Call for Abstracts


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Rural and Remote Resilience: Making the Priorities Possible

24 - 28 September 2012
Whyalla and Upper Spencer Gulf, AUSTRALIA

Building on an initial gathering in Townsville, Australia, and on four previous conferences held in Vancouver Island, Canada; Inverness, Scotland; Abingdon, USA and Udaipur, India, the 2012 IRN World Forum in the Upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia, will bring together practitioners, policy makers and scholars with an interest in regional, rural and remote communities across the world. IRN gatherings emphasise the sharing of practical experience and the value of local knowledge in addressing local challenges. This is especially important in the areas of community and economic development, health, education, culture and environment.

The theme of IRN 2012 is Rural and Remote Resilience: Making the Priorities Possible. A key aim of IRN 2012 is to attract presentations which join together community groups and practitioners with researchers / academics and or policy makers / industry.  IRN 2012 will pay particular attention to the policy and governance challenges related to the differences between regional, rural and remote communities.

The University of South Australia Campus and the Middleback Theatre will serve as venues for the forum. The Whyalla campus of the University of South Australia represents the major centre of tertiary education in rural South Australia. It is situated on a 22 hectare site in the heart of the education and cultural precinct at Whyalla. The campus is an integral part of the northern and western regions of the state, and is expanding its research, consultancy and business services through collaborative ventures with industry and community organisations across the region. It has a strong research presence with several innovative and unique projects related to regional, rural and remote issues, with researchers working on local, national and international projects.

In keeping with the IRN conference format, the middle day of the 5 day gathering will be given over to field trips which will highlight the ‘Regional, Rural and Remote’ nature of this unique region. The field trips will focus on how RRR challenges and opportunities are met in the Australian context. Planned tours include the option of a visit to either Coober Pedy or Andamooka. These opal mining centres are situated in harsh climatic environments and residents live underground in 'dugouts', where the temperature remains constant all year round. Some delegates may prefer to experience a cruise to the very tip of Spencer Gulf - a unique landscape where the water ends and the desert begins. Agriculture, pastoralism, aquaculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, art, craft and culture all feature in this region and conference field trips will endeavour to showcase this diversity.

 “Rural and Remote Resilience” will feature speakers of international renown, peer learning opportunities and cutting-edge presentations & workshops. With a strong focus on participation, there are options for academic scholarship, storytelling and themed workshops. The event will also include a forum for PhD students with a half day colloquium and panel session planned.

Submission of Abstracts

The format of the forum will be a short keynote presentation session each morning followed by concurrent workshops with presentations and round-table discussion, panel sessions and papers. There will also be facility for poster presentations and other displays particularly from NGOs of craft, theatre, film or other presentations. Practical workshops are also encouraged.

The forum therefore welcomes abstracts (excluding keynote presentations) for paper sessions and workshops across a range of topics including: volunteers / volunteering, indigenous knowledge and its importance to the ‘local’, the challenges of regional, rural & remote labour markets, technology and how it advantages or disadvantages regional, rural & remote communities, water and development, climate change, macro- and micro-migration, leadership, governance, speed of change, mindsets of poverty, UN Millennium Development Goals and new ways of thinking about resilience. We are interested in hearing about practical applications of new knowledge – knowledge for communities, knowledge for businesses & productivity and knowledge that informs policy for regional, rural & remote places.

Sessions will be themed following receipt and acceptance of abstracts. As with previous years, within each theme we will look particularly for a balance of representation from the following cross cutting sub-themes: health, education, economic development, IT and other relevant issues to Regional, Rural and Remote Resilience.

Guidelines for Submission of Abstracts

· The conference language is English.

· Abstracts must include a problem statement, methods, major findings, and lessons learned.

· Please submit your abstract of less than 500 words in Microsoft Word or a PDF format

· Indicate if your abstract is for a workshop, paper session, poster or display

· If you require academic reviewing of your abstract then please indicate this.

· Abstracts must be submitted by email to

· Submission deadline is 16 April 2012

· Selection of abstracts will be made and contributors notified.

· Final presentations for accepted abstracts must be received for workshops and paper sessions by 31 May 2012. Guidelines for the formatting of presentations and papers will be sent to successful participants.

· If you intend or would like to lead a workshop session, please contact the organisers at as soon as possible and supply an abstract for the session along with a short biography & photo (jpg or gif format) of the presenter/s

Please Note:
Strong preference will be given to abstracts which incorporate a practical 'learning' element
Preference will also be given to joint presentations and workshop proposals involving both NGOs and researchers

Forum News

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Abstract Extension Call for abstracts now closes end of April 2012
Abstract Extension Call for abstracts now closes end of June 2012

Forum 2012 Preliminary Program Announced!

Nicola Crosta confirms attendance as a Keynote
Nicola Crosta confirms attendance as a Keynote

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