Rural? What’s rural?
By John Devlin
Monday morning after a good breakfast we all made our way en mass to Room 20, Facultat d’Economia i Empresa led by Clara Cera.
John Bryden (NIBIO) and Judith Stallmann (MU) started with a round of introductions by participants indicating their topics of research interest followed by some discussion of ICRPS history and learning approach – interactive with continuous student participation and high levels of student/faculty engagement.
The working groups and group project were then introduced by Judith Stallmann (MU) and John Devlin (UoG) including the ever engaging “room rearranging exercise” leading to a chance for some initial discussions by students in their working groups. This year there are working groups on:
Agrifood system and policies (2 groups)
Climate Change Adaptation, Policy, and Practice
Rural and urban linkages
Rural economic renaissance and entrepreneurship
After the group work and a coffee break that involved an extensive exploration of the AUB campus cafeterias we moved on to the ever engaging question: What is Rural?
We were treated to an in depth exploration of the essence of rural by Ray Bollman who convinced us all that it has something to do with density and distance to density but we were not sure what exactly. This prepared us for subsequent questions about what rural policy and rural development policy are. Extensive discussions on these topics led to the general conclusion that it was time for lunch.
After the buffet we turned to look at how rural is understood in different contexts with John Bryden chairing and presentations from Brent Steel (OSU) on the US; Ryan Gibson (UoG): on Canada; Gabino Nava (UAEM) on Mexico; James Breen (UCD) on Europe; and Lourdes Viladomiu (UAB) on Spain and Catalonia. John Bryden ended the session with thoughts on why comparative rural policy studies is a valuable approach because it introduces us to the variety that can be found in different contexts and the complexity that exists in all contexts.
After the day’s sessions Jordi Rosell and Clara Cera toured us through the Campus and back to the Restaurant CAU de la Vila where we had convened yesterday for the reception. Time for supper and some refreshments.
Wow! Day two done already!