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What about the rural working class?




This weekend was Montgomeryshire Literary Festival, which I used to chair until conceding there aren't enough hours in the day to run a busy fieldwork agency and chair a lit fest. So this year I took a step back but still enjoyed interviewing a couple of bestselling fiction authors and meeting lots of other incredible writers.


Rebecca Smith wrote 'RURAL: The Lives of the Working Class Countryside' when she found she didn't recognise any of the people in the books of working class authors, a growing trend in publishing in recent years.


Rebecca, the daughter of a forester in Cumbria, realised this was because the short stories and novels she was reading are all set in towns and cities. And the life experiences and outlook of the urban working class are very different to those of the rural working class.


This struck a chord with me because – switch context from publishing to market research – it's precisely why Paul Flatters and I launched FieldMouse Research 5 years ago. The market research industry is rightly focusing on D&I, including the inclusion of working class voices in mainstream research.


But I still don't see many recruitment briefs or sample specs that acknowledge the manifold differences between the urban and rural working class. Reading Rebecca's book – published last week – would be an excellent start to understanding these differences.


And with my Monty Lit Fest hat back on... FieldMouse Research sponsored this session which featured Rebecca Smith in conversation with the brilliant Adam Bedford of Fieldwork Book Club.


Sponsoring events like this is a great way to ensure the future of community events, supporting the arts and improving accessibility. Alongside the usual lit fest crowd we had farmers and rugby fans, the latter drawn to our final session 'The Final Whistle' with rugby referee and diversity ambassador Nigel Owens – what a legend.


If you or your business is interested in sponsoring a session at Monty Lit Fest 2024 (it's only £250 and the sponsorship package includes 2 full weekend passes) – give me a shout and I'll happily explain more about how it works!


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