In this post, Richard Kweitsu, a Research Intern with GSDRC, reports on the Researching Africa Conference hosted by the International Development Department in collaboration with the Department for the Study of African Studies and Anthropology, that was held on September 20, 2017.
African Studies remains one of the most varied and dynamic areas of academia. Researching on various aspects of Africa’s development has captured the attention of several scholars over the past decades and continuous to attract more researchers. In an attempt to share contemporary research on Africa, scholars and aspiring researchers within the Midlands converged at the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department for the maiden edition of the researching Africa day conference on September 20, 2017. The conference featured presentations around four thematic areas: Exploring African Agency; Tackling the SDGs in Africa; Interdisciplinary in Africanist Research: a case study of the ASAP-EAST project; and, Gender and Identity in Africa.
Overall, the papers presented at the conference highlighted the diversity of knowledge on Africa. For instance, while highlighting some challenges within the themes mentioned above, the papers presented also expressed optimism and in some cases shared stories of some programs that are working effectively and needed to be implemented elsewhere. For example, the presentation on “Second chance education in conflict and post conflict societies” highlighted the efforts by government and NGOs in working together to make education accessible to children whose educational development has been truncated by conflict. The evidence presented on the effectiveness of this program in Northern Uganda and Rwanda is in line with MDG and SDG goals of achieving universal enrolment and quality education- clearly, this is worth emulating in other conflict and post-conflict environments. The conference also showcased the vibrancy of research on themes related to Africa. This was manifested in the enthusiasm and willingness of the African studies scholars within the Midlands to cooperate and coordinate in undertaking research in future.
The conference ended with a resolution to form the “Midlands African Studies Hub (MASH)”. For more information on MASH and how to sign up, please visit: http://democracyinafrica.org/launching-midlands-african-studies-hub/
Click on the link below to download the full report summarizing all presentations at the Researching Africa Day Conference.