Update on the DSA Race Audit
Our vision is for the DSA to be a vibrant, dynamic organisation that provides a community to anybody working on development issues. As part of this vision, we are undertaking a race audit of development studies within the UK. The aim is to arrive at a fuller understanding of one aspect of equality, inclusion and diversity within UK development studies, with the intention of extending this in future to other dimensions of diversity. Heads of development studies centres within the DSA have expressed support and enthusiasm for this initiative.
Work on this began early in 2023 with attempts to identify the domain of development studies – who teaches it, which institutions conduct research on it, and so on. As most of you will be aware, this is not an easy task, given how diffuse the sector is within HE institutions, but also outside. The academic development studies community in the UK is spread across a range of disciplines, departments and centres, making collection of information challenging. HESA, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which was the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education in the United Kingdom, does not hold this information for the Development Studies sector itself. Freedom of Information requests have also been unsuccessful in getting this information.
As a first step, therefore, we will be conducting this analysis only on our institutional members. We have already piloted a survey with three institutional members and hope that this will prove the most effective way of collecting the information required. We would be very grateful for continued support of our members in disseminating these surveys and helping us to collect the information that is required for this audit. In addition to this quantitative survey, we will also be undertaking a multi-layered qualitative study of a few case studies that will help us to consider the experiences of staff working and progressing within the Development Studies sector in the UK.
One of the major aims behind the project is to have a well-informed layout of racial dynamics at play within the development studies institutions. The project is also aimed to help us come up with a set of good practices that could relate to relevant institutions at large.