Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bringing rural controversies - and song - to Tyneside

We can't promise that "Who should run the countryside" will be ALL singing,ALL dancing but there really will be some singing - and where could be more appropriate than The Sage, Gateshead? I understand that acoustically it is among the top 10 venues in the world and it is a stunning building, apparently created from silver panels that roll upwards from the riverside. So it seems an appropriate place to hear the Sustainable Uplands project singing about the future of our hills. Other highlights could be more sharply pointed, I think, particularly when debates such as "21st century land ownership: a responsibility or a privilege?" and "Food security v environmental responsibility: which should take precedence?" get underway. Some stakeholders have already remarked on the provocative nature of the conference's title and, of course, that isn't accidental. We want to stimulate people to think about the countryside and to contribute their views. We want to bring some rural controversy to Tyneside, and to make this a really engaging day.

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