Organized by the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society / WISERD

Rural policy in Wales is facing its most significant reforms in decades as the Welsh Government considers options for rural development policy and funding after Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Departure from the Common Agricultural Policy and from European regional development and cohesion policies presents both threats and opportunities, however there are fears that political pressures could lead to support for rural development and rural communities being squeezed and opportunities for new approaches missed. In particular, there have been concerns that the voices of rural communities are not being sufficiently heard in policy debates, with recent moves to form a rural network to strengthen the representation of rural civil society in Wales. This event aims to explore how researchers studying rural Wales can contribute to this process by working with civil society groups to identify problems, develop responses and provide evidence for policy-making. Using a ‘world café’ format with participants able to join a sequence of small-group discussions on different topics, the event will highlight existing research and evidence and bring researchers and civil society groups together to work on new research ideas. The small group discussions will cover the themes of: (1) Rural communities, culture and language; (2) Public services and infrastructure; (3) Economy and employment; (4) Changing rural populations; (5) The environment and land use.



9.30 Refreshments on arrival
10.00 Welcome
10.05 The Policy Context – Matthew Quinn, Cardiff University
10.20 The Rural Network – Liz Bickerton
10.35 Overview of Rural Research in Wales – Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University
10.50 Guest Speaker: Learning from Researcher-Civil Society Engagement in the Irish Rural Network. Dr Maura Farrell, National University of Ireland Galway.
11.30 Break
12.00 World Café Session 1: Small group discussions around themes (2 x 30 min discussions)
1.00 Lunch break
1.45 Word Café Session 2: Small group discussions around themes (3 x 30 min discussions)
3.15 Report Back and Next Steps
4.00 End