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Rosetta S. Elkin

Associate Professor of Landscape, McGill University

Rosetta S. Elkin (Canadian, American) is Principal of rse landscape, Associate Professor of Landscape at McGill University, in the Department of Architecture. Elkin’s work examines plant life at the intersection of art, design and ecology. In particular, research attends to biological complexity as a neglected aspect of ecosystem integrity and recovery by exploring concealed the characteristics of non-human behavior. Her practice prioritizes public exhibitions, open access publishing, and collaborative research to promote a more thoughtful and accountable design agenda. As a designer and a scholar, her work experiments with the ways in which we compose our worlds, blurring the traditional boundaries between research and practice.

Elkin is the author of Tiny Taxonomy (Actar 2017), a publication which reflects on the scale of individual plants in practice through a reading of three design installations. With support from the Graham Foundation, Dutch Fonds BKVB, and Canada Council for the Arts, she is currently working on a monograph publication The Politics of Plant Life which describes the geo-political ambitions of tree planting programs. Elkin’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Les Jardins de Metis, Chelsea Festival, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and featured in publications including Journal of Landscape ArchitectureNew GeographiesHarvard Design Magazine and Lotus International. Current projects include the study of root systems in coastal defense strategies, an investigation of state-scale ecological transformation in Rhode Island, and design research for sea-level adaptation on barrier islands in Florida. RSE Landscape is also currently working on a commission from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation concerning landscape adaptation on Captiva Island, Florida, she was recently the recipient of the 2018 Garden Club of America Rome Prize in landscape architecture and is currently developing a Harvard Climate Change Fund-supported project entitled The Landscape of Retreat that documents climate-induced withdrawal from vulnerable land.