The Conference, October 2013

The conference – Approaches to Rural Sustainability and Regeneration: Dreams, Processes and Decision-Making – was an attempt to bring together a diverse range of voices addressing rurality, and included anthropological, geographical and cultural perspectives, mixed with  legislation and regeneration practice: Poetry met planning. The knotty connection between our experience of the rural, the way it is shaped, and how (and why) we might go about changing it.

Apart from being a lovely weekend (the weather certainly helped) and a truly inspiring venue (fforest, in Cilgerran), some wonderful connections were made – between people, events, projects and ideas.

It ‘Opened up the potential for truly cross-disciplinary discussion’, noted one.

Alas, our keynote speaker, Patrick Wright, was, at the last moment, unable to attend. And while his input was missed (let’s hope he can make the next one),  it allowed more time for discussion between speakers – and even so, the demand came in (quite rightly) for more discussion.

The next event – planned for Spring 2015 – will look more particularly at the relationship between urban and rural, and hold on to a healthy mix of planners, politicians and academics, and with a higher presence from artists, who seem to be good at stimulating provocations – not about the quality of the artwork, but about the material and experience being represented. So the next one will have to be longer (over 2 days) and aim to address the practical and concrete, as well as broader approaches.

If you weren’t at last year’s event, and would like to be kept in touch, send your email to me (Reuben) at: rek@aber.ac.uk

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