6 July 2016

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Laboratory space or selfie zone?

The cycle of my year has allowed me to take a little time off for a short holiday. I’m visiting Uppsala, Sweden with a friend and spent a lovely morning in Carl Von Linné’s botanic garden. Thinking about spaces and how they alter and flex according to the actions we perform within them led me to reflect on the garden. For Carl (I feel like we are on first name terms now), his garden was a laboratory. It was ordered and controlled. Visitors were allowed to peer over the hedges but not enter unless accompanied by a gardener. It was where he worked and thought and created the taxonomic system he became internationally renowned for. Today though it is a peaceful green oasis in the centre of a modern university town, and we were there to enjoy the sunshine and the flowers, and take one or two cheesy selfies for good measure. For us it was not a laboratory, it was a node on a tourist trail of the town, highlighted in the guide books and trip advisor pages as a ‘must see’. It was a garden not a lab; a place of recreation rather than work. But it would not have survived, nor continue to exist, at least in its current form so carefully curated according to Linné’s notebooks and drawings, were it not for the global scientific significance of this quiet space. Which is a fun thought to muse on.

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