Politically Informed Practice

Values and Frames Theory in NGO Communications and Public Engagement

Institute Staff: Dr Tim Thornton, Thu-Trang Tran, Dr Linda Kelly

Collaborators: Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)

Funding: Institute  

Status: In progress

This project examines the recent interest in values and frames theory and its implications for Australian NGO's communications and public engagement strategies. The work has been intrigued by the research outcomes of 'finding frames' projects. The Institute has identified the need for an Australian perspective for this piece of work, as well as a need to further understand these findings in today's rapidly changing climate.  

This project will critically examine the assumptions underpinning driving the trend, with particular focus on the Australian context, the history of development education, and examples of 'what works' in NGO's public engagement that is consistent with the values framework.

Peace-building and Violence in Post-War Timor-Leste: The Politics of Resistance

Institute DRP Recipient: Dr Jasmine Westendorf

Collaborators: NA

Funding: Disciplinary Research Program 

Status: In progress

This project examines the peace process in post war Timor-Leste. The aim is to draw conclusions about how in future peace might be pursued more effectively in post war and conflict environments. Specifically, this project investigates why violence has remained so prevalent in the aftermath of the civil war, despite the concerted efforts to establish security and build peace post-independence.  International structures, organisational incentives, bureaucratic imperatives and the global peace-building culture are viewed as factors contributing to the perpetuation of what is considered technocratic models of peace-building. Characterised by a particular set of power relations, this model leaves little room for local responsiveness.

This action-research project will draw policy-relevant conclusions about how the international community can engage peace processes in order to effectively build more lasting peace and avoid contributing to the entrenchment of 'neither war, nor peace' situations.

Migrant Sensitive Health Systems in the Greater Mekong Region

Institute DRP Recipient: Dr Celia McMichael

Collaborators: NA

Funding: Disciplinary Research Program

Status: In Progress

The project aims to provide insights into the intersections between health and migration in Asia, including the institutional and policy arrangements that can support multi-sectoral partnerships and cross-border collaboration. Underpinning Celia's research is concern for the increasing rate at which migrants in Asia are settling. Asia is the locus of 40% of the global migrant labour force and it also hosts the largest number of refugees and displaced people in the world. As a result, the health of migrants sets to play a crucial role in public health challenges. Celia's research has particular geographic focus on the Greater Mekong Subregion (i.e. Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos). The project will explore opportunities and challenges for inclusive and participatory migrant sensitive health systems in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including participatory practices for developing culturally tailored population-based health programmes.

Using Action Research and Learning for Politically Informed Programming

Institute Staff: Associate Professor Chris Roche and Dr Michael O'Keefe

Collaborators: John T. Sidel, Heather Marquette, David Hudson and Niheer Dasandi

Funding: DLP

Status: In Progress

This project examined action-research projects being undertaken by the Pacific Leadership Program, the Coalitions for Change program in the Philippines, and DLP, in order to better understand how action-research can help build more politically informed development programs. Action-research combines theory and practice to support development practitioners to think and work politically to bring about positive change. It involves recurring constructive engagement with practitioners and it rigorously documents, contextualises and explains the processes and outcomes of programs as they unfold - and the resultant changes (or not). It aims to help development practitioners and their partners understand more clearly the contexts in which they are operating, the consequences of their practices and policy decisions, and how national and sub-national change is actually occurring.

For research papers, check out the DLP website.