by Andrew S. Maclaren
The rural quadrennial brings together geographers from the UK Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Rural Geography Research Group, the United States’ American Association of Geographers Rural Geography Specialty Group and Canadian Association of Geographers Rural Geography Study Group. Every four years the conference is held in either the UK, Canada or USA on rotation. The ‘Quadrennial’ held its ninth conference this year, July 13-19, 2019, in Vermont, USA. Cheryl Morse (University of Vermont) and Peter Nelson (Middlebury College) were the organisers. Vermont is an incredible place to host such an event that allowed us to at once share our research through our own conference presentations, where we got to hear about and discuss pressing rural concerns, as well as ‘get out of the armchair’ and into the field for experiential learning by visiting a number of Vermont-based working landscape and rural community enterprises as well as meet with local and regional community groups through organised community engagement exercises. This year’s theme was ‘Working Landscapes and Liveable Communities’ and the thematic breadth combined with the concentration of scholars meant that you got to attend each session and hear everyone at the conference speak.
Something that at the larger national and international conferences you do not get the chance to do due to overlapping sessions. The fieldtrips and social activities also meant there was a real group feel where you got to speak to everyone and to know many more people than you might otherwise.
Conferences of this size are often rare, or infrequent, so having such a conference now in its ninth iteration is a fantastic opportunity to attend as an early career researcher interested in rural issues. As the collegial environment offered where your work is engaged with by a range of scholars and thus you gain a range of perspectives on your own work. The opportunity for future collaborations now being discussed is something I am particularly looking forward to.
Cheryl Morse and Peter Nelson, in particular, need to be credited for organising: Not just the paper sessions alongside interesting conference fieldtrips, but for also taking it upon themselves to lead future directions for the group for outputs, collaborations involving all members and I look forward to these emerging. We all engaged with local stakeholders in rural Vermont to ask how our international perspectives could be useful to groups in Vermont. Most notably we had various round-table discussions with groups from the Vermont Community Foundation; American papers can be found online: https://blog.uvm.edu/cemorseruralquadrennial2019/
Association of Retired Persons – Vermont, and the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Full details on these groups, the conference, its participants, and I am immensely grateful that the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Rural Geography Research Group were successful in securing funding for early career researchers and to have received one of these small grants to support attendance at the ninth rural quadrennial. Attending such events is crucial in the development of early career researchers, to continue to develop their research, grow new and continue previous connections with scholars in your area of research. I am delighted I won a grant at this stage of my career for the Ninth Rural Quadrennial Conference. I am looking forward to Canada 2023. Quadrennial Participants (Full list can be found here: https://blog.uvm.edu/cemorse- ruralquadrennial2019/2019-participants/)
QUAD PARTICIPANTS: 2019 Ryan Bergstrom, University of Minnesota-Duluth, USA Valentine Cadieux, Hamline University, Minnesota, USA Alison Caffyn, Cardiff University, Wales, UK Sara Epp, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada Ryan Gibson, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada Nathalie Gravel, Laval University, Quebec, Canada Keith Halfacree, Swansea University, Wales, UK Lisa Harrington, Kansas State University, Kansas, USA Christy Jean, Kansas State University, Kansas, USA Maria Kennedy, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA Nik Luka, McGill University, Quebec, Canada Felipe da Silva Machado, University of Plymouth, UK Andrew MacLaren, University of Aberdeen & James Hutton Institute, Scotland, UK Aimee Morse, University of Birmingham, England, UK Cheryl Morse, University of Vermont, Vermont, USA Peter Nelson, Middlebury College, Vermont, USA Karin Patzke, State University of New York-ESF, USA Martin Phillips, University of Leicester, England, UK Avantika Ramekar, Kansas State University, Kansas, USA Doug Ramsey, Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada
Guy Robinson, University of Adelaide, Australia and University of Cambridge, UK Bruce Scholten, Independent Scholar, UK Kristin Smith, Montana State University, Montana, USA Darren Smith, Loughborough University, England, UK John Smithers, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada Tony Sorenson, University of New England, Armidale, Au Aileen Stockdale, Queen’s Univ, Belfast, No. Ireland, UK Laura Taylor, York University, Ontario, Canada Levi Van Sant, Georgia Southern University, Georgia, and George Mason University, Virginia, USA Bill Wetherholt, Frostburg State University, Maryland, US Jeffrey Widener, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK Intern Conference Assistants: Lucia Possehl, University of Vermont, Vermont, USA Marco Van Gemeren, Middlebury College, Ve