The annual Australian Therapeutic Landscapes Conference 2021

Restorative Landscapes: Rest, Connect, Restore.


registrations are closed

The Australian Therapeutic Landscapes Conference is an annual event, held in a different state each year. It is the only national conference for people working and researching in the therapeutic horticulture sector, and every year brings together between 100-200 delegates from across Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

In 2021, due to the uncertainty with spontaneous travel restrictions, we’ve decided to go online, making this year’s conference GLOBAL! 

The conference theme for 2021 is Connect, Rest and Restore. We will explore “Restorative Landscapes” through presentations and panel discussions. It will be a blended format of live and pre-recorded presentations.

The focus of the conference will be on the many and varied ways nature, gardens, horticulture or green spaces can function as restorative spaces – that is, places that improve our health and wellbeing, lower stress and connect us with nature and with others.

Come join us as we discuss the challenges, enablers and impacts of connecting, resting, and restoring health and wellbeing in natural environments, and help each other with practical ideas for the future.

This event is a must-do for people involved in the growing field of therapeutic horticulture, including anyone using plant-based activity in the fields of health, aged care, disabilities, design, education, horticulture or research. Gardeners, come along!

ATLC 2021 Conference program

Thanks for joining the Therapeutic Landscapes Conference 2021. All session times below are in Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Session 1 | 9.00 – 11.00am EST

9.00 – 9.15am EST

Conference Opening and Welcome

Acknowledgement of Country

Presented by THA President, Tara Graham – Cochrane

9.15 – 10:10am

KEYNOTE: Places of Connection, Rest & Restoration 

Presented by Allison Williams, Professor, School of Earth, Environment & Society, McMaster University

Scroll down for speaker bio and presentation details.

10:10 – 11am

Mapping Therapeutic Horticulture across Australia Survey Results

Presented by THA Vice President, Kate Neale

Morning Tea | 11.00 – 11.30am EST

Grab a cuppa and join others for a networking session.

Networking Breakout Session 1

Therapeutic Horticulture in Mental Health

Networking Breakout Session 2

Therapeutic Horticulture for Disabilities

Networking Breakout Session 3

Therapeutic Horticulture in Aged Care

Networking Breakout Session 4

Design and Therapeutic Horticulture

Session 2 | 11.30 – 1:30pm EST

11.30 – 12.30pm

KEYNOTE: “What Needs to be Restored to (Re)create a Healthier Urban Landscape? –Lessons from Tropical Nature”

Presented by Simon Morrison, Co-founder and Director, Field Labs

Scroll down for speaker bio and presentation details.

12.30 – 1.30pm

Panel Discussion

Developing a Teaching and Learning Framework for Therapeutic Environments in Australia

Presented by Dr Kate Lee, Dr Sara Barron, A/Prof John Rayner,

School of Ecosystem & Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne

Scroll down for speaker bio and presentation details.

Lunch | 1.30 –2.00pm EST

Stretch your legs, enjoy some lunch or watch THA Conference on Demand content.

Session 3 | 2.00 – 3.00pm EST

Workshop 1

Introduction to Mindfulness in the Garden

Presented by Emma Lewellyn, Horticultural Therapist, Adelaide Botanic Gardens


2-2:20pm  (20mins)



Workshop 2

Weaving Occupational Therapy into Horticulture

Presented by Peter Petrov, Occupational Therapist, Kevin Heinz Grow


 2:30-3pm (30mins)

Workshop 3

Back to Our Senses: An abridged forest bathing and nature therapy session

Presented by Amy Baker, Nature and Forest Bathing Guide



Workshop 4

Creating and engaging with Restorative Landscapes through Go Slow for a Mo

Presented by Ross Wissing, Waminda Parker and Miles Holmes



Workshop 5

Laying the foundations for successful Therapeutic Horticulture sessions

Presented by Rebecca Taylor, Social Ecologist, Wyld Work Projects



Workshop 6

Kinship Collective: Healing, Restoration, Prevention, Preparedness

Presented by Fran Castro, Mental Health Occupational Therapist and Daryl Taylor, Kinship Collective Founder and Kinship Designer 


Session 4 | 3.00 – 4.30pm EST

3.00 – 4.20pm

Keynote: The Well-Gardened Mind

Presented by Sue Stuart Smith, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind

Scroll down for speaker bio and presentation details.

4.20 – 4.30pm

Conference Wrap up

Presented by THA President, Tara Graham – Cochrane

THA Drinks & Networking | 4.30pm EST

4.30pm – 5:15pm

Online Networking Drinks

Join us to celebrate the end of a great conference with fun and games and more networking

5:30pm onwards

Blind-date guerrilla renegade pop drinks

Get to a local pub, let others know when and where you’ll be and then meet up for a drink. We can’t meet up in person collectively this year, but that’s not to say we can’t at least try to meet up somehow!!! THA cocktail parties are very well known as the best in the business so we hope you’ll create your own and still have some fun!


Allison Williams

Professor, School of Earth, Environment & Society
McMaster University

One of the better-known contributions made by health geographers to the study of health and place is therapeutic landscape theory. This theory brings together the natural, built, symbolic, spiritual and psycho-social elements of place for health, healing and renewal. A brief review of this theory will provide the foundation for best understanding the presentation of a three case studies: (1) green spaces for university students under stress in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, (2) Bahamian yogic blue and green spaces for those seeking mental stillness, and (3) natural elements of the built environment for often isolated, housebound carer-workers who are both caring for an older family member and conducting paid work at home in Ontario, Canada. Results confirm the important role nature plays in sustaining and restoring health and well-being, providing a range of social and cognitive benefits for users. A variety of qualitative and mixed methods research approaches are employed in these studies, illustrating an array of design options for therapeutic horticulture research. Policy and program implications are discussed before new research directions are suggested.

Dr. Williams has played a pivotal role in developing the concept of therapeutic landscapes (TL), one of a few internationally recognized contributions made by health geographers to the study of health and place. In addition to editing two internationally acclaimed book collections, Dr. Williams has directed attention to the application of TLs in various encyclopedia entries. Most recently, she has studied therapeutic landscapes in the forms of campus greenspace for university students, yoga retreats for stillness enthusiasts, and the home environments of informal carer-workers providing care to adult loved ones at home while simultaneously conducting home-based employment. She lives on Lake Ontario, where she keeps a butterfly garden and potted vegetable garden.

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith

Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist DocHealth Service, Author of The Well Gardened Mind
well gardened mind book cover

The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the “real” life that lies outside.

But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Drawing on my grandfather’s return from World War I, Sigmund Freud’s obsession with flowers and interviews with people from gardening projects in prisons, hospitals and in the community, I look at how gardening can answer to deep existential needs and discuss findings from recent research showing that connecting to nature alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, a Sunday Times Bestseller, listed as one of the 37 best books of 2020 by The Times and gardening book of the year by The Sunday Times. She studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor and working in the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. She currently teaches at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London and is a consultant at DocHealth, a not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for doctors. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over thirty years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire. Her book, The Well Gardened Mind, analyses the relationship between gardening and mental health.

Simon Morrison

Co-founder, Director Field Labs B. Lasc Arch (Hons), MSILA, Accr Landscape Architect

Simon has worked across both public and private practice around the globe, completing numerous urban, master-planning, residential and institutional projects. With over twenty five years’ of Landscape Architectural experience in Australasia, South East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United Kingdom, Simon has an extensive knowledge of landscape, urban design, public health, ecological and environmental issues as they impact different regions of the world.

At project development level his honed design and management skills range from feasibility, conceptualisation and planning to detailed design and management in construction. Now based in Southeast Asia, Simon’s interests centre on design innovation, about how a holistic “landscape approach” can combine so many valuable characteristics environmental, social, cultural, information and technological to develop healthy innovative, sustained and expressive habitats for people.

Dr Kate Lee

Dr Sara Barron

A/Prof John Rayner

School of Ecosystem & Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne

In this year, perhaps more than any other, people have become more aware of the importance of
nature in our lives. As coronavirus precautions impact the daily lives of urbanites across the globe, people have flocked to green spaces, developed a passion for gardening and bought more plants; in short the therapeutic value of natural environments has been brought to the forefront of our public discourse.

In spite of this, pathways for qualifications in this space are limited and we are missing a national education framework. Please join us for a roundtable discussion to develop a shared national vision for developing a teaching and learning framework for therapeutic environments in Australia. We anticipate this as a collaborative and sustained process flowing on from the workshop, recognising the need for continued development to draw on our extensive collective experience to co‐craft this framework. This will follow a brief overview of what’s being done in this space, drawing on a postgraduate specialist subject being co‐taught at the University of Melbourne’s historic Burnley campus as an example.

The workshop will be guided by three key questions:

‐ How can we deliver transformative and immersive teaching in therapeutic environments in
Australia, to support industry excellence?

‐ How can we engage students across diverse disciplines and professions for a thriving
therapeutic environments community?

‐ How can we work together for collective impact, leading the world in therapeutic
environments education?

Sponsorship packages available now

ATLC is the largest meeting of researchers, practitioners, professionals, participants and students of therapeutic horticulture in Australia each year, making it a great opportunity for your organisation to gain valuable exposure and align yourself as a leader and supporter of therapeutic horticulture in Australia.

This year, such exposure is truly GLOBAL!!!

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for organisations and businesses.  A variety of options are available whether you are looking to build your networks, promote programs, expand your presence within the field, or promote your products or services through THA’s growing networks, in Australia and internationally.

Our sponsorship package includes: online registrations, opportunity to submit a sponsor’s promotional video, LIVE speaking opportunity, sponsorship acknowledgements by THA President and inclusion of logo in conference promotion worldwide.

Please email if you would like to receive our sponsorship prospectus.

Foundational sponsors

Conference sponsor

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