Back in Place

A two-part gathering of 30 thought leaders to discuss the future of place

Together we will consider what qualities we missed in our in our physical and digital places during the pandemic


Gathering One: Summer of Hope (September 2021)

We met to identify key ways to transform our experience of place, both physical and digital. The meeting let to a White Paper ().


Gather Two: Summer of Reality (June 2022)

As the UK starts to fully “live with Covid” and the initial joy of release fades, how might we reshape and rethink place? With perspectives ranging from the digital to the natural world, we will explore recommendations for policy makers as well as business, education and technological innovators.


Select a Date


Day 1: Thursday 16th September

  • 11:00am: Setting the Scene – Matt Jones, Richard Harper
  • 11:30: Keynote: Alan Penn: Reflecting on the role of ‘place’ in communities as we emerge from Covid.
  • 12:30: Working lunch and 3 Breakout sessions:
    • Topic: what exile from our habitual physical places has taught us about what matters (or what we’ve missed)
  • 1:30: Feedback: a characterisation of the things missed during the pandemic.
  • 2:00: Tea and Coffee
  • 2:30: Keynote: Bishop June Osborne: Place and the Spiritual during and as we emerge from Covid
  • 3:30: Close of working day (5 mins admin)
  • 4:00: Visit to the new Copr Bay area in Swansea to consider the intertwining of the physical and digital.
  • 6:45: Pre dinner: Keynote: Gutto Harri: How news-media and politicians have framed ‘place’ during and as we emerge from Covid
  • 7:30pm: Dinner at hotel

Day 2: Friday 17th September

  • 9:00am: Day 2 Goals – Matt Jones, Richard Harper.
  • 9:15: Keynote: Yvonne Rodgers: The promise of the digital and the disappointments it affords
  • 10:15: Tea and Coffee
  • 10:30: Breakout session: Given the things we identified in Day 1, which ones should we focus on and how - in the short term, in the longer term, through public awareness, through regulation
  • 11:30:Feedback
  • 12:30: Working Lunch
  • 1:15: Keynote: Charles Clarke: Urban renewal after covid
  • 2:15: Tea and Coffee
  • 2:30: Open Reflection in smaller groups
  • 3:15: Feedback
  • 3:45: Summary and next steps: creating a White Paper and the the event in Feb 2022.

Day 1: Thursday 23rd June

  • 10:30: Coffee available
  • 11:00: Introductions
  • 11:30-12:15: First Keynote: Prof Tom Rodden, Chief Scientific Advisor for DCMA, HMG
    Talk Title: “Digital and Place”
  • 12:15 - 13:45: Working lunch : Discussion on Technology and Place
  • 13:45: Sharing thoughts and focusing our attention
  • 14:00: Second Keynote: Alison Wilkinson and Linda Pye (Strategic Lead, South Lakes Federation, Kirkby Lonsdale ; Head, Ryelands Primary, Lancaster resp.)
    Talk Title: “Education and Place”
  • 14:45: Coffee and refreshments
  • 15:00: Breakout sessions : Learning and Places
  • 16:00: Sharing thoughts and focusing our attention
  • 16:30: Escape!! Walk - dependent on Tides/Playground for the Soul Trail
  • 18:00: Pre-Dinner Drinks
  • 18:15 - 19:00: Angus Garbutt – The bay as a place of ecological wonder
  • 19:15: Dinner

Day 2: Friday 24th June

  • 9:00: Coffee and pastries
  • 9:30 - 10:15: Third keynote: Edwin Booth, Chairman, Booths Ltd
    Talk Title: “Changing Rooms”
  • 10:15 - 11:00: Breakout sessions : Place, Community and Retail
  • 11:00 - 11:30: Sharing thoughts and focusing our attention, Refreshments
  • 11:30 - 12:15: Fourth Keynote: Mark Cropper, Chairman of Kendal Futures
    Talk Title: “Visions for Kendal and Burneside and the importance of holistic thinking”
  • 12:15 - 13:30: Working Lunch : Shaping Places, shaping the future
  • 13:30 - 13:45: Sharing thoughts and focusing our attention
  • 14:00 - 14:45: Fifth Keynote: Sir Tim Smit:
    Talk Title: “The Future is a state of mind. The power of storytelling to ground lightning”
  • 15:00: Summary, Thanks and Next Steps

Why Swansea and Morecambe bay?

Both places are being transformed – Swansea through the City Deal, Council investment and the activities of the Universities; in Morecombe Bay the aspirations for change are exemplified by the Eden North Project”