Earlier this year we designed and hosted a series of online webinars that brought together individuals and organisations from across Scotland and Wales. Shared learning has always been an important part of Rural Wisdom and we’ve been learning new ways of doing this since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the lockdowns and restrictions, we would have invited everyone to gather in-person to swap stories, share ideas and plan exciting collaborations for the future. We wanted to be able to bring the best of those sessions together with the accessibility and possibility offered by new digital ways of working.

We planned three Zoom sessions to take us from Spring into Summer based on themes that emerged from our conversations with local people and community groups. We tested out a ‘Conversation Starter’ format – something that would be welcoming and accessible to people new to Rural Wisdom or the topics we were discussing, and useful to those who had been working on these topics for years. Guest speakers were invited to discuss their experience on each topic and the sessions were open to anyone and everyone.

  • Renewable Energy and Fuel Poverty with Renew Wales and Energising Moray.
  • Connecting Men with South Lanarkshire Mobile Men’s Shed and men2men.
  • A Conversation with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

Our previous Rural Wisdom digital gatherings were very participative with breakout rooms, graphic facilitation, feedback sessions etc. These tended to be longer sessions but with people starting to talk about ‘zoom fatigue’ we wanted something that was short but still provided all the useful contacts, ideas, and inspiration. We circulated notes and a recording of the presentation for people who were unable to make it along or for those who were excited by what they heard and wanted to share with their friends, neighbours, and colleagues. All recordings and notes can be found in the Shared Learning section of our website.

Delyth Higgins from Renew Wales shared her thoughts about the series “It was great for Renew Wales to be invited to participate in the first ‘Conversation Starter’ event in April. The title is such an instantly understandable and striking way to ‘sell’ the idea that people can gain and learn so much from talking to each other. This is very much the case in community life and activism and is very powerful at grassroots level.” For more information please read Delyth’s Renew Wales Guest Blog. 

We’re now planning our Autumn Winter sessions so keep an eye on our events page or sign up to our Rural Wisdom newsletter.

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