Our research

Our group’s work focuses on a range of issues highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, from reaching gender equality and quality education for all to increasing access to healthcare and building strong institutions. While much of the group’s work is based in Low and Middle Income countries, their research looks to find new solutions and ways of understanding the world’s challenges that benefit all of us.

The Development research group takes a multi-disciplinary and multi-sector approach in all of its research, and their work is often practice-based and participatory to ensure that the research is shaped by and remains relevant to the different cultural and historical contexts of those they work with.

Key research questions include:

  1. What new types of understanding can arts and humanities research bring to the development agenda?
  2. What role do the arts and humanities play in a country’s development, and what is needed to support the growth of these sectors in different contexts?
  3. How might arts-based approaches allow for a more egalitarian approach to development, increasing the participation of local communities in key decision making and problem solving?
  4. How might the arts and humanities help individuals to articulate and process difficult pasts, and find new solutions for the future?

Impact and engagement

The Development research group is currently working with local communities, artists, NGOs, academics and policy makers in nine countries, from exploring how young refugees in Lebanon are using language to generating new societal narratives that are engaging with the nation’s difficult past and present, to asking how community filmmaking might help local communities in Nepal to identify and share more context-specific solutions to antibiotic resistance with policy makers.

The group works particularly closely with young people and the issues that affect them, from supporting intergenerational dialogue in Cambodia to supporting young South Africans to use participatory filmmaking methodologies to successfully campaign for more provisions in their children’s centres. The research group is also developing a number of inter-disciplinary, international networks to support, strengthen and champion the role of arts and humanities research in the development agenda, and has a growing database of open-access resources available to development professionals around the world.

Our expertise

Paul Cooke

Research Projects

Centre for New Chinese Writing

Soft Power, Cinema and the BRICS

Changing the Story: Building Inclusive Civil Societies with, and for, Young People in 5 Post-Conflict Countries

Community Arts Against Antibiotic Resistance in Nepal (CARAN)

Troubling the National Brand and Voicing Hidden Histories: Historical Drama as a tool for International Development and Community Empowerment

Using Digital Tools to Challenge Xenophobia and Support International Development in South Africa