Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

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Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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Find out about our constitution, how we are run and meet our Council

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Meet our Council members and other staff who support the running of DSA

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

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Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

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Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

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Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

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Spotlight on CSGD

The Centre for the Study of Global Development (CSGD) at The Open University (OU) is one of the newest members of the DSA. It’s also a new organisation in itself, focussing on human wellbeing in global development since 2020.

CSGD is a multi and interdisciplinary research centre within the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing Education and Language Studies and builds on an extensive history of work on global health, education and wellbeing. The CGSD works with and alongside other well-established groups on international development in the OU, including DSA member Innovation Knowledge Development research group. Keen to link more with UK global development networks and to establish new partnerships, CSGD joined the DSA earlier this year.  

The CSGD emphasises that their work is global in focus, meaning they seek to advance aspects of human wellbeing within and across all countries. “For us at CSGD it’s about global issues; and not a simple north – south divide.” explains CSGD Co-Deputy Director Dr Keetie Roelen. “The Centre looks at how things both vary and are common across contexts. We aim to learn in a genuine way from different ways of thinking and advance knowledge by combining ideas from across countries and contexts.”

One example of research that cuts across contexts is the project Understanding attitudes, countering stigma and cultivating empathy to tackle poverty and inequality, led by Dr Keetie Roelen and part of the OU’s Open Societal Challenges initiative. This work seeks to understand experiences of people in poverty and receipt of social protection and attitudes towards them through a comparative lens to acknowledge the global relevance of these issues and give space to insights into cross-cutting issues and context-specific nuances.

One of the things that makes CSGD unique is that their definition of development is anchored in human wellbeing. This means that they look at issues that are central to how people live their everyday lives, such as health, education, work and livelihoods, and their interconnections. Research within CSGD is organised across six hubs, examining issues at micro- and meso- levels with a focus on individuals, families and communities, distinct from looking at the political and economic structures of countries. 

The Centre is currently focussed on research, and does so through an explicitly interdisciplinary lens. This research focus gives the Centre opportunity to reflect on how research on global development is done. 

“Researchers at CSGD think deeply about the ethics around how we conduct development research and engage with communities, partners and researchers,” said Dr Alison Buckler, CSGD Co-Deputy Director.

“Our members believe that it is essential to involve the members of communities where we work in the design and delivery of our research projects in a way that’s meaningful to them. We strive to create a research culture where all parties involved in projects can learn from each other and feel ownership over the knowledge that is generated. So we believe it is crucial to take an exploratory and interdisciplinary approach when studying global development issues as this leads to a better understanding of development problems and possible sustainable ways forward.”

The CSGD is always looking for innovative ways to best engage research participants. An example of this is the Ibali project: which looks at education inclusion in the UK, Nigeria and South Africa, led by Dr Alison Buckler. This research uses arts-based approaches to explore young people’s understandings about inclusive education and storytelling. The result is not just stories about inclusion but also a critical, ethnographic evaluation of the storytelling research process to show how storytelling could be better and more ethically used in research.

The project ‘Precarious lives in motion’, led by Prof Rosina Márquez Reiter, uses video recordings of sales activities and WhatsApp messages to study the embodied interactions carried out by ambulant vendors in Buenos Aires. It offers a unique perspective on how vendors navigate and negotiate their day-to-day activities, such as convincing customers to buy their produce and negotiating space with other vendors.

The 3MPower project, led by Prof Tom Power, is another example of innovative research methodologies. The project reviews the use of digital development tools for teachers in a primary education setting and looks at what results from peer research (conducted by rural teachers), participatory and quantitative surveys are saying on the tools’s success. The 3MPower work is a partnership between The Open University, the Government of Bangladesh, and the Institute of Education and Research at University of Dhaka and this collaboration is another hallmark of CSGD’s work. 

“We don’t want to just be an academic unit,” says Dr Keetie Roelen. “A lot of our work is in partnership with policy makers. The CSGD is keen to build long-term relationships with NGOs and organizations to develop research together and see gaps filled with literature and solutions.”