Conference agenda and presentations

The conference aimed to provide a platform to share ideas and experiences on how best we can work together to develop our communities.  Chaired by Alex Thomson, chief correspondent of Channel 4 news, delegates explored approaches to community-led development and discussed the lessons we can learn from successful, resilient communities.

We heard how community development is practised across Scotland and from an international perspective, with speakers including Frank Rennie, professor of sustainable rural development at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development.

We were also delighted to be joined by MSP Fergus Ewing and a highlight for after dinner was Josh Littlejohn, the founder of the innovative ‘Social Bite’ concept, who explained how his work with homeless people through social enterprises is making a lasting social difference and changing lives.


21st Sept - Where are we?


11.00-12.30 - Registration and Marketplace

11.40 - Networking buffet lunch

12.40 - Welcome from the Conference Master of Ceremonies
Alex Thomson - Chief Correspondent, Channel 4 News

12.50 - Welcome / Conference opening
Professor Lorne Crerar - Chair, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

13.00 - Building our Future: learning from 20 years of community asset ownership

Douglas Cowan - Director of Strengthening Communities, HIE 

Douglas's Presentation

Our Land: Building our future (a video on community ownership)

Calum MacLeod - Rural and Regional Development Consultant  
Calum's Paper
Ian Hepburn - Chair, Community Land Scotland
Lincoln Richford - Chair, Wanlockhead Community Trust
Agnes Rennie - Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn

13.45 - Supporting place based community development

David Cowan – Head of Regeneration Unit, Scottish Government
Joan Bishop - Dornoch Area Community Interest Company:

Hazel Cross - Fife Council:

James Lafferty and Malcolm McMillan Campbeltown:

14.30 - Workshops

15.15 - Marketplace and refreshments

15.45 - The role of local in leading national innovation
Frank Rennie - Professor of Sustainable Rural Development, University of the Highlands and Islands - Frank's Presentation

16.30 - Fergus Ewing MSP - Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity

16.50 - Summary of the afternoon: key insights Alex Thomson

17.20 - Day one close

18.30 - Pre-dinner networking

19.30 - Dinner
Pre-dinner speaker: Peter Argyle – Convener, Cairngorms National Park Authority
After dinner speaker: Josh Littlejohn - Founder, Social Bite -                                                            

For Day 2 see the tab above

22nd Sept - Where do we want to be?

Poll results - If you were here yesterday, what did you enjoy most?

  • 48% - Keynote Speakers
  • 35% - Meeting new people
  • 8% - Meeting old faces
  • 5% - Films
  • 3% - Workshops
  • 1% - Marketplace

09.00 Inside out: the only people who can build community are those who live, sleep and work there
Cormac Russell – Managing Director, Nurture Development and faculty member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute of Northwestern University, Chicago

Cormac's Presentation

09:50 Workshops

10.40 Refreshments

11.10 Creating the future - speed huddles

12.00 Inspiring young community leaders

Charlotte Wright - Chief Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise:

Charlotte's presentation

Catriona Mallows - Scotland Young Thinker of the Year 2016
Sally Reynolds - Development Officer, Carloway Estate Trust

12.40 Inspiring ideas
Alex Thomson

13.00 Closing remarks
Professor Lorne Crerar

Poll results - Describe the conference in one word

13.15 Farewell lunch


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