Garden Museums

‘The garden is the smallest parcel of the world and the whole world at the same time. Since early antiquity the garden has been a sort of blissful and universalising heterotopia….’

Gardens are marked off enclosures, an emplacement, to use Foucault’s favoured term in his account of heterotopia, which are spatially and functionally ambiguous and possess an intense plurality of changing meanings. They are also persistently related to utopian thought, form and desire. In this essay, I briefly discuss the link between gardens and utopia before analysing the space of a contemporary botanical garden in terms of the principles of heterotopia.

Download: The Eden Project pdf

The Eden Project

Related links and resources

1. Article on the Eden Project by John Blewitt from the ejournal Museum and Society 2004 Vol 2 issue 3
The Eden Project – making a connection

2. The Eden project is a ‘living museum’. Here are two articles that address the space of the museum through links with heterotopia:

Hetherington, K. (2011) ‘Foucault, the Museum and the Diagram’, The Sociological Review, 59:3 457-475.

Lord, B. (2006) ‘Foucault’s museum: difference, representation, and genealogy’. Museum and Society. (pdf)


The British Museum – Reading Room

4. This garden site is an excellent resource. The ‘History and Theory’ section is particularly useful, including a style guide and glossary.

5. Foucault specifically mentions the Persian gardens of antiquity. Solmaz Mohammadzadeh Kive has written an article responding to Foucault’s brief comments:

Kive, S. M. (2012) ‘The other space of the Persian garden’ Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, 2: 3.(pdf)

June 2017

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