. We aspired to communicate these experiences through landscape installations in order to express as well as document the beneficial impacts of fire, as we are experiencing increasingly longer fire seasons.

The work draws extensively from field visits to post-fire sites within the Willamette National Forest. We were also strongly influenced by concurrent environmental events: a record heat wave and the explosion of wildfires bookended the Field School.

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