The Genius Loci is at the centre of landscape research, be it from the perspective of natural or social sciences, the humanities or design disciplines. Genius loci has been defined as the spirit of the place characterising a particular landscape (Pedroli, 2000, 15). Although modern society seems to have lost the ability to observe the landscape as a whole, and be aware of a sense of belonging and identity (Senge et al., 2004), in many places of Europe “people continued to worship the natural characteristics of the landscape as a source of truth, beauty and justice” (Pinto Correia et al., 2018, 6).

“Soulscapes: in search of genius loci” intends to provoke a scientific reflection on how landscape reveals the way people relate to their physical and spiritual environment (Bockemuehl, 1992, 13). Intrigued by the assumption that “every place should have a spirit” (Day, 1990, 107), we invite interested researchers and students to enter into dialogue about the homogenising of the landscape due to which gradually the genii loci are lost (Antrop, 2000, 32).

The landscape is tangible out there and simultaneously a mental reality (Antrop & Van Eetvelde, 2017, 392). Since the soul of a place might be characterised as “the intangible feeling – made up of so many things” (Day,1990), we welcome an exchange of thoughts about these ‘things’. This includes the sacrality of landscapes (Verschuuren & Furuta, 2016; Day, 2012, Julian Holloway, 2003), which are animated by a health-giving spirit, as discussed by Day (1990), but also the healing and therapeutic landscapes presented by Relf (2006) or Van Elsen et al. (2014).


The participants are also invited to bring new thoughts and approaches to issues related with cultural landscape services, a topic of relevant research currently in Landscape Ecology.
The conference is structured in four panels, aiming at contemplating the theme from four angles:
On the 18th June 2018, at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Av. de Berna, 26-C, 1069-061 Lisbon, Auditorium 2, Tower B, 3rd Floor:

1. Observing Landscape – towards a holistic Landscape Ecology Education
2. Healing and therapeutic landscapes – opportunities for new multifunctionality
3. Landscapes as places of harmony – how to safeguard landscape quality

On the 19th June 2018, a Field Atelier, following a Goethean approach, will take place at the Interpretation Centre for Landscape/Charneca Observatory, Casal do Gavião do Meio, Ribatejo:

4. Expressing the essence of landscape in Art (Atelier for painting, music, prose, poetry…)

This atelier will be guided by Leonor Malik , Ph. D. in Education Sciences by the Univ. of Grenoble, Art Therapeut, Painter and former Teacher with background on Waldorf Pedagogy. President of Harpa and responsible for the learning program along life focused on the self-development according to an Anthroposophic approach.

The participation in this atelier will be credited to the teachers by the Geography Teachers Association (APG).
Two key-note presentations can already be announced for the 18th of June:

In the Morning: Landscapes in transition – a search for meaning, by Bas Pedroli (Associate Professor, Wageningen University/Land Use Planning Group; Chair of UNISCAPE, Network of Universities for the Implementation of the European Landscape Convention; President of Petrarca, European Academy for the Culture of Landscape).

In the Afternoon: Landscape ecological perspectives on soulscapes by Veerle Van Eetvelde (Associate Professor in Landscape Science, Department of Geography, at Ghent University, Belgium; President of IALE-Europe; Vice President of UNISCAPE, Network of Universities for the Implementation of the European Landscape Convention).


Scientific Committee:

Ana Firmino

Bas Pedroli

Graça Saraiva

Veerle Van Eetvelde


Organizing Committee:

Ana Firmino

Francesca Poggi

Graça Saraiva

Leonor Malik

Luís Quinta-Nova

Nuno Guiomar

Fee: Conference on the 18th of June: 60 Euros (APEP associates and students, 50 Euros). It includes 2 coffee-breaks, lunch and Conference documents.

Atelier in Gavião, Ribatejo (19th June) 30 Euros (APEP associates and students, 25 Euros). It includes transportation to Casal do Gavião on the 19th and lunch box.

After the 31st May 2018, 25% will be surcharged on the above prices.


Payments should be made to the account: PT50001000002159869000140

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Selected papers will be published in an e-book with ISBN.
Send your abstracts in English (1 A4) until the 31st May 2018 to:
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Antrop, M. (2000) Where are the Genii Loci?, in Pedroli, B., Ed. (2000) Landscape – Our Home, Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart, p. 29 – 34;
Antrop, M. & V. van Eetvelde (2017) Landscape Perspectives. The Holistic Nature of Landscape. Springer;
Bockemuehl, J. (1992) Awakening to Landscape, Natural Science Section, Independent School of Spiritual Science, The Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland;
Day, C. (2012) Spirit and Place, Routledge, London;
Day, C. (1993) Places of the Soul, Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art. Aquarian/Thorsons, London;
Holloway, J. (2003) Spiritual Embodiment and Sacred Rural Landscapes, in Cloke, P., Ed., (2003) Country Visions, Pearson, Prentice Hall, London, p.156 – 177;
Pinto Correia, T., Primdahl, J., & Pedroli, B. (2018). European Landscapes in Transition. Implications for Policy and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;
Pedroli, B. (2000) Introduction, in Pedroli, B., Ed. (2000) Landscape – Our Home, Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart.
Senge, P., Scharmer, C. O., Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B. S. (2004). Presence: Human Purpose, and the Field of the Future. Cambridge, MA: Society for Organizational Learning.
van Elsen, T., Herz, G., Ehlers, H., Schäfer, W., & Merckens, K. (2014). INCLUFAR – Inclusive farming. A new educational approach in social farming. Building Organic Bridges, 2, 517-522.