Visit of Douglas College, Vancouver, Canada

As part of the School of Political Science & Sociology at the University of Galway’s ongoing commitment to collegiality, cooperation, and community, Mike hosted a group of academics and undergraduate students from Douglas College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – under the leadership of Dr Joey Moore from the Sociology and Anthropology Department – on Wednesday the 13th of June 2024. Mike provided a walking presentation and tour of Galway discussing the historical, political, and socioeconomic development of the city over the recent past. The focus for many of the undergraduate students was on urban planning and development, and they hoped to bring their learnings and understanding of what Galway is doing well and what Galway needs to improve upon and change back to British Columbia in terms of active and sustainable travel, placemaking, liveability, and improved quality of life.

Dr Joey Moore and students from Douglas College in Eyre Square

B.Sc. (Social Sciences) Placement/Internship Work on Digital StoryMaps brings Galway’s Heritage to Life

Mike is the Programme Director for the B.Sc. (Social Sciences) programme and a crucial element of this degree is a semester-long work placement/internship, undertaken by third-year students in their second semester. The programme, in close cooperation with Emma Marron in the Careers Development Office, has worked tirelessly over the past number of years to link with local, regional, and national organisations, institutions, NGOs, businesses, and industry to provide essential opportunities for students to develop their employability skills and obtain real-world experience of work within these organisations and companies. One exemplary organisation that the programme has worked closely with over the past few years has been Galway County Council.

This year, B.Sc. (Social Sciences) student Natalie Cyrkel worked with the Heritage and GIS teams of Galway County Council to convert historical data from sources, including O’Donovan’s Ordnance Survey Letters, Griffiths Valuation, the Down Survey, and the 1901 and 1911 censuses, into digital formats. Spearheaded by Galway County Council in conjunction with Galway County Heritage Forum, The Heritage Council, and local community and heritage groups, ‘Galway County Heritage Trails’ showcases the cultural and historical significance of almost half of County Galway’s 4,556 townlands through meticulous research and the application of cutting-edge technologies.

Natalie, with fellow University of Galway students Dylan Reilly and Joseph Ennis, worked on one of the standout features of the project, the creation of StoryMaps, a series of interactive maps combining geographical data with multimedia elements to guide users through the historical landscapes of County Galway’s townlands, towns and villages. One hundred sixty-one townlands in the civil parishes of Kiltartan, Kinvaradooras, Kilcolgan, Kilthomas, and Killinny were digitised. At the same time, online StoryMaps have also been created for Oranmore, Mountbellew, Monivea, and Ballyglunin, bringing to 2,000 the number of townlands now digitised through the project.

At the official launch of StoryMaps at Galway Co Co, attended by Cllr Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway, Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services, Director of Services for Economic Development & Planning, Marc Mellotte, Head of Engagement at the University of Galway, members of the Heritage Council and local community and heritage groups, Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer with Galway County Council, stated:

in addition to the academic aspect of the project, there is a strong emphasis on community engagement. Galway County Council and the students have worked closely with local heritage and community groups to collect and present local heritage information that enriches the content of the StoryMaps. This collaborative approach ensures that the digital heritage trails reflect the authentic voices and experiences of the community.

For some media coverage see The Irish Examiner (USA), Irish Heritage News, Galway Bay FM, Irish Central, Tech Buzz Ireland and Tech Central. To view the StoryMaps and Townland research, visit The Galway Co Co Maps Page.

GovERN Research Community Workshop

Dr Mike Hynes of the Governance and Sustainable Development Research Cluster in the School of Political Science & Sociology at the University of Galway led a hybrid workshop of the GovERN research community at the L’institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE) in Nouvelle-Aquitaine Bordeaux, France on Wednesday 18th October 2023. This workshop preceded a public conference organised by the GovERN the previous day titled The Natured-based Solutions We Want: Shifting Perspectives on Rural and Peri-urban Nature-based Solutions attended by academics, practitioners, government agencies, and civic organisations from across Europe and Canada. GovERN is an international research community that seeks to advance collaborative research on social challenges and emancipatory opportunities when governing rural and peri-urban Nature-based Solutions. Members of the collective represent academic, government, and civic organisations and institutions in France, the UK, Finland, Spain, Italy, Canada and Ireland and are actively engaged in collaborative research and writing, teaching, and research funding applications and opportunities.

Dr Mike Hynes leading the workshop and discussions on the application and implementation of Nature-based Solutions for the GovERN Research Community