News & Events

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The SDGs and Transformational Development: Critical Juncture or Passing Fad?'

The ACFID National Conference 2015 brought together world class speakers to explore what innovation truly means for sustainable development and how we can embed innovation into our organisational genetic make-up, our collaborative programming and policies, and our planning for the future.

DLP Political Settlements Workshop

In June, Chris Roche, Gillian Fletcher and Tait Brimacombe attended DLP's Political Settlements Workshop in Bangkok. The workshop brought together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to support and develop research and thinking about politics and institutional dynamics, and how to make this relevant for policy and practice. See here for more on the workshop.

Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice

In June, Chris Roche, Tait Brimacombe and Gillian Fletcher attended DLP's Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice meeting in Bangkok. The meeting focused on the importance of gender when thinking and working politically, and the link between thinking and working politically and gender approaches. See here and here for discussion on this topic.

University Network Conference C4D Event

In June, Tait Brimacombe, along with Valentina Bau from UNSW, hosted a seminar on communication for development (C4D) to share experiences, lessons learned and recommendations that could contribute to improved practice. See here and here for more information on this event.

Information and Communication Technologies in Melanesia

In April, Tait Brimacombe attended a two-day workshop, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Melanesia: Building a Research Community.  The workshop looked at the impacts of ICT and recent research in this fast-developing area.  Tait presented on a proposed research project that aims to explore the online experiences of young women in the Pacific, and the benefits and limitations of their participation in online platforms.

The workshop led to the successful establishment of a cross-disciplinary community of practice on the political and social impacts of new ICTs in Melanesia.

2015 Developmental Leadership Conference

In February, Chris Roche, Gillian Fletcher and Tait Brimacombe travelled to Birmingham to attend the 2015 Developmental Leadership Program Annual Conference. The conference, 'The Politics of Inequality', was hosted by the University of Birmingham, and welcomed over 120 delegates from around the world.

The conference brought together the latest thinking on the politics of redistribution, measuring inequality, empowerment and inequality, elites and inequality, and much more. The issue of inequality has recently been rediscovered by academics and policymakers, although the scope of much of the debate remains quite narrow. The conference aimed to widen the debate on these issues, with papers presented by a variety of delegates including representatives form Oxfam, GSDRC, DLP, Tax Justice Network, Womankind, and a range of academic institutions. Presentations from the conference and videos of key sessions are available on the DLP website.


Duncan Green seminars and workshop

In November Duncan Green, Oxfam Great Britain's senior strategic advisor, and visiting fellow at the Institute, guest lectured at La Trobe University. Duncan's seminars and workshop provided practical advice on how to ensure better links between research and practice, and suggested ways of improving practice in the development sector. Underpinning this advice was the intention to provoke attendees to think about progressive social change, and how it can be best supported given evidence based approaches and realistic considerations of development issues. The workshop aimed to provide a space where practitioners could engage in a meaningful yet challenging conversation about issues in the development sector.

The Institute hopes to continue building upon the ideas and issues raised during the seminars and workshop, and to create an ongoing conversation that generates progressive change for development practice.  Further discussion of some of the issues raised during the seminars can be found on our blog

La Trobe University's $1.3 million partnership with the Developmental Leadership Program

The Institute entered into a strategic partnership with the Developmental Leadership Program, a partnership between La Trobe University, the University of Birmingham and the University College London, which is funded by DFAT. As part of the partnership, La Trobe received $1.1 million over 3 years to further support action-research projects and program development with the DLP.

The DLP is a partnership of three leading universities: the Institute at La Trobe University, University College London, and the University of Birmingham, where the organisation is based.  This international research initiative explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development. 

In June we welcomed key DLP staff, Directors Dr Heather Marquette and Dr David Hudson, and Heather Lyne de Ver, Program Manager to La Trobe's Bundoora campus as part of the announcement and launch of the partnership.  The visit allowed the DLP to share some of their research findings with the Institute's network of researchers and practitioners, and to plan the DLP's future collaboration with the Institute.

Australia Leadership Awards Program – Reintegration workshop

In June Chris Roche, with support from DLP, ran a 'reintegration workshop' for Australia Awards Scholarship recipients as part of the Australia Leadership Awards Program.  The program is offered to scholarship recipients in addition to their scholarship. 

The workshop included a presentation on DLP research and findings; discussion on the degree to which they resonated with participants; and exploration of the ideas participants had about ideas they had about processes of social change they wished to explore on their return home. This was aligned to the theme of the annual Australia Leadership Awards conference which followed the workshop on 'Leadership in Four Dimensions: Business, Government, Community and Media'.

Masterclass with Asia Pacific Journalism Centre

The Asia Pacific Journalism Centre, the Institute and World Vision Australia held a three day masterclass in March as part of its International Development Journalism Fellowship.  The Institute led two days of the workshop, presenting on key development issues in Australia and Cambodia.

The masterclass provided a unique opportunity for journalists to develop skills for reporting on the international relief and development sector, and its increasingly important role in national politics and international relations. 

Inaugural Café Conversation lunch – Values and frames for NGO communications

The first spring session of Café Conversations was held at Shebeen Cafe in Melbourne. Mark Chenery and Angela Rutter led the discussion on the application of 'finding frames' research and values and frames theory to the practice of NGO communications and public engagement. 

The Institute is interested in how such communications can apply today, coming from an Australian perspective. This is part of the Institute's project examining how values and frames theory can help create new frames for NGO communications. The project aims to provide a degree of confidence and critical perspectives for NGOs to develop their communications strategies.


Big Push Forward

The Institute co-sponsored and co-organised the Politics of Evidence Conference with the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, United Kingdom, on 23 and 24 April 2013. This conference provided an opportunity for 100 participants (including those working on the ground, in head offices, in consultancies and research institutes) to share and "strategise for people working on transformative development, and who are trying to reconcile their understanding of messy, unpredictable and risky pathways of societal transformation with bureaucracy driven protocols". 

The participants saw "the wisdom in some aspects while actively questioning its less useful, sometimes damaging consequences". For the final report see The Politics of Evidence Conference Report.

Designing Development Futures

The Institute was one of the co-sponsors of the ACFID Annual Conference, Development Futures: Alternative Pathways to End Poverty (21–22 November 2013, Sydney), with the ACFID University Network. Over 250 participants took part in discussion and debate on a collective response to the increasing need for innovation, foresight and new approaches to end poverty.