ICRPS 2012: Return to Montréal

by Bill Reimer 06/07/2012

Over the 14 days of the summer school we have traveled almost 1500 km; taken 14 excursions; met 23 policy analysts, practitioners, and rural leaders; heard from 10 international scholars; and produced six reports on topics such as food, energy, inequality, natural resources, and regional development. These reports will form the basis for a submission to the Ministère des affaires municipals, Régions et Occupations du territoire du Québec (MAMROT) – reflecting on the current evaluation of the provincial rural policy enacted in 2007.

It’s no wonder that we returned to Montréal tired and drained! It didn’t mean that most of the participants collapsed, however. After a lovely meal prepared by Lesley, most of the group headed off to the music and bands of the Jazz Festival that was in full swing throughout the streets of the city.

The general assessment of the school was very positive. From my point of view the primary evidence for this conclusion came in the group presentations yesterday – where the 6 groups demonstrated the value of comparison, collaboration, and careful analysis – as they put before us the many insights and recommendations from their hard work. For example, they noted how Québec’s relatively ‘top-down’ organization of energy has constrained some of the innovations in local production as found in Norway; they introduced alternative ways of managing rural immigration and language tensions by a comparison of Québec and Catalonia; and they identified several communication gaps in the relations among government departments and between those departments and the local organizations.

I was thoroughly impressed with the engagement of both faculty and students throughout the summer school. In spite of the fact that we made enormous demands on their time, intelligence, and analytical capacities, then consistently came through with challenges, insights, and respect of others’ opinions that were strong testimony to the ICRPS objectives and principles.

I thank you all: the faculty, the students, and the support team that made this event such a pleasure and inspiration. I also include Katja and Kjersti in that group – who helped us from afar – moving the stories to the world of the internet through this site.

Here are a few images from that whirlwind 2 weeks. You can also take a look at our travel booklet by clicking here.

Photos by Bill Reimer

BILL REIMER joined the ICRPS Consortium in 2011 and is co-organizing the ICRPS 2012 summer school in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Reimer recently retired from Concordia University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has extensive experience in research on issues relating to rural Canada, with particular focus on social inclusion and exclusion. Reimer´s research areas include women´s farm and household labour, the impact of technology on rural communities, Aboriginal communities, the informal economy in rural Canada, social capital and community capacity-building.

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