Newtown, in Powys, is typical small market town, an urban centre in a rural setting, common to many parts of the UK and Europe. Like all these other towns Newtown is also totally unique, with its own history, its own mix of people and businesses and buildings, and its own problems and opportunities for the future in a rapidly changing world. Like most rural towns it has been integrated into international networks of trade and culture for a very long time. It has experienced peaks and troughs and had to continually reinvent itself as markets and social attitudes have changed.
The Aberystwyth University Geography Department is leading an international research project looking at how rural places are changing in response to global events and global processes, and how people in different places increasingly interact with each other in a world where distance does not seem to matter. This larger project (GLOBAL-RURAL) is looking at places as far afield as eastern Australia, Brazil, Ireland, China and Mali.
But our Assembling Newtown project is an attempt to understand how some of these global processes have an effect upon Newtown through its trade, communications, culture, media, skills and expertise, people and politics. In many ways we are trying to assemble a picture of Newtown as it is today and how it has changed over the last fifty years.
Assembling Newtown is an attempt to do research that helps support the town as it responds to and plans for changes yet to happen. By choosing Newtown for a more in-depth study we can also look at how globalisation is affecting people’s lives in a more everyday way. This is the aim of the broader Global-Rural project, to try to better understand how precisely globalization operates on the ground, in particular places, and why some rural places and communities seem to fare better than others in adapting to the changes that it brings.
There are lots of different themes that will be explored through the research. Details of different research projects, research findings and resources for exploring and finding out more about the town will be provided here.
A summary of our report on our household survey can be seen here