The directors served a critical role in shaping and guiding dialogue between people across many different disciplines, creating a rich intellectual environment where people of diverse backgrounds and experiences were able to feel at home. It is to the director's credit that we were able to bond as such a strong and supportive group.
Richard Watts is a literary scholar who approaches the texts and contexts of the former French colonies through the lens of the environmental humanities. His current project, tentatively titled Water Narratives: Global Environmental Change in the Francophone World, focuses on water in urban postcolonial contexts (Fort-de-France, Port-au-Prince, Dakar, Algiers, Ho-Chi-Minh City) and considers how the pollution, privatization, and manufactured scarcity of water are rapidly altering its previously stable symbolic value in literature, cinema and other forms of cultural production. He is the editor of a forthcoming special issue of Ecozon@ on French and francophone ecofiction and is co-chair of the Environmental Humanities research cluster at the University of Washington.
Thaisa Way is an urban landscape historian teaching and researching history, theory, and design in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle. Dr Way’s scholarship has highlighted the role of designers, planners, and advocates in improving cities as places that foster human and environmental health. She is the author of Unbounded Practices: Women, Landscape Architecture, and Early Twentieth Century Design, and From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design: the Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag. Dr. Way was co-editor of a collection of essays Now Urbanism: The Future City is Here. Dr. Way is the Executive Director of Urban@UW, a collaborative hub to bring researchers and teachers together to address the most complex urban challenges. Dr. Way serves as Chair and Senior Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies and was the 2015-2016 Garden Club of America Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome.
Ken Yocom, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. With academic training and extensive professional experience in wildlife ecology, landscape architecture, and urban design Ken provides a diverse collection of experiences and expertise in understanding urban ecological principles and practices. He is the author and contributor of numerous peer-reviewed articles, the co-author of Ecological Design (Bloomsbury, 2012) and a co-editor for NOW Urbanism (Routledge, 2015), a collection of essays that embrace the rich complexities of contemporary global cities while seeking opportunities to unleash the potential for the cities of the future.