Organized by the RegPol2 consortium and the project partners from the Slovak Technical University (STU), the third RegPol2 School took place from September 19-23, 2016 in Velka Lomnica, Slovakia. Under the title “Beyond Disparities: Strategies Towards a Balanced Spatial Development” the conference focused on the knowledge and best practice transfer for less developed regions in Europe. Therefore, it did not only provide the opportunity to discuss academic research on regional polarization during lectures, seminars and colloquia, but also to exchange with local practitioners. As part of the conference, the organizers invited politicians and public officials who explained the challenges of regional polarization in Slovakia. As the conference was arranged in the peripheral Kezmarok region of the High Tatra, it also offered the possibility to visit local community initiatives, educational institutions and social entrepreneurs in order to learn from their experiences in fighting peripheralization. During the conference, Geomedia PhD student Bianka Plüschke-Altof introduced the first results of her research work within two presentations on “More than just representations: A critical discourse analysis approach” and “The challenges of fighting stigmatization in peripheral rural areas”. Additionally, she moderated the method seminar on qualitative content analysis.

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