Learning from European Rural Movements: Research to inform a Scottish approach

Jayne Glass, Jane Atterton*, Mark D. Shucksmith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy Brief/Technical BriefCommissioned reportpeer-review

160 Downloads (Pure)


What were we trying to find out?

To inform the development of a rural movement in Scotland, this report explores the key characteristics, roles and methods of engagement employed by established rural movements in other European countries.

What did we do?

We studied rural movements in 10 countries (Albania, England, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Sweden). We collected information via a
desk-based review of relevant literature, interviews with representatives from each of the movements, and an online seminar to discuss the initial findings (hosted by the European
Rural Communities Alliance).

What did we learn?

We identified six overarching themes with associated learning points for Scotland. The themes relate to the structure of the organisation, collaboration, purpose, activities, relationship with government, and place-based action.

The findings demonstrate how rural movements represent an organised approach to providing a network and voice for rural areas, their people and those working to support rural development. An important role for the movements is advocacy to shape local, regional and national policy, while another important role is enabling shared learning and knowledge exchange. The character of each movement reflects and responds to the national context in which it operates, including the system of administration and culture.

What do we recommend?

Three insights can be put forward from this research to inform the Scottish approach. We suggest that these are used as a basis for ongoing discussions between Scottish Government, Scottish Rural Action and others seeking to develop an effective and impactful Scottish rural movement:

1. A Scottish rural movement should bring together diverse actors to inform and influence policy.
2. A Scottish rural movement needs a clear identity and clarity of purpose related to networking and knowledge sharing.
3. A Scottish rural movement should be supported to develop constructive relationships with LEADER LAGs and staff to ensure that the movement represents local issues and needs effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPrint publication - 8 Sept 2022


  • rural movement
  • community
  • Europe
  • rural advocacy
  • Local Action Groups
  • stakeholders
  • rural policy
  • Sweden
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Ireland
  • England
  • Netherlands
  • Albania
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • Northern Ireland
  • ACRE

Rural Policy Centre Themes

  • Rural economies and communities


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning from European Rural Movements: Research to inform a Scottish approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this