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Willard: Stories of people. Scars in a landscape. Preserving a place.

Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Kennedy Hall, 461

Institute for European Studies, Cornell University


Tom Struyf (°1983), a Belgian actor, theater maker and graduation student landscape architecture. In his theatrical work he invites the audience to join him on a personal and honest search into phenomena that are typical for our time. Tom is a storyteller with a modern touch, using mixed media. His performances are a cross-over form of theater, documentary, film and lecture performance, and flirt with genres such as detective fiction, coming of age, and roadmovies.

Willard will be a documentary theater performance that Tom and his team will create in the coming years, inspired by the small hamlet on the shores of the Seneca Lake, upstate New York - and its complex history. Showing portraits of the inhabitants of the town, he’ll create both an image of a long lost community and of a past time. In addition, as a future landscape architect, this project offers him a chance to combine both professional interests. In working closely together with the citizens of Willard, Tom would like to create a proposal design for a new Willard-park, as a tribute to its history. A site as a monument that will serve as a remembrance of what was and an inspiration for the future. It should be a new and appealing public place, home to sport, cultural, recreational and educational activities, founded on the history that took place there. It should become a testament to the time, where interested parties from far and wide could come to discover the history of the institute and the evolution of mental health care in the United States. Aside from that, the surroundings should become a pleasant tourist attraction, where people can live, grow food, swim, play sports, go for walks and strolls - just like they used to.

Tom will develop his graduation project simultaneously with the creation process of the theater performance, so that both projects can complete each other and eventually merge. 

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, The Society for the Humanities, Landscape Architecture, Cornell Institute for European Studies




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Claire Swensen

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