When COVID-19 hit with its lockdowns and foreign travel restrictions, did you suddenly feel drawn to life somewhere more remote? If so, you weren't alone. Rural areas around the world suddenly found themselves overwhelmed with visitors, and in some cases, this influx even overpowered the infrastructure.
But on the other side, as people got more open-minded about rural living, they also became more aware of the potential mental and physical health benefits, as well as the opportunities for more sustainable lifestyles.
In this episode, we hear how rural communities in the Nordics and around the world turned the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity and we investigate how we can develop thriving, but still sustainable rural areas over the coming decades.
This episode comes from an online Nordic Talks event organized by the University of Limerick in Ireland, Nordregio in Sweden, and CoDel in the United Kingdom.
"In a rural society you have a built-in spirit of cooperation that has proved essential during the pandemic"
Liam Glynn, community doctor and professor at Limerick University.
This podcast episode features the following speakers
Thomas Fisher (Scottish)
Thomas Fisher is one of the founders and directors of CoDeL (Community Development Lens), an organisation that works to help young people who have returned or settled on Scotland's Outer Hebrides islands. He recently led an international partnership funded by the EU's Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme to research the economic impacts of COVID-19 in these areas. Thomas also designs and facilitates learning programs for the Social Enterprise Academy and for island and refugee entrepreneurs. He has lived in Uist in the Outer Hebrides for almost 20 years.
Theona Morrison (Scottish)
Theona Morrison is one of the founders and directors of CoDeL (Community Development Lens), an organisation that works to help young people who have returned to or settled in Scotland's Outer Hebrides islands, where she lives. CoDeL recently ran the Smart Islands project, which worked with island communities in Scotland and Ireland to explore and develop ways of making their islands smart, dynamic and sustainable. Theona is Acting Chair of Scottish Rural Action and has spent 28 years working on and advocating for community development.
Anna Karlsdóttir (Icelandic)
Anna Karlsdóttir is a Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, the Sweden-based international research centre for regional development and planning, where she is currently the head of the Nordic Thematic Group for Green and Inclusive Rural Regional Development. Anna is an assistant professor in Human Geography and Tourism Studies at the University of Iceland and holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Roskilde University, Denmark. Anna has been involved in North Atlantic, Nordic, European, US and Canadian research networks for the human geography-related study of the Arctic since 1996.
Liam Glynn (Irish)
Liam Glynn is a Professor of General Practice at the Graduate Entry Medical School of Limerick University in Ireland. He is a practising community doctor in an Irish village of just over 250 people and the lead partner for the CovidWatch-EU-Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) project, which collects comparative COVID-19 datasets from across the NPA region. His primary research interests are preventive medicine, focusing on physical activity, and applying and researching mobile health (mHealth) interventions in clinical practice.