Ideas Event – Panel Biographies

There are a fascinating range of speakers on our panel discussions at the Ideas event on 23rd March. Here are biographies of a selection.

Nature and Green Space

Leonie Alexander is currently working at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Urban Biodiversity. Her work contributes to Edinburgh Living Landscape – an ambitious greening strategy for the city. At the moment most of her work is focused on habitat creation and enhancement as part of the Edinburgh Shoreline project. Before joining the Botanics she worked for over 20 years as an ecological consultant.

Bringing People Together – 1130-1215

Lucy Holroyd – Cyrenians Community Gardens Manager. With over 15 years third sector experience Lucy Holroyd has helped raise the profile of therapeutic greenspaces across the Lothians. Managing two community hospital gardens, patient programmes, and events within green spaces throughout the Cyrenians network she is passionate about promoting health and wellbeing and working in partnership with other organisations and the community for better outcomes for people.

Lyn Jardine is Head of Innovation and Development at Viewpoint Housing Association.  A housing professional with over 20 years experience, Lyn has worked extensively in health and social care and has a keen interest in intergenerational work and technology, with the aim of creating later years we all aspire to. You can get a flavour of some of her work here.

A History of the Astley Ainslie – 1215-1245

Sara Stevenson is a cultural historian and researcher, responsible for setting up the national photography collection in the National Galleries of Scotland. She is an amateur gardener and a convinced environmentalist, who lives close to the Astley Ainslie grounds.

Architecture and buildings 1300-1345

Malcolm Fraser is an Edinburgh architect whose buildings for art and culture, award winning homes and neighbourhoods and the joyful renewal of historic buildings have brought new life to communities. He is also active in promoting the models and legislation to empower Community ownership and has complete pioneering Asset Transfers.

Professor Sandy Halliday CEng Hon FRIAS, principle Gaia Research. Sandy recognizes that humans are now an urban species and that there will be no sustainable world unless we create sustainable cities. She firmly believes that sustainable urbanism should be at the heart and soul of environmental, economic, and social policy. She will talk about Urban Ecology which seeks to develop long term sustainable solutions to the problems that our living patterns generate. Sandy recently published a book covering many of these issues.

Akiko Kobayashi has worked in architectural and engineering practice internationally across sectors for 25 years, and has been living near the Astley Ainslie since 2006. Commissions and voluntary involvement include Woodland Tribe self build adventure playgrounds, the Lothian Birth Centre co-designed with midwives and users, The People’s Money set of banknotes for RBS, and The Architecture Fringe festival. Current projects are focused on research and co-design for intergenerational living and collective self-build housing.

Health 1400-1445

Michele Hipwell is an accredited health psychologist, teacher and trainer with over 25 years experience in higher education, the NHS and voluntary organisations. An environmentalist and experienced mindfulness practitioner, her recent work has focused on supporting grassroots communities to develop better living environments, creative solutions for preventative health and well-being and the application of mindfulness and contemplative education in higher education. 

Prof. Stewart Mercer is a professor of the Primary Care at Edinburgh University and The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He is a leading authority on the need of people with chronic conditions and internationally recognised for his pioneering work on this topic in primary care, for both ageing and socio-economic deprivation. A mindfulness practitioner, he has also applied novel approaches to improve patients outcomes. Stewart first trained at the Astley Ainslie.

Outside the Box – 1500-1545

Jan-Bert van den Berg has worked in the arts since 1985. Initially as an arts practitioner and since 1990 as a producer of creative programmes which address in-equality in the communities of Edinburgh and the Lothians, as part of Art Link Edinburgh. He has a strong conviction that different perspectives and imaginative approaches enrich art making and our life experiences.

Alexander Hamilton is a visual artist. His body of work in the field of art and ecology spans over forty years and has garnered a range of awards and is exhibited internationally. His most recent work comprises a programme of public commissions for notable clinical institutions such as the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow. In 2019, Alexander’s latest project, Multi-Sensory Spaces, will open at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh. He also co-edits Studies in Photography and Chairs the Scottish Society for the History of Photography.

Marion Preez is co-founder and director of UrbanPioneers, a Landscape Architecture practice set up in 2010 with a focus on socio-political projects. In 2016 Marion also joined the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling as an Associative bringing her knowledge on designing outdoor spaces for elderly and people living with dementia.