Writtle University College (WUC) welcomed internationally respected landscape artist, Jim Buchanan, back to campus in January 2020. Jim is known for his exciting and ambitious installations. He specialises in creating labyrinths from a range of materials and has worked around the world, including projects for the Springdance Festival, Utrecht and lberta Health Services.
Jim has ongoing links with Writtle, having created the estate's popular turf labyrinth during his time as artist in residence. His work was part of a wider symposium sculpting project and highlighted the value of topsoil and subsoil as an artistic medium.
Jim said: "I first visited Writtle in the late 1980s, with a family friend inviting me down for the then-legendary Spring Ball. I had chosen landscape architecture, my friend was on the horticulture course. I seem to remember staying longer and ending up on an inter College sports competition...but that's another story.
"Trip forward twenty years, and I returned as 'artist-in-residence', exploring collaborative working processes and earthy materials. I think I may have made up the numbers on the hockey team then... Yet more time travel brings us forward another twenty years, and I am excited to take the opportunity to share my creative pathway from design student, to multi-faceted practitioner with several creative regenerations at Writtle".
Jim returned to Writtle in 2020 to carry out a range of multidisciplinary workshops. Students took part in a labyrinth drawing workshop, exploring cycles and rhythm. This was followed by an interactive session on creative playspace design, through the medium of model making. Jim also joined the prestigious 'Landscape Talk' lecture series, which allows industry-leading speakers to share their practices with students.
WUC lecturer Steve Terry said: "We were delighted to invite Jim back to Writtle. His interdisciplinary approach encourages creative and mathematical thinking. Our courses introduce students to a variety of industry experts, allowing them exposure to different working methods and the opportunity to create their own professional networks."