President’s Symposium, October 2018

Back to the Future: the Social Landscape of Devon

Symposium leaflet
Design: Delphine Jones

To be held at Petroc College, Tiverton on Saturday 6 October, and hosted by our 2018–19 President Dame Suzi Leather.

Whereas last year’s Symposium dealt with Devon’s physical landscape, this year’s Symposium focuses on the social landscape.

Is Devon’s society changing? If so, in what ways? New towns are being built, we have a rapidly increasing proportion of older citizens, and our communities are becoming more diverse.

Meanwhile there are major challenges, including inequality, climate change, people homeless or in debt, drug and alcohol problems, and loneliness.

How is Devon coping with these challenges, especially at a time of public sector cuts? How will the shrinking role of the state and increasing reliance on individuals, families and communities – reminiscent perhaps of times gone by – affect the way in which we face these challenges? How are we and civil society responding?

How can we ensure that Devon’s social landscape is fit for the 21st century?

For booking details see the event page.


An illustration from Thomas Shapter’s ‘The History of Cholera in Exeter’ (1832)

9.30 – 10.00 am Registration and coffee

Welcome and brief introduction
Dame Suzi Leather

An historical perspective
Professor Jonathan Barry, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Exeter

Devon’s people today
Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health, Devon County Council

Re-imagining the state
Dr Phil Norrey, Chief Executive, Devon County Council

Re-imagining civil society
Martha Wilkinson, Chief Executive, Devon Community Foundation

Professor Christopher Southgate

1:00 – 2:00pm LUNCH

Devon Communities Together
Photo: Tony Buller

Fit for the 21st century: a panel discussion on civic society – the state of local action/philanthropy

Chaired by Dame Suzi Leather with panel members from: Devon Communities Together, Devon Voluntary Action, Devon Community Foundation, and Hospiscare.

Professor Christopher Southgate

3.30 – 4.00 pm. Tea