Continuing Education Blog

PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.

Sense-of-Place Mapping

Kimberlee Chambers will lead a workshop on sense-of-place mapping at PNCA, July 10-13, that explores Portland’s foodscapes. I have recently come across sense-of-place mapping in a surprising variety of context and consulted Kimberlee on the topic.

What is sense-of-place mapping and why has it received quite a bit of attention inside, but also outside, of research and educational organizations?
Sense of place maps are an opportunity to document a particular attribute of a defined landscape that is not regularly seen on a topographical or political map. Sense of place maps provide opportunities to record things that are of importance to individuals and communities that a researcher or map maker may not see or value in the same way. Because these maps move beyond the traditional structure of cartography they appeal to educational institutions and those outside of academia who want to understand what a place feels like, smells like, sounds like and why it may be important to a group or individual. The best part is that the representation of this ‘sense of place’ can be done creatively and collaboratively.

Mayne Island
Mayne Island. Map Coordinator: Tina Farmilo. Map Artists: Tania Godoroja with Sarah Sexsmith and Glenda Goodman. In: Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas. Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson (eds). TouchWood Editions, 2005.

What are “foodscapes” and why might Portland serve as an interesting focal point?
The term foodscapes is being used in a wide variety of fields from urban planning to the layout of your kitchen. Within the past ten years, the concept ‘foodscapes’ has become a pivotal point for research in food, food chains, food production, food ethics, food policy and other fields related to food studies. Although no single definition has yet to emerge, a foodscape is basically the multiplicity of sites where food is found and/or consumed. Food can provide a lense to explore everything from the meaning of the space, place, and attributes used for eating to the layers of global flows of people, technologies, ideas, money, and ethics shaping the future of food. Documenting and reflecting on foodscapes can help us to understand how the built environment shapes our behaviour and what may be unique or lacking in a particular place. Portland, with its fascination (obsession?) of all things food related provides a great place to use the foodscape as a focal point.

What will participants investigate and do in your July workshop?
Our objectives for this workshop are multifaceted. Both Rebecca and I find that our best teaching experiences are for classes that we do not have the answers to. With this in mind our goal is to share with the participants this valuable tool of sense of place mapping and then work collaboratively to understand and document the Portland foodscape. We look forward to working with diverse people to draw from their unique perspectives and experiences to build a broader understanding of what the Portland foodscape is and how sense of place maps may be used as a tool that results in an informational source and artform. Ultimately we hope that everyone learns more about this place and the unique foodscapes, explores their own ideas of place and how we interpret them, learns a new tool for their own explorations, and has fun while doing it.

Kimberlee Chambers is an interdisciplinary scholar and a sustainability advocate whose work focuses on food, agriculture, and systems of land and resource management. Her current research includes the ‘locavore’ movement in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Kimberlee received a Ph.D., from the University of California, Davis, in Agrobiodiversity Conservation and has published her research widely. She holds appointments as Assistant Professor of Collaborative Design at PNCA and as Research Affiliate and Adjunct Professor of Geography at Portland State University.

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