Mapping the Rural Voice: Players, Policy and Prospects


Dr Richard Byrne, Dr Fiona Williams, Dr Kreseda Smith

Harper Adams University

For many, rural environments are an escape from the chaos and frenzy of urban lifestyles. As such they are often idealised and romanticised to the point where nostalgic views of the rural idyll create a countryside utopia. As Shucksmith (2015) [1] notes, this vision often serves the interests of the powerful and, if unchecked, informs a vision for the future. The question of what the future holds for rural places and communities often takes place at a distance from those areas, and as such reflects an understanding external to the area and not necessarily the experiences, issues and desires of the communities of diverse rural places. Understanding contemporary pressures on rural environments is key to contextualising concerns of rural voices as pressures from the cost-of-living crisis, climate change and the wider economy impact the countryside.

The convenors invite presentations which reimagine the countryside as a living entity, re-evaluating current and potential pressures and issues, through a direct acknowledgement of rural voices. We also invite submissions which challenge the notion of rurality as nostalgia and imagine future countryside landscapes, lived environments, and rural prospects.


This will be a hybrid session. Please email your abstract (250 words) to and/or by 17:00 GMT, Monday 19th February.