Black and white portrait of the torso and arms of Kevin Benham, seated at an outdoor table

Kevin Benham

Prince Charitable Trusts/Kate Lancaster Brewster Rome Prize
January 11–August 6, 2021
Assistant Professor, Jon Emerson/Wayne Womack Design Professorship, Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, Louisiana State University
Project title
A Line in the Land: Tracing the Transhumance
Project description

Transhumance is an historically important type of livestock grazing that has existed as a landscape strategy for millennia. In Italy, it involves the seasonal movement of herds (mainly sheep) in southeastern Italy between regions in Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, and Puglia. Routes of this historical practice, known today as the Royal Shepherd’s Track, are identified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. While this designation calls attention to an ancient agrarian landscape strategy worthy of recognition and preservation, it also carries implications for contemporary urban applications. These historical routes act as ecological corridors for the dispersal of plants and animals and lead to greater biodiversity. I will research the migrations and reevaluate Transhumance through a contemporary ecological and urban lens by deploying a series of landscape interventions integrating rural elements (sheep or other herbivores) into the urban environment. I will selectively test, evaluate, and record these interventions, thereby recreating in contemporary terms the ancient human/animal interaction with the Italian landscape.