Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a great series of workshops, Rural Connective: http://air.falmouth.ac.uk/research-projects/rural-connective
The workshop series was a partnership between University College Falmouth, dot.rural at University of Aberdeen and BT and funded by the AHRC. The workshops have explored the potential for broadband (and in particular superfast broadband such as that being rolled out by BT in Cornwall) to impact upon life for rural communities and allow better connections and collaborations for those living and working rurally. Across the year I’ve been involved in a number of stimulating discussions and been witness to a range of presentations – everything from the University of the Village project carried out by University College Falmouth and BT: http://air.falmouth.ac.uk/research-projects/university-village, to talks on community art curation, and the use of technology around campfires in Cornwall!
One purpose of these activities has been to stimulate new thinking around the use of superfast broadband by those living in rural areas to help them better connect with others, and realise benefits on an individual, social and community level – be these economic, cultural or educational. Researchers have also discussed the issues we face when engaging with communities, particularly when this engagement relates to the use or value of technologies. The underlying purpose has been to generate new research ideas, some of which would be taken forward for funding application. At this last workshop a number of the project ideas that were worked up over the previous workshops were the focus. We developed these ideas further – often changing their shape completely (depending on who was in each team and where they were coming from). I’m excited about the project idea that I ended up “marrying” – and the people that I may end up working with on the project. Watch this space!