Minister Humphreys announces the launch of the NUI Galway Rural Voices seminar series

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD and Associate Professor Maura Farrell, NUI Galway. Credit: Julien Behal Photography.
Jan 26 2022 Posted: 05:11 GMT

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD has today announced Rural Voices, a new seminar series hosted by NUI Galway.

The monthly sessions are being held to bring a renewed focus on rural issues at a national level.

The seminars are planned as part of NUI Galway’s participation in the Higher Education and Research Network for Rural Development, established by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) as a commitment to Our Rural Future 2021-2025, Ireland’s new national rural development policy.

Rural Voices is the first of its kind in Ireland. The events will feature research, projects and initiatives from academics and key rural stakeholders engaged in rural studies, including those in the Research Network for Rural Development.

The first seminar takes place today Wednesday 26 January 2022. 

It is open to the public, policy makers and key rural stakeholders, both nationally and internationally and can be accessed at  

Launching the series, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “This wonderful initiative provides a unique platform for Irish academics and rural stakeholders to put forward their projects and ideas as we work collectively to improve Rural Ireland. 

“It is critically important that we all work together – government, academia and society – to address the major challenges and to seize the many opportunities ahead of us.

“Rural Voices series is an exciting new opportunity for us to do just that.

“Initiatives like these very much reflect and compliment the objectives of ‘Our Rural Future’ – the Government’s ambitious five year strategy which aims to transform Rural Ireland and provide more opportunities for our rural communities.

“’Our Rural Future’ is already having a big impact the length and breadth of the country. Its objectives can only be further realised by initiatives like these.”

President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh welcomed the focus on rural studies. 

“NUI Galway is delighted to lead this Rural Seminar Series in collaboration with the Department of Rural and Community Development. The series will provide an excellent opportunity for higher Irish Education Institutes and Research Centres to connect, network and learn from each other and in doing so, further rural research and development,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said.

“I often speak about NUI Galway’s four key values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence – and being here for the public good – this Seminar Series demonstrates our respect for heritage and rural life and our wish to sustain excellence in community and rural development practice.”

The Our Rural Futures Higher Education and Research Network consists of academics engaged in rural research and policy in 16 Higher Education Institutions and three research institutions across Ireland.

Associate Professor Maura Farrell, School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway was appointed to the Network by the NUI Galway President, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh.

As part of her contribution to the Network, Professor Farrell will host the Rural Voices series, alongside her Geography colleagues in the NUI Galway Rural Studies Centre and in conjunction with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Professor Farrell said: “Our aim in organising and hosting the monthly seminar series is firstly to provide a platform for Irish academics and key rural stakeholders to present their research or rural projects, but it also offers an opportunity to network with others engaged in a similar space, including academics and those with lived experience of rural issues. Initiating discussions around key rural issues is a small step on the road to finding solutions.”

Dr Andrew Forde, Head of Rural Strategy and Social Enterprise at the Department of Rural and Community Development, is speaking at the opening session of this seminar series.


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