RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

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10 Rural Resilience and Resourcefulness (1)
Affiliation Rural Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Megan Palmer-Abbs (The Innovation School: Glasgow School of Art, UK)
Keith Halfacree (Swansea University, UK)
Chair(s) Megan Palmer-Abbs (The Innovation School: Glasgow School of Art, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 28 August 2019, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Room 121
Session abstract Rural or Peripheral Areas can be depicted as places of lesser qualities, often disadvantaged by distance and timeous access to services, new technologies, depicted as lagging behind more developed areas (Palmer-Abbs, 2017; Steiner & Teasdale, 2017; Townsend et al, 2015). They are sometimes regarded as places set in time, rural idylls, preserved for those who wish to ‘visit’ and enjoy notions of prettiness (Halfacree, 2007). However, despite these identities these spaces are places of resilience and resourcefulness (Palmer-Abbs, 2017), affected by the troubles and tribulations presented from both indigenous and endogenous events. Current global climes (climate change, digitisation, migration to name a few) impact upon rural communities in many ways. We suggest it is how rural communities and individuals meet, face and overcome these troubles and challenges that makes and builds the identities of these spaces.

This session calls for papers which build on this picture but illustrate innovative and entrepreneurial approaches which strive in times of trouble to overcome adversity. We are particular interested in interdisciplinary research but are keen that innovation and entrepreneurship thread throughout your presentation.

This session is part of a two-part session (panel followed by Innovation Café), it is our intention presenters will play an active part in the following group discussions.
Linked Sessions Rural Resilience and Resourcefulness (2): Innovation Café
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2019@rgs.org
Laboratory life. Two decades of experimental research geography in depopulated and remote rural areas
Angel Paniagua Mazorra (CSIC, Spain)
Since the year 2000 I have carried out continuous research, mainly qualitative, in remote and depopulated rural areas. But, I have never written the most personal experiences, experiences and opinions in the time of permanence in the areas of research and work. My points of view as a person, and not only as a researcher, who lived the experience of depopulation and spatial marginality have suggested points of view that in many cases are not directly applicable to research. These refer to several: (1) Simple perceptions as a researcher of changes in remote rural areas. The sensations of the evolution of these spaces, either in a positive or negative sense, and the personal subjectivity to the 'progress or innovation' of / in many of these areas, including a certain affectivity and sorrow or pain for the loss of their most intimate socio-spatial identity; (2) personal experiences in remote rural areas, in relation to improvements in roads, accommodation ..., which facilitated the field work of the researcher; (3) the changes that occurred in the evolution of life in its double personal/scientific dimension and its influence in the approach to research areas; (4) the more emotional dimension of work in remote rural areas, including a certain personal ‘remoteness’ from more bureaucratized research.
Local Business in Community Resilience to Natural Hazards
David Clelland (University of Glasgow, UK)
While ‘community resilience’ has developed a diversity of meanings and definitions, in policy terms it is usually interpreted as the capacity of places to “help themselves in an emergency” (Cabinet Office, 2011), often in relation to extreme weather events. This can be seen as transferring responsibility for immediate response to groups and individuals, particularly volunteers (Bulley, 2013; Steiner and Markantoni, 2013), with links to notions of community empowerment. Local governments seek to promote this capacity in a variety of ways, commonly focusing on rural areas that may be less accessible to emergency services and other responders.

Although businesses are potentially important actors in communities (particularly in rural areas), with assets that can contribute to their resilience, there is however little evidence on how they engage in local emergency planning and response. Existing research tends to focus on the continuity of businesses themselves on the one hand, and their role in longer-term rural socio-economic resilience on the other. This research seeks to bridge this gap, based on a survey of community groups across Scotland and qualitative research with local stakeholders.
This analysis suggests that the volunteer-centred framing of community resilience tends to overlook businesses as part of the rural ‘community’, and that businesses’ participation can be related to both firm- and community-centric ‘postures’ (McKnight and Linnenlueke, 2016). Through developing understanding of how, why and with what results businesses engage in planning and response, these findings have implications for how resilience to natural hazards is promoted and suggest questions for further research.
Agroforestry and the Valorisation of Ecosystem Services: A Value-Chain Study of Silvopastoral Systems in Selected Italian Farms
Nina Röhrig (Philipps-Univeristät Marburg, Germany)
Tim Roesler (Philipps-Univeristät Marburg, Germany)
Markus Hassler (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany)
Combining livestock production and trees in silvopastoral agroforestry systems have shown to be valuable in fostering the provision of ecosystem services. For farmers, these systems provide an opportunity for diversifying their product range and spreading economic risk. This study assessed if farmers can additionally incorporate the ecological value and transform it into an economic one. Applying the concepts of global value chain (GVC) and global production network (GPN) analysis, the evolution of value was mapped for eight farms in the Italian regions of Umbria and Lazio. Production benefits and ecosystem services resulting from the interactions between animals and trees contributed to product value either by (i) minimising costs per unit or (ii) adding value through the marketing of quality attributes such as environmentally friendly production, taste or heritage. Although all farmers in this study recognise ecological benefits of their production system, only a few of the smaller farms advertise it. Due to a lack of possibilities to label products from silvopastoral systems as such, farmers must rely on close connections to consumers for marketing or use organic certification if selling over greater distances, raising questions on the proportionality of valuing ecosystem services as a public good.
Energised rural Welsh communities: exploring the development and social impacts of community energy in Wales
Sioned Williams (Bangor University, UK)
Corinna Patterson (Bangor University, UK)
Sophie Wynne-Jones (Bangor University, UK)
Community-led and owned renewable projects not only generate renewable energy as part of a transition to a low-carbon society but also produce social impacts within their rural communities. This develops ‘energised’ Welsh communities. However, there is a need to extend the evidence-base and map the added-value from community renewable energy (CRE) projects with a detailed consideration of the potential processes that lead to social impacts. In this context, such processes may reflect discrete aspects of community resilience and resourcefulness, supporting local sustainability. The PhD study focuses on mapping the underpinning processes and resulting outcomes for local communities engaging in CRE. This centres primarily on the social and cultural impacts as well environmental and economic contexts. The study is based on a qualitative case study approach focused on four rural case studies that represent different configurations of technologies, geographical locations and community profiles. This involved semi-structured interviews to examine the perspective and experiences of key stakeholders (n=18). The paper outlines the key findings which suggest that rural communities seek to harness local natural resources for local benefit, producing rural resilience and resourcefulness from community involvement and collective action. These were generated by the CRE projects through a ‘Sense of ownership’, ‘Building confidence and capacity’ and ‘Local decision-making’. As part of this process balancing bridging and bonding networks was an important feature, with social capital building capacity for action through strengthened network connections. The motivations and experiences of participants in the CRE case studies highlighted how these elements fostered resilient rural communities.