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Longwood Graduate Symposium

The Longwood Graduate Program Symposium

Dates & Price

Friday, March 4, 2016, 8:00 am–4:00 pm

Regular registration: $99

Full-time student rate (with valid ID): $59

Attend online with live-streaming webinar: $35

Join us for our 2016 symposium, Daring Dialogue: Public Gardens Engaging in Today’s Tough Topics

Public gardens and cultural institutions are centers of community, science, and art. Today’s society is often overwhelmed with debates in all of these areas. In a world where misspoken words amplify in a matter of minutes, how can institutions tactfully open discussion on today’s difficult topics? When and where do they provide research, resources, and opportunities to interact with new or contested ideas?

The 2016 Longwood Graduate Program Symposium, Daring Dialogue, will navigate the questions and higher callings of cultural institutions. Discover how we are prepared to address challenging issues such as environmental action, civic responsibility, and the evolution of public gardens as community assets.

Use #LGPSymp2016 and #DaringDialogue on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to contribute to and follow the dialogue!

Symposium Schedule

About Our Speakers

Symposium Sponsors

Travel Award

Symposium Schedule

8:00 am   Registration and Breakfast in The Ballroom

9:00 am   Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:10 am   Social Relevance Or Social Suicide? Should Public Gardens Engage In Today’s Tough Topics?
Dr. Paul Smith, Secretary General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International

Public gardens, worldwide, attract an estimated 500 million visitors each year, and most gardens see public education as one of their primary roles. However, despite the fact that gardens are trusted by their visitors and may even be regarded as scientifically authoritative, they rarely play a central role in debates on subjects such as climate change, genetically modified organisms, pesticide use, biofuels or other controversial environmental topics. Similarly, gardens are often reluctant to address social issues of cultural diversity and broader public engagement, preferring to cater to traditional audiences. Dr. Paul Smith, Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International—a consortium of more than 500 botanic gardens in 100 countries—will examine the reasons for this reticence, and will argue that it is in gardens’ best interests to engage a broader range of visitors in important environmental and social issues.

9:55 am   Morning Break

10:15 am   Straight Talk: Case Studies in Civic Responsibility

The Operative Word is Plantation
Mr. Joseph McGill, Jr., History Consultant, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens; Founder, The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc.

Since 1870, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has been appealing to tourists. Up until 2007, visitors could tour the mansion and gardens and go on nature tours around the perimeter of the plantation. These tours included very little, if any, African-American history, which was so vital to the existence of the plantation. Since 2007, Magnolia Plantation has been offering the “From Slavery to Freedom Tour.” Anchored by four newly restored slave cabins, the tour interprets the slavery that existed on the plantation. This presentation will chronicle the steps taken to offer this tour to the visiting public.

Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About
Ms. Sarah Pharaon, Senior Director of Methodology and Practice, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

Dialogue as an interpretive approach builds on the fact that, as trusted contemplative and community spaces, gardens are ideal venues for fostering dialogue and civic engagement. Through programs at sites around the world, members of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience use dialogue to move visitors beyond passive learning, engaging them on issues of shared concern such as immigration, climate change, racial bias, education equity, and environmental stewardship. This session will share the Coalition’s methodological approach to dialogue through examples drawn from gardens and natural resource spaces across the globe.

Community Gardens As Agents For Change and Civic Engagement
Ms. Guina Hammond, Program Manager, Sustainable Communities Department, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The Mantua community, located in West Philadelphia, has suffered from disinvestment for over fifty years, affecting health, education options and access to resources. Opportunities to purchase fresh food, such as a local supermarket, do not exist. Residents must either leave their community in search of nutritious food or buy processed food from the corner store. Poor health and the lack of access to resources has been the catalyst for the community to demand change. Fortunately, Mantua Urban Peace Garden shows the positive impact a community garden can have and how health and economic disparities are being addressed through civic engagement.

11:15 am   Building Community Through Our Gardens: Youth & Community Engagement, Organizing, and Empowerment In Our Public Institutions
Ms. Nayra Pacheco, Youth Programs Manager, Just Communities / Comunidades Justas

In face of the many challenges that marginalized communities and young people face in today’s society, the ability to have access to space and gather is critical to having their voices heard. Nayra will share models and strategies that public gardens of today can use to support community building and engagement for and by the community itself. Garden leaders will have the opportunity to explore how diverse spaces can be cultivated in various facets of their organization to become a safe and engaging space for all people.

11:50 am   Lunch served on the Patio of Oranges

12:45 pm   Would You Like Pesticides With That? Communicating The Tough Topics To A Loyal Public
Mr. Jeff Jubelirer, Vice President, Bellevue Communications Group

How can a garden seem believable and sincere, yet deliver a message that may not be universally embraced? Join Jeff as he demonstrates how to pitch a potentially controversial message, in this case, pesticide usage in public gardens. Gain insight into what makes a message believable and palatable. See how the message can inform the audience and lead to acceptance. During this discussion, Jeff will also present a challenging scenario to guide how and when to respond proactively to a real-life emerging crisis situation at a public garden.

1:20 pm   Creative Public Engagement As Conversation
Ms. Linda Norris, Idea Generator, The Uncatalogued Museum
Ms. Rainey Tisdale, Independent Curator

In this conversation, Rainey Tisdale and Linda Norris, co-authors of Creativity in Museum Practice, will pose provocative questions for each other, setting a framework for the ways in which public gardens and other cultural spaces might creatively engage more deeply with diverse communities. These questions might include: What scares us about working more deeply with public audiences? What excites us? How might you start conversations with your public audiences about things that really matter to them? How can we create organizational buy-in? What three things could each participant do now to create change?

1:50 pm   Dessert and Dialogue
Pull up a chair and enjoy dessert at your table as we discuss some of our own tough topics. A garden from the Philadelphia area will host each table and bring their own topic for us to engage with alongside two topics common in the public garden world. Take this opportunity with peers from another institution to engage in meaningful discussion and brainstorm solutions about some of our common challenges.

2:35 pm   Stretch Break

2:45 pm   YoungHort: Inspiring The Next Generation
Mr. Jack Shilley, Founder and Director, YoungHort

Emerging horticulturist, Jack Shilley, will share his passionate horticultural journey, and the successes and challenges he has experienced promoting horticulture to young people as a career option. This discussion will specifically highlight YoungHort, an initiative established by Jack in the UK in 2013 and in Australia in 2014. Of importance, he will relay insight into the organization’s activities, from managing events to forging partnerships, including plans to collaborate with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). From the onset, RHS has supported YoungHort and its ambitions to help promote horticulture and combat the chronic skills shortage.

3:20 pm   Public Gardens Must Do More
Mr. Paul B. Redman, Executive Director, Longwood Gardens

Public gardens are becoming the town square of the 21st century. Attendance, awareness and popularity in our offerings have never been greater and yet we share similar struggles like any modern-day business – grooming future leaders, educating our constituents, diversifying the composition of our staff, Boards, and guests, or promoting careers in our own profession. The core that unites public gardens is a shared passion for plants. Where the irony lies is in the fact that we are doing little to actively promote horticultural careers. With dwindling academic opportunities, training programs lacking rigor and preparedness for leadership, and a general misperception of what horticulture is, public gardens need to be on the forefront of inspiring the next generation of talent to strengthen and prevent the further erosion of our industry. Public gardens must do more.

3:55 pm   Closing Remarks

4:00 pm   End of Symposium
Guests are welcome to explore Longwood Gardens.

6:00 pm   Longwood Gardens Closes

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About Our Speakers

Dr. Paul Smith

Dr. Paul Smith is the Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). BGCI is the largest plant conservation network in the world, comprising 500 member botanic gardens in 100 countries. Prior to his appointment as Secretary General of BGCI, Paul was Head of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB). During his nine years at the helm, seeds from 25,000 plant species were conserved in the MSB and in 2009, the MSB achieved its first significant milestone, securing seed from 10% of the world’s plant species. Paul trained as a plant ecologist, and is a specialist in the plants and vegetation of southern Africa.

Mr. Joseph McGill, Jr.

Mr. Joseph McGill, Jr. is a history consultant for Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina and the founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc. Sleeping in extant slave dwellings, this project has brought much needed attention to these often-neglected structures that are vitally important to the American built environment. Prior to his current position, Joseph was a field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation working to revitalize the Sweet Auburn commercial district in Atlanta, GA and to develop a management plan for Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Joseph is a native of Kingstree, South Carolina.

Ms. Sarah Pharaon

Sarah Pharaon is Senior Director, Methodology and Practice with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. From 2010–2014, Sarah led twenty-five museums in the launch of the National Dialogues on Immigration Project. Previously, she was Director of Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Sarah was the founding curator of the Arab American National Museum. She is a consulting trainer on dialogue for the National Park Service, an instructor at the Seminar for Historic Administration and is the curriculum designer for the AASLH training program, Can You Hear Me Now: Connecting to Visitors Through Real Stories of Artifacts and Place.

Ms. Guina Hammond

Ms. Guina Hammond, a West Philadelphia native, is a holistic health educator, storyteller, avid photographer, and organic gardener. She has been gardening in her community for 28 years and is a founding member of a community garden. As Program Manager of Education and Civic Engagement for the Sustainable Communities Department at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), she educates constituents about green roofs, trees, gardens, vacant land care, land trust for community gardens storm water management and civic engagement. Guina is a certified PHS Tree Tender, PHS Garden Tender, Penn State Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and accredited NOFA Organic Land Care Professional.

Ms. Nayra Pacheco

Ms. Nayra Pacheco was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico until the age of 6 when she moved to Santa Barbara, California to live with her father. Nayra recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Degree in History of Public Policy with an emphasis in Environmental Studies. As an undocumented youth in high school and college, she experienced many hardships, prompting her towards community organizing to address the intersectional issues that working class and communities of color endure. Her work as Youth Programs Manager at Just Communities Central Coast focuses on creating spaces for youth to develop and share knowledge to take transformative action towards social change in their own communities.

Mr. Jeff Jubelirer

Mr. Jeff Jubelirer is widely recognized as a top communications strategist in Pennsylvania. Best known for his expertise in issue & crisis management, Jeff is a “go to” analyst for local media outlets and serves as a regular commentator on 6abc's weekly public affairs show, "Inside Story.” Jeff is the chief architect behind the development and execution of strategic communications for his clients, who constitute many of the state’s most well-known businesses, institutions and non-profit organizations. In addition, Jeff teaches issue & crisis management at Temple University and writes a quarterly column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly on emerging issues in public relations.

Ms. Linda Norris

Ms. Linda Norris is an independent professional focusing on ways in which creativity can transform museums, by shaping more compelling narratives and deepening community connections. She is the co-author with Ms. Rainey Tisdale, of Creativity in Museum Practice and blogs at The Uncataloged Museum. Linda was a Fulbright Scholar to Ukraine in 2009 and continues to work with Ukrainian museums. Her clients also include a wide variety of history museums, historic sites, and other cultural agencies. She teaches community engagement online for the Johns Hopkins Museum Studies Program.

Ms. Rainey Tisdale

Rainey Tisdale is an independent museum professional who leads for change on a number of field-wide issues, including place-based interpretation, creative practice, collections stewardship, and empathetic museums. She is an international expert on city museums and blogs at CityStories. With Linda Norris, she is the co-author of Creativity in Museum Practice.

Mr. Jack Shilley

Mr. Jack Shilley is the founder of YoungHort, an initiative dedicated to promoting, inspiring, and changing the perception of horticulture among young people. In 2009, after cultivating a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with his school, Jack set his sights on a full-time career in horticulture. Since then, he has graduated from college with a Level 3 Extended Diploma, won an RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal in 2014 with a Best in Category award, and has studied tropical plants in Hawaii. Jack has fulfilled his career ambitions by securing a supervisory position at Longacres Garden Centre, the UK’s most profitable nursery.

Mr. Paul B. Redman

As Executive Director of Longwood Gardens since 2006, Mr. Paul B. Redman oversees all aspects of the 1,077-acre display garden, including its 400 full- and part-time employees, more than 800 volunteers, and $50 million annual budget. Considered one of the world’s great gardens, Longwood now welcomes more than 1.2 million guests each year. Under Paul’s leadership, Longwood has adopted a culture of planning to maintain responsible growth along with a visionary site master plan to guide Longwood’s development for the next 40 years. Prior to Longwood Gardens, Paul served for nine years as Executive Director of Franklin Park Conservatory.

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Symposium Sponsors

Travel Award Sponsors

Our Travel Award is made possible through support from our three generous sponsors:

Other contributions to the Travel Award:

Dessert and Dialogue Sponsors

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Emerging Professionals Travel Award

The Longwood Graduate Program is excited to announce our second annual Emerging Professionals Travel Award to attend our 2016 Symposium. The Travel Award will be given to eligible emerging professionals, including students, to engage a new generation in this important dialogue.

Please note: applications have now closed for the 2016 Emerging Professionals Travel Award.

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