Japanese Gardens - Islands of Peace

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The sixth talk in our series in partnership with the Japanese Garden Society on various dates @ 6.30pm from 23 Oct, £5 each or all 7 for £28

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This ticket is for this individual session and costs £5, and you may purchase tickets for other individual sessions via the links below, or you may purchase a ticket for the entire course of 7 sessions at a cost of £28 via the link here.

Attendees will be sent a Zoom link 2 days prior to the start of the talk, and again a few hours before the talk. A link to the recorded session (available for 1 week) will be sent shortly afterwards.

Talk 1. Sat 23 Oct. Japanese-style Gardens in the British Isles: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 2. Thu 28 Oct. Key elements of Japanese Gardens: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 3. Fri 5 Nov. Therapeutic Landscapes of Japanese Gardens: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 4. Thu 11 Nov. A Ripple Effect: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 5. Thu 25 Nov. Modern Japanese Gardens in Japan: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 6. Fri 3 Dec. Islands of Peace: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Talk 7. Thu 9 Dec. Tokachi Millennium Forest: Part of a series of 7 online lectures, £5 each or all 7 for £28.


We are presenting a series of talks on Japanese Gardens, past present and future, in association with the Japanese Garden Society in the UK.

Dr Jill Raggett, an Emeritus Reader in Gardens and Landscapes at Writtle University College and long-time student of the history of Japanese style gardens in Britain and Ireland will open the series by exploring the legacy of such gardens in the British Isles. Jill will discuss why were they built, how stereotypes emerged and what the future holds. The author and academic, Yoko Kawaguchi, will describe the Japanese garden aesthetic in terms of the various styles and forms of Japanese gardens and their key elements. Later in the lecture series Yoko will explore how the Japanese garden aesthetic has developed in the modern gardens in Japan.

Japanese gardens are undoubtedly beautiful spaces and foster general wellbeing, but they can be used to realize additional social and cultural benefits. Professor Seiko Goto of Nagasaki University will present her research on how Japanese gardens impact on the behaviour and psychological state of viewers particularly the elderly or those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Hoichi and Michiko Kurisu of Kurisu International Inc will discuss the design of their Japanese gardens in Oregon which were integral to the community regeneration in Lebanon and prisoner rehabilitation at the State Penitentiary in Salem. Graham Hardman of the Japanese Garden Society, Rebecca Bollands a primary school deputy headmistress with a special interest in cross cultural education, and Robert Ketchell the Japanese garden creator will describe how a karensansui garden was constructed in the War Memorial Park in Coventry in collaboration with local schoolchildren. The garden is part of a wider cultural programme reflecting Coventry’s role as an International City of Peace.

The lecture series concludes with the internationally respected and most thoughtful designer Dan Pearson speaking about the design and development of Tokachi Millennium Forest, a naturalistic ecological public park garden in northern Japan. Dan will describe the big thinking and detailed consideration required to realise this long-term project which combines the culture, aesthetics, and horticultural practices of East and West.


Talk 6. Fri 3 Dec @ 6.30: Islands of Peace - a karesansui garden and community cultural project in Coventry with Rebecca Bollands, Graham Hardman & Robert Ketchell

The subject of this illustrated lecture is the newly constructed ‘Islands of Peace’ Japanese garden in the War Memorial Park, Coventry. The realisation of the garden came about through a collaboration between five Primary Schools in Coventry, two contractors, the War Memorial Park management, and volunteers from the Japanese Garden Society.

Reflecting Coventry’s role as an International City of Peace, and its strong city to city link with Hiroshima, Rebecca Bollands will explain how these factors fed into a series of Japanese culture related projects for children at the schools. The culmination was learning about the dry stone, or karesansui, gardens of Japan, which ultimately led to the garden being constructed.

Designer Robert Ketchell will explain how he incorporated the children’s ideas in the final design for the garden. Project Manager for the construction, Graham Hardman, will then outline how the garden was constructed, involving the children where possible.


Rebecca Bollands has been involved in Japanese education for many years and recently organised a study tour to Japan for pupils from five Coventry primary schools. She has been working on a Japan Society initiative Cities of Peace project that has seen pupils from Coventry schools have poems exhibited in the Embassy of Japan and in Coventry Cathedral. As part of this project, pupils designed and built the Islands of Peace Japanese Peace Garden in Coventry’s War Memorial Park.


Graham Hardman has been a freelance Garden Designer for over 20 years, with a special interest in Japanese gardens. He has designed and managed construction of several Japanese gardens, including Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Norwich Cathedral and Walkden Gardens in Manchester. He has lead garden tours for members of the Japanese Garden Society and is a regular speaker on Japanese gardens. In 2015 the Japanese Government awarded Graham the ‘Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Rosette’ for services in furthering awareness of Japanese culture in the UK through Japanese gardens.


Robert Ketchell is a Japanese garden creator, author, and teacher. He was one of the founders of the Japanese Garden Society and has led guided tours of gardens in Japan. In 2017 he was awarded the ‘Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Rosette’ by the Japanese Government for services to promoting Japanese Culture through gardens.

Robert has designed and constructed over 200 gardens in the UK and has written Japanese Gardens in a Weekend; Shishu, a film produced by Espirita, as well as being a major contributor to the Japanese Garden Society booklet Visions of Paradise and to the Society’s journal Shakkei over the last 26 years.


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