Showing posts from January, 2011

Should I consider a PhD in International Development Studies?

After the Economist’s piece on the (non-)value of doing a PhD and some comments later (e.g. Prometheus doesn't read the Economist (I like the slightly cynical dichotomy between ‘civilians’ and the ‘academic insiders) or the ' 100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School ' (they are only halfway through so check it out regularly in the future...) I had an interesting conversation with a prospective PhD student a few days ago. This was not the first time that I had been approached about doing a PhD and I always try to be as frank as possible, even playing the ‘devil’s advocate’ when it comes to the complicated ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ decision-making process. At the end of our conversation I sat down and tried to summarize a few important and generic points from the point of view of doing a PhD in Development Studies and in the UK . I understand that every case is different and involves a range of motives, options and rationales, but there a few important questions and t

MA Participation, Power and Social Change at IDS: Linking practice, theory and reflection

The IDS MAP is a unique programme combining action-research and reflective practice with more traditional elements of a one-year postgraduate programme.  It is likely to be a small (~15 participants) course with excellent possibilities for sharing, learning and networking. Subject to university approval, the fees should be the same as for other IDS MA programmes, i.e. around £11,000. Feel free to contact Angela Dowman or myself if you need further information. 'This MA allows me to put theory into practice on a daily basis. I have experienced a paradigm shift in my career.' Tamara, USA, student 2008 IDS is actively recruiting now for the next intake of the MA in Participation, Power and Social Change at IDS (starting in October 2011). MAP is a unique 18-month programme providing experienced development workers and social activists with the opportunity to critically reflect on their practice and develop their knowledge and skills while continuing to work or volunteer for

Stuff expat aid workers like: Looking down on academics

Unfortunately, 'Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like' editorial policy states that only 'actual aidworkers' can submit contributions and this excludes me from publishing my contribution on their blog, but I still think that the relationship between aidworkers and academics is a very suitable topic.   Among the many unique features of expat aidworkers is that they know everything about the country they are working in. 'Everything' often meaning all the nitty-gritty political gossips that emerge every day about, say, the new minister of health, the president’s daughter or that really big aid project by that really important donor agency. Throw in some local gossip told by the driver and most expat aid workers could well be journalists, country experts – or academics.  Although most aid workers have a range of qualifications from a range of universities, they like to nurture the idea of out-of-touch academics sitting in their cosy ivory towers. Many still ho