Back to list

Gardens and Enclosures Conference Report

20th May 2016 | Categories: Conference, Research, Student Report

A grant from the Society enabled the Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society to host a conference on the theme of Gardens and Enclosures.

Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Garden

The Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project garden at Edinburgh College of Art

The Late Antique and Medieval Postgraduate Society (LAMPS) is a student-led organisation based at the University of Edinburgh, with the core aim of fostering interdisciplinarity and fellowship among students of the university. This year we have also aimed to extend our reach beyond the academic, in part through our involvement with the Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project (EMPP). Run in association with Edinburgh College of Art, this project involves the growth and harvesting of pigment-producing plants, with the eventual goal of community outreach.

To complement our ongoing involvement with this project and our engagement with interdisciplinary academic work on the Late Antique and Medieval period, we came up with the idea of hosting a conference around the theme of Gardens and Enclosures. After we received generous funding from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, this dream became a reality.

The Gardens and Enclosures conference

The Gardens and Enclosures conference, hosted at the University of Edinburgh

On Friday, May 6th, we came together with a wide variety of audience members to discuss and celebrate Gardens and Enclosures. We heard papers from postgraduate and early career speakers from Vienna, Antwerp, Cambridge, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, all of whom had some fantastic insights to share. The Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden, a group attempting to revitalise an enclosed garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh, spoke about their project as well. We were also lucky enough to hear from our keynote speaker, Dr Shannon Fraser, Archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland, who brought together the themes of the conference in her excellent talk.

The funding we received from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland allowed us to host this wonderful day, where researchers of all disciplines, as well as members of the public, were able to come together and consider many varied interpretations of the theme. We hope that the success of this day will encourage others to participate with LAMPS and EMPP in the future!

If you would like to get in touch with LAMPS, please email us ( Please also join our Facebook group (EdinburghLAMPS), follow us on Twitter (@LAMPS_Edinburgh) and Instagram (lampsedinburgh), and have a look at our blog ( For more information about EMPP, follow us on Twitter (@MedievalPigment)!

Three speakers at the conference

Christoph Otte, Andrew Smith, and Suzanne Coley, three speakers at the conference

Help us to do more

Help us: champion research; stimulate discussion; enhance public understanding; and share our extraordinary heritage. Donate directly to the Society now.