Indiana University Rural Conference

Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 9:00 AM – Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 6:30 PM

Virtually held on Zoom

Join the IU Center for Rural Engagement for a two-day conference focused on the issues of greatest importance to Indiana’s rural communities. Connect with leaders from across Indiana, Indiana University researchers, and colleagues from a variety of fields as you learn and share your perspective on the opportunities and needs facing rural Indiana. The conference is designed for community leaders, residents, and professionals who seek to create a stronger Indiana.

Join us for both days or a single day of this fully virtual conference, which will be held on Zoom. September 29 programming will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with an optional evening session from 5:30-6:30 p.m. September 30 programming will take place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an optional evening session from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The full conference rate is $15 per person. The rate to attend only one day is $10 per person. Registration includes all sessions and materials. Scholarships are available but limited; contact for more information.

Registration has closed for this event.

Day One: Taking Action for a Healthier Indiana

September 29, 2020

Breakout sessions will include rural mental health, local food systems and initiatives, substance use disorder interventions, and public health planning topics.

Day Two: Collaborating for a Stronger Indiana

September 30, 2020

Breakout sessions will include arts and economic development, regional collaborations, environmental resilience, placemaking, and local arts topics.

Day 2: Wednesday, September 30

Opening remarks

Lauren Robel, Executive Vice President and Provost, Indiana University Bloomington

Lauren Robel was named provost of Indiana University Bloomington and executive vice president of Indiana University in 2012. She is the Val Nolan Professor of Law in the Maurer School of Law, where she served as dean from 2002 to 2011 and as associate dean from 1991 to 2002.

In fall 2013, Robel initiated a strategic planning process aimed at reimagining and invigorating academic programs across the Bloomington campus in anticipation of Indiana University’s Bicentennial in 2020.

Robel’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University Bloomington includes ambitious initiatives for the Bloomington campus such as a new School of Art, Architecture, and Design, a new program in engineering, the Center for Rural Engagement and IU Corps, and the integration of health sciences programs into a new on-campus Regional Academic Health Center. The plan also calls for initiatives to promote student and faculty success in a variety of areas, from financial literacy and career development to work-life balance and diversity recruitment.

Keynote address

Matthew Fluharty, Founder and Executive Director, Art of the Rural

Matthew Fluharty is a visual artist, writer, and field-based researcher living in Winona, Minnesota, a town placed along the Mississippi River. He is the Executive Director of Art of the Rural, a member of M12 Studio, and he serves on the Board of Directors for Common Field. Matthew’s poetry and essays have been widely published in the US and abroad and are present within the field-establishing publication A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier (Jam Sam, 2014), as well as in To Make a Public: Temporary Art Review 2011-2016.

Breakout 1: Hoosier Housing Ready Toolkit

Communities rely on quality, affordable housing to attract new residents and retain families who have local roots. The Center for Rural Development recently launched a toolkit to help communities assess their readiness for housing, determine the cost and benefit of new housing units, and plan for next steps. Learn the ways the toolkit is currently in use and how it can support your community's housing goals.

Presenters: Kerry Thomson, Center for Rural Engagement; Justin Ross, Ph.D., IU O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Breakout 2: Activating Natural Spaces for Community Resilience

Learn more about the ways our natural landscapes are encouraging residents to explore our region, increase their physical activity, travel between communities, and learn about the environment that surrounds us. Several community groups are currently working on developing significant recreation asset projects. We will explore the evolution of some successful project examples and share lessons we can take back to our own communities.

Presenters: Mark Rogers, Director of MYPath Trail System, Owen County Community Foundation and Larry Pejeau, Ready Communities Grant Manager, Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.; Bryce Himebaugh, IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering

Breakout 3: Elevating Our Art Heritage: Traditional Arts Indiana

In 2020, Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) published Memory, Art, and Aging, a resource and activity guide for older adults living in southern Indiana. This presentation explores the research and programs that led to this resource, and explains how communities can partner with TAI to bring these resources to their home community. The guide features elders who have become exemplary artists and tradition bearers by doing what they enjoy and find meaningful, and shows older adults how their creative and cultural practices can improve their overall wellbeing. Each unit also includes approachable activities to help readers begin their own creative journey.

Presenter: Jon Kay, Ph.D., Traditional Arts Indiana

Breakout 1: Sense of Place: Arts and Rural Economic Development

Celebrating the story of arts and culture and its connection to economic development with both urban, rural, and suburban perspectives. This session will inform participants on creative resources from the Indiana Arts Commission and discuss in depth what rural economic development and the arts looks like in a local approach.

Presenter: Sean Starowitz, City of Bloomington, and Anna Tragesser, Indiana Arts Commission

Breakout 2: Growing Regional Partnerships in the Indiana Uplands Region

Get an update on regional development efforts in the Indiana Uplands and have an opportunity to share your own insights. Learn about notable indicators of progress and also discuss opportunities for improvement and growth. Join an interactive discussion and share your thoughts on how to grow regional collaborations.

Presenters: Joe Carley, IU Center for Rural Engagement; Tina Peterson, Regional Opportunity Initiatives; Kyle Werner, NSWC Crane; Jeff Quyle, Radius Indiana; Greg Jones, Southern Indiana Development Commission

Breakout 3: Using the Hoosier Resilience Index to Ensure the Well-Being of Your Hometown

This summer, Indiana University is partnering with the Center for Rural Engagement to aid cities, towns, and counties as they complete the Hoosier Resilience Index (HRI) Readiness Assessment. The HRI is a tool to guide local governments as they take their first steps in preparing for the increasing number of flood events, extreme heat days, and corresponding impacts that communities are already experiencing. The Readiness Assessment will help participants prioritize response actions, making them more resilient to storms, floods, droughts, and increasing temperatures. Attend this session to learn how IU can provide staff capacity and guidance to address these issues.

Presenters: Janet McCabe, JD.; Bill Bianco, Ph.D.; and Andrea Webster, MPA, MS, IU Environmental Resilience Institute

Building Resilience Through Writing: A Free Creative Writing Workshop Session

Learn more about initiatives to strengthen our sense of community and resilience through creative activity during difficult times. Follow award-winning poet and Provost Professor Catherine Bowman through a writing exercise to expand your creativity and channel personal expression in this free workshop.

Presenter: Catherine Bowman, MFA, IU Department of English Creative Writing Program

To register for this workshop without registering for the conference, RSVP here.

The conference schedule and sessions are subject to change.

Technology requirements and support

We will use Zoom to conduct virtual sessions for the IU Rural Conference. If you need help installing or getting started with Zoom, please visit their help center.

Visit the Zoom Help Center