Scottish Rural Parliament


This case study relates to work in which Connecting Scotland and Scottish Rural Action – who organise and run the biennial Scottish Rural Parliament – have collaborated in order to organise, run and host workshops within the 2016 Rural Parliament event.


The Scottish Rural Action has a responsibility to organise the biennial Rural Parliament event following the successful inaugural event in 2014. Previously in the 2014 event, Connecting Scotland had helped host a large Open Space session, and this experience encouraged the SRA to invite CS to continue the work during the 2016 event.

Need and Purpose

The Rural Parliament organising committee wanted to run a half-day Open Space session and half-day plenary session in order for participants to refine and provide collective agreement for the final version of the Manifesto for Rural Scotland document.


Connecting Scotland provided three Art of Hosting practitioners and a graphic facilitator to the Rural Parliament to help with preparing for, running and hosting workshops, Open Space and the manifesto refinement and agreement sessions, then harvesting the results and finally crafting a Book of Proceedings report from the Open Space session.

Benefits Delivered

Workshops and Open Space session

The purpose was for people to talk about Manifesto items and agree the actions to be owned, taken forward and by whom. Also an Open Space session (of two rounds) was hosted.

  • The purpose was for people to raise topics of conversation on anything they wished based around two questions “How can the Rural Parliament be improved?” and “What would make the manifesto better for everyone to agree to?”

Manifesto session

The purpose was to make the content of the Manifesto the best it can be upon which everyone can agree. A large part of the Manifesto session was getting final and celebratory agreement from almost 300 participants on 19 topics ranging from environment to poverty – it was a significant achievement to do that! The final Manifesto document can be seen here:

What People Said

  • "A brilliant event and well hosted by the team from Connecting Scotland, especially the session to refine and agree with the final version of the Manifesto!"