Staff Profile

A head and shoulders shot of a smiling Helena Chance wearing a coat stood outside

Dr Helena Chance


I began my career in 1979 as an art editor and picture researcher for book publishers, and following the completion of my MA in 1994, I taught the history of art and design at a number of institutions in Oxford. I joined Buckinghamshire New University as an Associate Lecturer in 2000 and, following the completion of my DPhil in 2010, I became a full-time member of staff. Now, my main role is leader of the ‘Woodlanders Lives and Landscapes’ project, a Bucks New University and Chilterns Conservation Board partnership.

I studied for my BA in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Reading (1979), an MA in the History of Design at Middlesex University (1994) and a DPhil at the University of Oxford (2010). My specialist area of research is the history and design of cultural landscapes, focussing on the design and furnishing of public green space to promote health and well-being, and the representation of designed landscapes in art, photography, advertising, branding and in virtual space.  I have particular expertise in the social landscapes of industry, from those of the first industrial villages in the eighteenth century, to the pleasure gardens designed today for employees at tech giants such as Google and Facebook. My book ‘The Factory in a Garden’ A History of Corporate Landscapes from the Industrial to the Digital Age was published Manchester University Press in February 2017.

My specialist knowledge has led me to work with Wycombe Museum and The Chilterns Conservation Board on heritage projects, offering new understandings of the Chilterns furniture industry and to connect people more closely to their landscape heritage. I am also working with The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading and other stakeholders on a project to draw more attention to the archive of the Landscape Institute located at the Museum.

My career highlight is my current role as leader of the ‘Woodlanders Lives and Landscapes’ project, part of ‘Chalk, Cherries and Chairs’, a £2.8 million landscape partnership scheme run by the Chilterns Conservation Board and funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

View my Research repository.