Rural Landscape, Nature and Social Recoveries: Problems and Potentialities

Session Organisers: Professor Martin Phillips and Dr Sophie Tindale

Notions of recovery abound in contemporary discourses of the countryside, not least in policy
statements and schemes drawing attention to and promoting actions in relation to landscape, nature
and covid recoveries. In the UK, for instance, Defra’s Environmental Land Management Scheme outlines
payment schemes for England related to both ‘local nature’ and ‘landscape’ recovery, while the Scottish
Government has promoted a ‘green recovery’ strategy that connects climate change and biodiversity
with addressing socio-economic challenges associated with the Covid 19 pandemic. Whilst rural areas
have not been the exclusive focus of such policy making, they have often formed a central constitutive
arena of concern and action, and indeed assessment, with governmental, academic and popular studies
often directing attention onto transformations in rural areas. Many of these studies have focused on
highlighting the need for recovery, detailing for instance species loss and biodiversity decline as well as
failure to mitigate and adapt to the onset of global climate change (e.g. Hayhow et al., 2016; IPBES,
2019), whilst others have sought to promote particular strategies of recovery (e.g. Dasgupta 2021;
Glover 2019; House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2021) or identify signs of recovery or
the accentuation of problems (e.g. Defra 2021; NICRE 2022; Rural England 2022).

Whilst such issues are clearly important and deserving of attention of study by rural geographers and
others, there is also potential value in looking beyond them to address a series of other critical concerns,
including the extent to which practices of recovery may serve to perpetuate the dynamics that led to
crisis conditions or afford opportunities for radically new imaginings, practices and relations to emerge
unexpectedly within patches of landscapes, natures and social life that have, in various ways and
extents, come to be ruined (Tsing,2015).

This session seeks to explore the problems and potentialities of rural recoveries, and welcomes
contributions that seek to explore these from a range of different perspectives, including theoretically,
creatively, empirically and in relation to policy making and stakeholder practice. Potential themes for
investigation include:

 The development, implementation and /or consequences of strategies and practices of rural
landscape, nature and socio-economic recovery;
 Theoretical reflections of conceptions of recovery, including relations with other concepts
applied in rural studies, such as resilience, restoration, revitalisation and regeneration;
 Methodologies and practices of rural recovery, including recovery evaluations, experiential
studies of recovery, creative approaches to imagining recovery and alternative futures;
collaborative and practitioner practices of recovery;
 The limitations, failures and contradictions of recovery, including the extent to which they
reproduce or accentuate issues of rural marginalisation, inequality and exclusion;
 Experiences and outcomes of rural recovery, including how people and other more-than-human
actants variously experience loss, renewal and transformation.

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words, along with details of the title of paper, author
names and affiliation(s) to either Professor Martin Phillips ( or Dr Sophie Tindale
( by Friday 18 th March 2022.


Defra (2021) 25 Year Environment Plan Annual Progress Report, April 2020 to March 2021 (London: for
Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)
Dasgupta, P. (2021) The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review (London: HM Treasury)
Glover, J. (2019) Landscape Review: Final Report (London: Defra)
Hayhow et al. (2019) State of Nature, 2019 (Sandy: State of Nature Partnership)
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (2021) Biodiversity in the UK: Bloom or Bust? First
Report of Session 2021-22 (London: House of Commons)
IPBES (2019) The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Summary for Policy
Makers (Bonn: Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
NICRE (2022) The Effect the Covid-19 Pandemic on rural Businesses: Experiences and Resilience
(Newcastle: National innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise)
Rural England (2022) State of Rural Services Report 2021: the Impact of the Pandemic (Craven Arms:
Rural England)
Tsing, A,L. (2015) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
(Princeton: Princeton University Press)