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, why it matters, how you can study and career prospects

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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 and how we are run

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Meet our Council members and other stuff 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 "Unsettling Development"

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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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Information for delegates

28 June – 2 July 2021: Online Conference at UEA

Unsettling Development

COVID19, climate change, populism, demands for racial justice and the rise of new powers are among the themes that will be explored.

Whova online resources & conference policies

This year’s conference will take place within the Whova online conference platform.  Whova interacts with Zoom, so all live sessions will take place in Zoom meetings. So if you are familiar with Zoom, you will find presenting and interacting in the sessions straight-forward.


Over the next week, we are offering drop-in days to give you an opportunity to test your setup, get to know Whova and make sure that your conference experience will be stress free and an enjoyable experience. DSA2021 drop-in days will be on:

  • Thursday 24 June, 9:00-18:00 BST/London timezone
  • Friday 25 June, 9:00-18:00 BST/London timezone

Before the drop-in day, in order to access these sessions, please follow the steps below, either A or B.

A) If you have not yet created an account in Whova, please do the following: Click on this link to take you to Whova login page!

Once there, you will need to sign up to Whova to continue, to do this:

  • Please make sure you use the same email address that you used to register to the DSA conference (the email address we are emailing you now). We have added you with this email address as a delegate to Whova, but you need to create a user account yourself. So please go to the ‘Sign up here’ option, below the ‘Login’ button.
  • Enter your name and email address and choose a password for your account.
  • Next, you can upload an avatar/photo of yourself (if you wish), add your affiliation and/or few interests – entering this data is optional (and will take longer!)
  • Once you have finalized your account, you will enter the Whova event main page where you will see the DSA logo and an image of the University of East Anglia!

B) If you have already created your Whova account, then you just need to login to Whova with your email and password via this link here which will take you to Whova login page!  Once on that page and logged in:

  • In the ‘main navigation’ column on the left, click on ‘Agenda’
  • You will now see two tabs:
    • Full agenda – the full timetable of the event
    • My agenda – you can ‘Add to My Agenda’ as many sessions and events that you like and these will appear in the ‘My agenda’ tab
  • In order to find a drop-in day (or in 1 weeks time your panel session), please use the ‘search’ function above the Agenda tabs and enter your session reference number or name (for example: P04 or ‘Drop in day 1’). This should then show you only that session.
  • Click on the session title.
  • Next you will see the options of joining the session via Zoom (you should have the Zoom app installed on your computer) or remaining within the Whova web app to join the session. We recommend clicking on the Zoom option, especially if you are planning to share screen.
  • Presenters can share their screen  to show their presentations as in regular Zoom meeting, there is no need to send ahead the presentation files.
  • For pre-recorded presentations, please upload your presentation to a video streaming platform (Youtube or Vimeo for example) and then share your screen as you would share a Youtube video.

Please note: All delegates will need to create a Whova account and login to Whova every day of the conference that they plan to attend. Whova contains the full conference agenda, networking options among all delegates and exhibitor booths etc. The option to use the Zoom app is only when entering live event sessions (panels, plenaries, social events etc). We recommend you set up your account this week or next so that you can familiarise yourself with the platform well ahead of the sessions you wish to attend. If you wish to only listen in/ watch any sessions, you can download and use the Whova mobile app for whatever mobile device you have. However if you are presenting or highly involved in the session we do strongly advise that you use a computer/ laptop to access Whova’s web app.


Depending on your role in the conference, please check out in advance the following guides created by Whova on how to make the most out of your conference experience:

Attendee User Guide
Speaker Guide

If you are not familiar with Zoom meetings, please look through the Zoom video tutorials, particularly those labelled: “Zoom Meetings and webinars” & “Audio, video & sharing”.

Everyone should also read over the DSA2021 accessibility guidelines, the conference recording and the anti-harrassment policies.  Please take the time to look through these ahead of the conference.

For those of you pre-recording your presentation, we have a how to guide to help in your preparations.

If you are concerned that your internet connection will not allow you to present live, then please make a pre-recorded video presentation, upload it to your own YouTube or Vimeo account and send the link to this video to your convenor in advance, so in the worst case scenario they can share their screen and play your video to the virtual room.


Convenor and author information

Once again the DSA adopted an open call for paper proposals from all-comers. The aim is to continue to open up the conference process to allow for the creation of new networks, putting people in touch with each other who have related research interests.


  • Paper-presenters may be students
  • Convenors may also present a paper during the conference, either in their own panel or another.
  • Due to the ‘competition for time’ within such a conference, colleagues are allowed to convene no more than one panel and present only one paper during the conference.
  • This year it is not allowed to make multiple paper proposals, so please only submit your best paper proposal for the one you intend to present at the conference. However, you can be a co-author on other papers but not as lead/ presenting author.
  • In brief, each participant may convene one panel, present one paper, chair one panel and be discussant in one panel.
  • Paper presenters need not be members of the association.  However, the DSA welcomes new members.  Members of the association can register for the conference at a discounted fee.
  • All accepted panels, except certain roundtables and experimental panels, were open to paper proposals through the website; panels could be proposed with specific contributors in mind, but during the call for papers, convenors were open to the possibility of other contributions arriving via the open call.
  • There is no General panel this year, all papers were proposed to one of the panels listed on the panels page.
  • All panels are grouped under various streams (themes) and this is colour coded in the online panel timetable.
  • All convenors, authors, chairs and discussants and invited speakers to roundtables or experimental panels will be expected to register online in advance of the event and pay a registration fee to attend.
  • The DSA expects convenors of accepted panels to commit to the panel and conference: convenors will need to observe deadlines for action requested by the conference organisers, communicate with all those proposing papers to their panels to inform them of their decisions, and continue to communicate with the accepted presenters as the panel prepares for the event

Acceptance letters

Formal acceptance letters (signed pdfs on headed paper) can be downloaded from the login environment (top right corner of the DSA website). Log in, proceed past your contact details with the “Proceed” button (located under the contact fields) and when the website reloads click “Logged in” where “Log in” was in the top right corner. A menu appears, click “Conferences” and on the next screen, Cocoa appears – our online environment for papers and panels.  Scroll down to your panel/paper for DSA2021. There will be an encircled A at the end of the panel/paper title line. Click on this, download the pdf and print your letter. Please note that we do not send such letters by post.

Your details

When logged into the site, click ‘Logged in’ and choose ‘Manage Account’ in the drop-down to ensure your contact details are the way you’d like them to be presented – especially your title, name, institution, as these are visible on panel pages and in any printed material (programme, conference badge, etc).

Convenor responsibilities

It is the convenors’ responsibility to ensure that all panel participants are well briefed and that the panel continues to meet DSA2021 requirements. To that end, convenors should not only communicate their decisions over proposals to paper proposers, but also later in the process, email the panelists to:

  • inform them of the speaking order (albeit this is displayed on the public panel page)
  • inform them as to how much time they have been allocated
  • remind them to register (the registration status can be seen in the login environment)
  • inform them of any late changes or additional chairs/discussants, and give any other information related to the panel.
  • if panelists withdraw, convenors should mark these withdrawals in the login environment to inform the organisers.

Controlling/editing your panel

Panel convenors can use the ‘Log in’ link (see toolbar top-right above) to administer their panels via this login environment. Convenors should log in to add the names of chairs/discussants, to order the papers in their panel and to manage the paper proposals. Co-convenors cannot be added/removed nor can panels be withdrawn through this environment – please email us to do this (address in footer).

If an author emails between now and the conference to withdraw their paper, the convenors should mark the paper as ‘Withdrawn’ in the login environment, otherwise the conference administrator may not know of the withdrawal. If we hear of a withdrawal, we will do the same and notify the panel convenors updating you on the number of papers remaining and panel sessions allocated to your panel. The papers can be placed in order for each session via the login environment. If you have multiple panel sessions and you wish to move papers between those sessions, please email us as only we can move them for you.

Length of panels

Due to our attempt to keep online days shorter for delegates, panels with more than 1 session tend to run over multiple days. Each day will have a maximum of two 105-minute panel sessions, each of which may hold up to four papers. We have allocated every panel an appropriate number of sessions depending on the number of papers they received and accepted. All sessions are 105 minutes long (we have allocated an extra 15 mins per session for delays in the online environment). Up to 4 papers=1 session, 5 to 8 papers=2 sessions, 9 to 12 papers=3 sessions. A handful of panels that received 20 or more papers were permitted to accept 16 papers (4 sessions). Most roundtables will run for one session. Most panels have two sessions (i.e a max of 8 papers) and delegates appear to enjoy this approach.

The conference organisers with various convenors have worked to rehouse the paper proposals marked as ‘transfer’. This process is now complete.

Editing your paper

Paper authors can use the login link in the toolbar above (the head icon) to edit their own details or their own proposals. Make sure your contact details are the way you’d like them to be presented, particularly name, title and institution as these are visible on panel pages and will eventually appear in the online platform as well.

Pre-circulation of papers

We do not require full papers submitted before the conference. In fact, the DSA has no rule about this but many convenors are keen to pre-circulate completed papers. To facilitate this and save on loads of email traffic, authors can upload a PDF of their paper within Cocoa, and it will then show as a downloadable file beneath their abstract on the public panel page on this site. It is your choice whether you instruct your presenters to make use of this.

Timing of presentations

How convenors allocate the time in their sessions is largely their decision and will depend on the session format. In a paper panel, the DSA norm is to allot each presenter a maximum of 20 minutes (for presentation and questions/discussion), usually 15 minutes to present and 5 minutes of Q&A. The key is to respect the fact that many presenters have spent considerable time and effort in order to be able to contribute their research and clearly need time to set out their argument.

Distribution of papers over sessions

No panel session should include more than 4 papers, but it can include fewer – this is up to the convenors to decide. For example, if the panel has received 7 papers, it can be split over two sessions as 4+3, but also as 3+4 etc. While the online panel pages do not indicate the session breaks, we will indicate these in the Whova platform programme. We therfore ask convenors, where possible, to stick to this distribution and order to allow people to join panels for specific papers if they wish.


Registration does not require instant payment but does indicate your commitment to attend the event. On registering, you will be sent an automated notification that your registration was received. We process your registration manually, getting back to you if there are any mistakes/questions, and emailing you an invoice with a payment information/link. You then have thirty days to pay. Once you have paid, the payment will be logged, and you will be emailed a receipt. So please do not put off registering just because you know your funding will arrive at a later date.

Communication between authors/convenors

Convenor/author email addresses are not shown on the panel pages for anti-spam and privacy reasons. However, there is an in-built secure email messaging system from the panel pages. If you cannot work that, please email us to obtain the relevant email addresses. You can also share via social media your panel or your paper from within the panel pages now.

Any queries with the above, please email [email protected]