Connecting with research

The aim is to connect research and local stakeholders (ERP) for stronger evidence-based advocacy, networking and partnerships in rural development. Research material is being compiled and  the research network developed within ERP-partnership by researchers and actors interested in local, place-based development. Suggestions for future activities linking reaearchers and young researchers to the process.

The event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of MUA (NGO for Rural Development research in Finland) and co-organised by MUA and ERP.
The event was held in Ähtäri, Finland 22-23.8.2019. See the programme here (partly in English)

Keynotespeaker Klaus Brønd Laursen The Department of Management, Aarhus University, Denmark: Partnership development – When simple problems require complex solutions

The speech was based mainly on Danish conditions, but many circumstances could be recognised throughout Europe.
A few key points:
”Post world war Danish Rural Development is characterised by a strong movement towards fewer and larger farms, a decline in rural population and a loss of functions”
”Fewer larger municipalities are causing a general centralisation of public services and goods”
”A central mantra seem to be a narrow economic rationality preaching – let fall what cannot stand!”
To enable a sustainable development, we need to recognise:
→ ”There is a necessity to reconceptualise our valuation of rural qualities
→ ”Added value is bad at capturing non-measurable quantities” “We therefore need to conceptualised many of the activities in rural area as ‘value-based’, thus emphasizing that they carry a value in themselves. They are not taken on in order to add value to an already existing product.” ”What alternative forms of organising/organisations can capture alternative valuation and different understanding of values”? ”Relations are essential in capturing other values than pure economic value”
→ Contracts are something fixed for future and for specific issues whereas partnerships are promises on a more open and functional future
→ Partnerships are processual arrangements, well suited on negotiations over values. Disadvantage: they produce a surplus of possibilities and are also subject to complexity.
→ Political awareness and action is needed to tackle the different rural realities

Panel discussion on the development for the next 20 years of rural areas from the perspective of rural research and development. Panellists: Torsti Hyyryläinen, Kaisu Kumpulainen, Tuija Mononen and Sulevi Riukulehto. The discussion moderated by Olli Lehtonen

An option to participate in one of the 8 Workshops:
1) Developing Partnerships
2) Rural Transport
3). Sustainability as an Entrepreneurship Guideline
4) Rural Development / Rural Policy
5) Rural Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
6) Young People's Future
7) Rural Life justice produced
8) Sustainable tourism

Of which both 1) Developing Partnerships and 8) Sustainable tourism had international participation.

From the Panel discussion the following key points were picked up:
- Decentralise education to rural areas
- Handling smart decline at political level is understanding realities
- Creating more female jobs might have positive effects on the village demography
- Teleworking is a solution – ”do people want to be outside social working networks?”
- Rethinking rural – issue of values and valuating. Do we think rural (economically) big, centralised, urban or local, social and partnership? Even rural experts speak an urban centralised discourse. Are we (working / economically) culturally bound and blind?
- We should abandon unnecessary work and think of life career (Jeremy Rifkin). AI and 3D will soon be part of our life.
- For megatrends like climate and environment rural area must be part of the discussion, solutions and policy.