Prof Catharine Ward Thompson
Catharine is the founding Director of OPENspace. She is also Professor of Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh.
Prof Simon Bell
Prof Simon Bell is a forester-turned-landscape architect. He is part-time Co-director of OPENspace and Chair professor in Landscape and Wellbeing at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). He is also Chair professor of landscape architecture at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, in Tartu, Estonia. He is interested in aspects of the wider landscape, such as forests, rural and wild landscapes as well as the peri-urban zone. This includes planning and design aspects, forest landscape aesthetics, urban forestry, outdoor recreation and the health benefits of exposure to green and blue environments. Simon was educated at The University of Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University), the University of Edinburgh and took his doctorate at the Estonian University of Life Sciences. Before academia Simon worked for 20 years for the Forestry Commission, ending his time there as Chief Landscape Architect. In his earlier career he carried out consultancy work, mainly designing forests and providing training courses for private and NGO clients in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and elsewhere. Simon’s research interests have focused on issues arising in the changing landscapes of post-Communist Eastern Europe, especially the Baltic States. Recent projects include a Cost Action on Urban Allotment Gardening, a project examining the modernist reinvention of the rural landscape (Modscapes) and work on the relationship of water environments (blue spaces) on health and wellbeing (BlueHealth). Between 2012 and 2018 Simon served as President of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS). This body represents the interest of landscape architecture educators and researchers, holds a prestigious annual conference, presents awards for teaching and research and owns the Journal of Landscape Architecture.