By Loes Witteveen, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
A working group on Rural Communication has been proposed to the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). This move was initiated by the GRI-RC during the IAMCR international conference in July this year.
Envisioned to provide a platform for academic scholars and professionals working in the field of rural communication, the focus of the group, however, goes beyond the provision of services in rural areas. It adopts a broad understanding of rural communication, ranging from the functioning of multi-stakeholder platforms, over rural radio and other ICTs, to agricultural extension services via farmer field school, sms services or other channels to improving access to rural telecommunications infrastructures.
The working group addresses the specifics of communication in rural areas. The motivation for the work is applied in the sense that it focuses on rural innovations and interventions, social change and development that responds in a sustained and inclusive manner to communication needs of rural populations.
The topics to be covered under this working group are: innovative methodologies and new technologies for rural communication and extension; interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder actions and social learning; innovation system approaches and knowledge brokering; monitoring and evaluation for learning and institutional change; research and transdisciplinarity in rural communication for development theory and practice; and mainstreaming communication in rural development policies.
The new group operates in close cooperation with the Participatory Communication Research section as this section has historically provided a home for rural communication subjects, especially in the global South.
The proposal will be discussed by the IAMCR executive board. Meanwhile, the working group will organize its first activities in the upcoming annual IAMCR conference.