The current DARG Committee is made up of:
Jessica Hope, Chair, University of Bristol
Gemma Sou, Secretary, University of Manchester
Raksha Pande, Treasurer, Newcastle University
Cordelia Freeman, Website and Social Media, University of Nottingham
Hannah Smith, Postgraduate Rep, Coventry University
Simon Malyon, Postgraduate Rep, Royal Holloway
Kavita Dattani, Postgraduate Rep, Queen Mary, London
Shreyashi Dasgupta, Postgraduate Rep, University of Cambridge
Aysegul Can, Committee Member, Istanbul Medeniyet University
Kate Maclean, Committee Member, Birkbeck
Matt Baillie Smith, Committee Member, Northumbria University
Sarah Jewitt, Committee Member, University of Nottingham
Committee Member Biographies
Jessica Hope– Chair Jessica is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Bristol, where she is researching how development is conceptualised and promoted in response to climate change – as the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 2015 Paris Agreement come into being. Specifically, she is investigating how social movement agendas are treated and included by international NGOs and how climate change/development politics in Latin America are represented to the Global North in ways that influence understandings of sustainability and change. She has just returned from 2 months of fieldwork in Bolivia, for an RGS funded project that examines reiterations of Sustainable Development, analysing the contours and limits of sustainability discourse through the ways that global development organisations work with social movements in Bolivia to acknowledge, include and address development and environment issues as key to sustainability. Jessica finished her PhD in 2015 and has since been a lecturer at the University of Cambridge and a Teaching Fellow at UCL. She has been on the DARG committee since doing her PhD.
Gemma Sou- Secretary Gemma is Lecturer in the Humanitarian and Conflict Response institute at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on postcolonialising disaster studies. In particular she is interested in the everyday lives and experiences of people living with disaster risk, as well as the policy-making processes of disaster risk management. Her research focuses in the Caribbean and cities in the global south. She also works on the media representations of human vulnerability, and am interested in the representational practises of alternative technologies.
Raksha Pande- Treasurer I am a lecturer in critical development studies at Newcastle University. My research interests are focused on the interface of social, political and development geographies. At a conceptual level, my interest lies in exploring the intersections between postcolonial and feminist approaches within geography. These theoretical concerns are grounded in empirical research in India and the UK. I am the DARG treasurer.
Cordelia Freeman- Website & Social Media I am a teaching associate at the University of Nottingham School of Geography. I have also lectured in cultural geography at the Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile. My PhD examined the history of violence on the Chile-Peru border with in an interest in how state development schemes have affected poverty and violence at the border. My role at DARG is to manage the twitter account, update the DARG website and to help organise undergraduate and postgraduate events.
Hannah Smith- PG Rep I am a PhD student in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, conducting research into the income-generation activities of community-based NGOs in The Gambia. I am interested in utilising a participatory approach to working with local NGOs to collate and share knowledge around best practice in both programme design and organisational management. Prior to beginning my PhD, I worked in university fundraising and was a Trustee of UK-based international development charity, Village Aid.
Kavita Dattani- PG Rep Kavita is a PhD student at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research looks at the role of digital technologies in the work-lives and non-work lives of low-income women in India. She has also completed an MSc in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London and an MRes in Global Development Futures at Queen Mary, University of London. Prior to beginning her PhD, Kavita worked in research and programme management roles in the international development sector for the Self Employed Women’s Association of India, Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group and The British Asian Trust. She is also a keen linguist and has spent two years in China studying intensive Chinese.
Shreyashi Dasgupta- PG Rep Shreyashi Dasgupta is the Jawaharlal Nehru Cambridge PhD scholar at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge. She also supervises undergraduates in the Department of Geography. Her current work concerns the transitory spaces in urban housing and examines the emerging forms and processes of temporary accommodation for low-income workers in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Mumbai (India). She has co-founded the Cambridge Urbanism in the Global South interdisciplinary working group. Prior to her PhD, Shreyashi has worked on a wide range of developmental issues that centered on water and sanitation, housing, land-use, spatial planning and urban governance in India. She is the incoming postgraduate representative for DARG
Simon Malyon- PG Rep I am currently in the third year of an ESRC funded PhD in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. My research is focused on the experiences of migrant workers in the platform sector (delivery work) in Beijing, China. The platform economy has grown rapidly in China yet fewer research outcomes have considered the working experiences and labour relations of those employed in this sector, and I am currently collaborating with Chinese researchers in undertaking fieldwork through networks developed on a Newton fund PhD grant. Outside of the PhD I have completed projects for Save the Children, the British Council and the Rights Practice and am a competent Mandarin speaker.
Aysegul Can Aysegul Can is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in Istanbul Medeniyet University. Her current research interests stem from her experiences as an urbanist in the last 10 years. She spent a lot of her time and effort in understanding changing world economy since the 1970s, what does that mean for Global South and North, and, in particular, how does these economic changes affect the changing processes of gentrification all around the world. She paid attention to processes of gentrification through private housing market and state-induced urban regeneration projects, transformation of the cultural identities of the neighbourhoods during these processes, the conflicts that may arise because of this transformation and how the inhabitants and local and national government handled this change in an ever-expanding city like Istanbul. Her most recent research interests beyond her PhD focuses on developing new theory and/or conceptualizations of affordable housing with a focus on informal settlements in Global Southern cities so as to counter the colonialism of Euro-American theory.
Kate Maclean I feel that my teaching and research fit very well with DARG’s profile, and I have the administrative experience to be able to fulfil the expectations of the role. Since completing my PhD in 2008, I have taught a variety of development courses at undergraduate and masters level. These have included courses on my particular focus – broadly ‘gender and development’ – as well as core courses on environment, development, and livelihoods. I have also taught methodology at MA level for students on development courses. My academic work is in the development context and I have published in both development journals as well as broader geography publications. Specific projects include microfinance in rural Bolivia, informal markets and the used clothes trade in El Alto, Bolivia, and urban regeneration and violence in Colombia. I have taken on a range of administrative roles, including Director of Undergraduate Studies at King’s and I am currently Director of the BSc Social Sciences at Birkbeck – the school’s largest degree. My experience in both research and teaching has given me a very clear idea of the specificities of development geography, and how this subject area sits within geography. In both my previous position (at King’s College London) and current position at Birkbeck, I have been active in clarifying the distinctiveness of the field of development geography and the specific needs of students and researchers in this area.
Matt Baillie Smith I am Professor of International Development at Northumbria University, and director of Northumbria’s Centre for International Development. Before becoming an academic, I worked as a development NGO practitioner. My research particularly focuses on the relationships between international citizenship and development, which I explore through work on areas including international volunteering, development education, NGO engagement strategies and activism. I have a particular interest in and commitment to linking critical development scholarship to wider public engagement and understanding, and this is an area of expertise I would particularly bring to the DARG committee. I am an advisor to the Global Learning Programme, a DfID funded development education programme of which the RGS is a consortium member, and have extensive links with NGOs, education organisations, activists and other organisations that work in this area. Through this expertise and interest, I would like to bring new connections and opportunities to DARG and the ways it can engage with communities beyond academia, as well as further enhancing DARG’s ongoing work in support of critical development scholarship, particularly amongst students and early career academics.
Sarah Jewitt I have research interests in rural development, agriculture, indigenous knowledge systems, gender, sanitation, energy, forest management and common property resources with a particular emphasis on South and Southeast Asia. Recent work in India has focused on decentralized rural energy, improved sanitation and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the Green Revolution while my work in Southeast Asia has focused primarily on the restoration of tropical peat swamp forests. Current work on barriers to the adoption to improved cookstoves in southern Africa is allowing me to expand my research interests into eastern and southern Africa.