About a year ago, I sat down with my Colleague Jo Sharp to brainstorm a way to collaborate across different ways of doing international development research, motivated with the contention that the approaches we encounter very often assume the worldview of the northern partners.
Our experience shows that even work that is well-intentioned emerges from inequalities: due to the structures and infrastructures that supply our salaries and support our capacities, the different access to resources available to partners, and even the expectations of what each considered appropriate work for the project.
Rather than sit and moan or critique, and rather than concoct another project, we decided to explore and articulate some of the lessons and principles that we’d been fortunate enough to encounter about partnerships and collaborations over the past years with international colleagues.
The Critical Resource for Ethical International Partnerships is the result of a week-long workshop hosted by the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, attended by colleagues from Uganda, Botswana, Italy, Malawi, Canada, Bangladesh, and Scotland. Drawing on experiences of international, interdisciplinary and cross sector projects we explored the processes that had led us to the work, our expectations of project formation and conceptualisation, the day-to-day practicalities of the doing of the project, and the ways in which project outcomes were managed and prioritised.
What became paramount across our discussions was the importance of openness and reflexivity – to difference, to our own expectations and hopes, to the range and realities of contexts from which partners came to participate from.
The Critical Resource seeks to offer some nudges, provocations, and guidance to those either well practiced or starting out with new partnerships, to help promote the importance of reflexivity and honesty with one another in the context of international development related research.
By Dr Mia Perry, Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and Co-Director at Sustainable Futures in Africa: https://sustainablefuturesinafrica.com/
Check out the resource on the reources section of our website, or externally here:
Oitshepile MmaB Modise