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This workshop aims to examine the practicalities of creating just and sustainable futures through faith-sensitive creative and decolonised research and learning. It will do this through sharing specific methods and approaches aimed at localising and decolonising faith and development spaces.
There is a renewed interest in academic debates and practical/policy-focused work on how to create just and equitable sustainable futures, in the context of an increasingly urbanising and mobile world, shaped by a climate and ecological crisis, rising inequalities, persisting racism, and a global pandemic. There is also a growing body of evidence on good practices in collaborations of secular and religious actors in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding spaces.
This workshop aims to bring these two areas of focus together by examining the practicalities of creating just sustainable futures through faith-sensitive creative and decolonised research and learning in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding. Moving beyond a mere exploration of the need to bring together debates on faith, development and decolonisation (the ‘why’), we provide a space to share specific methods and approaches (the ‘how’) aimed at localising and decolonising faith and development spaces.
The workshop is co-hosted by the DSA Religions and Development Study Group and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), an international collaboration of researchers, practitioners and policymakers, who develop and disseminate evidence on faith actors’ contributions to development, humanitarian action and peacebuilding.
We are particularly interested in contributions (by researchers, practitioners, policymakers and local faith actors) that explore the following questions:
- How do we challenge standard MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) and research processes in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding?
- How do we develop approaches with/as local faith actors that are faith-sensitive, creative, decolonised, locally-led, center the experiences of local faith actors, and shift power, leadership and resources from the international to the local/regional level?
- What insights can be gained from specific initiatives and contexts? To what extent are these transferable?
- What role is there for practices such as capacity-sharing, collective learning platforms and arts-based methods?
- How can we address ethical issues when doing such work?
Methodology: We envision the workshop as an interactive (80 minutes) space for researchers, practitioners and policymakers and local faith actors to share their practical experience in designing and implementing faith-sensitive, creative and decolonised research and learning (including Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) methods and approaches in development, humanitarian action and peacebuilding spaces. Speakers will be encouraged to use a picture from their work as a prompt to share their experiences in brief three minute interventions. Each speaker will be paired with a discussant from a different background (e.g. researcher/practitioner; academic/NGO researcher; work experience in secular/faith-based organisation; work with local/international organisation; based in Global South/Global North) who will respond (in three minutes) to the speaker's intervention with a focus on perceived and actual differences and commonalities of their experiences. This will be followed by an open discussion, culminating in the formulation of questions for further inquiry.
We will use the time for an interactive discussion that stretches across both sessions, so all participants will be involved across both sessions.