Rural policy under the spotlight

ACADEMICS will gather this month for a major conference to debate the future of rural policy.

The 2012 Rural Policy Conference will be held on Thursday, 27 September, at Kingsholm Rugby Stadium, Gloucester.

This year's event centres on the rapidly changing picture of rural society, which has been driven by changes in the rural policy arena as austerity measures have combined with a push towards new forms of policy making and service provision as part of 'The Big Society'.

Changes are happening simultaneously at local, regional, national and international levels, says the Countryside & Community Research Unit, which is organising the conference.

This poses new questions of, and about, rural policy, which will be contemplated through various conference presentations.

The 2012 Rural Policy Conference will assess these competing images of rural communities, how at one pole, control of planning needs and service provision is taken at a local level through a renewed civic society; and how at the other pole a state system is abdicating its responsibility to care for the marginal and vulnerable.

Both of these scenarios are set against a backdrop of international uncertainty and change as questions of food security and resource limitations compete with climate change as priorities. Between these poles lies a wide array of experiences and opinions, as the future of rural communities is being re-imagined.

The full programme reflects the theme Pastoral or Past-Caring? New Directions in Rural Policy.

This one-day conference also marks the 25th anniversary of the CCRI and will take the opportunity to look back and reflect on how rural policy has arrived at this juncture, as well as look forward to new possibilities.

Based on the latest research by the CCRI team and guest speakers this conference is aimed at all of those involved with rural policy, including practitioners, policy maker and academic researchers.

The conference is entitled, "Pastoral or Past-Caring? New Directions in Rural Policy". The cost to attend this event is £100, but organisers are offering a 10% discount to members of the Rural Services Network.

Bookings can be made online via the University of Gloucestershire online store or by contacting Jill Harper


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