The pandemic has proved that activities can function online, and these activities work well for sharing information. However, this functionality does not effectively develop nor foster relationships that lead to a ‘Community of Practice’ (Lave and Wenger 1991) where partners can symbiotically learn from each other and their contexts. The development of relationships is therefore a key aspect of the RANS. As such, RANS commissioned artist Sophie Lindsay to facilitate the workshops and provide relationship-building activities that were interspersed throughout the sessions. These were generally very well received, and was noted by several participants that they felt these activities began to entrench and develop relationships and insights about others in the network.
Reflection on Aims and Objectives of Network:
1. Agreed are still fit for purpose, and agreed upon, with further suggestions:
- Build in mechanisms to feed into SCAN/CS – re: longer term impacts and advocacy
- Not everyone in the network is involved in Culture Collective (CC), but there is a general recognition that CC is time limited and specific to locations, whereas RANS is a longer-term, with wider aims: As such, might be useful to use the activities CC as ‘case studies’ for wider political and social change that RANS can work towards.
Eg: Accountability within the sector?
Eg: What comes first – the ‘artist’ or the ‘issue’ (long term vs short term engagement)
2) The discussion ended up ‘doing’ the action of the aims and objectives – eg, for many, this reflection on aims and Objectives was a chance to begin the conversations and share experiences – revealing that there is an eagerness to get started and implement these spaces of learning/sharing
Lindsay Dunbar Presentation:
Lindsay’s work explored leadership in rural/remote settings and revealed the mismatch between a mindset of rurality/remoteness and the policymaker’s assumptions: i.e. – there is a lack of recognition of the multiple and different cultural expectations? Her work shows insightful findings about how these mismatches manifest and what might need to occur to bring them into closer alignment.
Discussion and Emergent Questions
1) How can rural leaders position themselves as impactful? (Eg, what if everyone members of RANS should be on a national board?)
2) What does advocacy look like? How do we practically implement some of your findings?
3) Covid-19 pandemic has provided some opportunities in regards to Digital
engagement with policymakers: how do we take advantage of these to ensure amore equitable engagement with policymakers in the central belt?
4) There hasn’t been a cultural conference in the Highlands in over a decade: Can RANS work towards a sector-wide cultural forum for all of Scotland to showcase the excellent leadership/activities occurring in the Rural?
5) Can RANS do more to celebrate the rural as a site of learning and development for the urban? (i.e., awards)
How can we ensure that there is space to express difference of politics/approaches of each different area that make our experience distinct, and yet also find the similarities that join us together? (Eg, How does RANS be a support mechanism and not an echo chamber?)