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Civil Society, Democracy and Development Research Cluster launch

Wednesday 22 June 2016

The Cluster aims to establish a collaborative network of academic/intellectual capacity to engage with the themes of civil society, democracy and development and how they intersect. Our focus is not simply the day-to-day practice of large and small NGOs – although those in themselves raise urgent questions around the nature and meaning of both democracy and development. The Cluster will be interested, too, in identifying the broader theoretical foundations of what these terminologies symbolise and the implications of their deployment in service of (often contradictory) goals of economic development, human need and social justice.

The Cluster will draw on the interdisciplinary expertise of colleagues in its host School, Politics and International Studies (POLIS), and the Centre for Global Development (CGD) at the University of Leeds. It will seek to recognise, network with and, ultimately, to strengthen academic-practitioner links.


The Research Cluster will be established with a book launch and networking event taking place at the University of Leeds:

Wednesday 22 June 


Fairbairn House Main Building Upper Chapel LR (1.04a)

The programme will begin with the launch of Negotiating Knowledge: Evidence and Experience in Development NGOs, a new edited collection published by Practical Action Publishing Limited. The discussion will be led by its editors: Rachel Hayman – INTRAC; Sophie King -UPRISE | School of the Built Environment, University of Salford; Tiina Kontinen - Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä; and Lata Narayanaswamy – POLIS/CGD, University of Leeds. This edited collection represents an academic-practitioner collaboration, drawing together critical analysis and lessons for practice on the relationship between the growing pressure by a range of development stakeholders to underpin practice with evidence.

The book launch will be followed by lunch and then a World Café style networking event to explore how we might promote more academic-practitioner collaboration, taking into account critical reflections on the key themes of the book and other issues raised by participants.