The European Society for Rural Sociology Conference, held in Rennes, France, last week, served as a platform for addressing the impact of recent crises on rural trajectories. Under the overarching theme of reimagining rural areas amidst rapid changes, the conference brought together experts and researchers from various fields. Among the participants were FLIARA Project Coordinator, Associate Professor Maura Farrell and FLIARA Project Manager Louise Weir, representing the FLIARA Project.
On the final day of the conference, a significant event took place as the three European Horizon gender projects, including FLIARA, Grass Ceiling, and SWIFT, convened for a Discussion Session. Led by Professor Sally Shortall from the Grass Ceiling Project, this session witnessed extensive participation and provided an exceptional opportunity for the projects to showcase their work and explore potential collaborations.
The FLIARA Project, focusing on enabling rural and farm women to take the lead in ecological transitions across Europe, actively contributed to the conference through its involvement in the “Rural Quality of Life: Gender and other perspectives” Working Group. Taking place on Friday, July 7, 2023, from 15:30 to 17:00, the session delved into theoretical assumptions, methodological approaches, and preliminary findings of the three projects.
FLIARA, alongside GRASS CEILING and SWIFT, operates with living labs and communities of practice involving women, analyses pertinent policy documents, and proposes innovative solutions for the future. By bringing these three projects together, the session fostered an engaging platform for panel debates and knowledge exchange.
Maura Farrell, Project Coordinator, Associate Professor, highlighted the transformative power of teamwork and collaboration at the event, stating, “The event served as a demonstration of the value of teamwork and the possibility of game-changing transformation. As the FLIARA project’s coordinator, I saw how a variety of project objectives and directions can come together to advance gender equality in rural and agricultural settings. It was uplifting to see how passionate and motivated the participants were to tackle the particular difficulties encountered by women in these situations”
Regarding the impact of the conference, Louise Weir, FLIARA Project Manager, shared her perspective, saying, “For me, the true force and legacy of this conference occurred when the presentations acted as a catalyst for synergies, to spark new discussions and tough research and policy insights were laid bare “women are either victims or heroes” (Farrell, 2023), which then spilled onto the corridors and continued across lunch (sustainable food and your own cups!) with friends I just hadn’t met yet.”
The FLIARA Project and its representatives left the European Society for Rural Sociology Conference with a renewed commitment to empowering women in farming and rural areas, and a desire to forge meaningful collaborations with like-minded initiatives. These projects aim to redefine the rural landscape and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future by addressing the problems and opportunities that lie ahead.
For more information about the FLIARA Project, please check our website or contact email@example.com.