Representation

Questioning representations of development.

Reframing the volunteer experience

“When you mention you volunteered abroad, people very wrongly start to treat you as if you were some kind of martyr… It’s also very hard to untangle your positive feelings about being overseas and the potential career benefits (these assignments do look great on CVs) from an assessment of the …

Stories are only magical if they make you (re)act

I was a kid who loved books deeply and stayed up late reading in bed with a flashlight.  While growing up, I became more and more convinced  that good stories have the ability to enhance understanding, empathy, to let the reader virtually live other lives, know places far away and …

Retelling Africa…starting from a tweet

In the summer of 2015 Siyanda Mohutsiwa, a 22-year-old Mathematics student based in Botswana, launched a tweet which was going to become viral: “If Africa was a bar, what would your country be drinking or doing?”. Siyanda started the ball rolling and the question soon became a hashtag (#IfAfricaWasABar) and …

The murky waters of UCT skepticism

Giving money with no strings attached is, obviously, in itself an interesting proposition, but it’s also one that raises a number of questions about the politics of development. Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCTs), which is the more formal term, challenges the way development has been working for the past… well, actually, …

Re:branding the Swedish image

Lately a fierce debate regarding the negative international representation/depiction of Sweden has dominated Swedish media. The negative reports on Sweden in international media started long before Trump´s “you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” speech in Florida two weeks ago (the latest news that put Sweden on the …

(Re)producing First World Brats?

One of my Erasmus friends grew up as the daughter of expat aid workers. Her parents had been working for a couple of organisations in different countries of  Central America for a few years. They went back to Spain when she was a pre-teen. I remember from the stories she told us her …

(Re)Presenting, the expat aid worker!

“The expat aid worker’s life revolves fairly evenly about four poles: Sending life-saving emails; attending life-saving coordination meetings; diarrhoea; and bouncing around in white Toyota Land Cruisers.” – Blogger MoreAltitute, Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like Cultured. Resilient. Compassionate. All qualities of an aid worker, right? Insert admirable trait here. This …

Re:thinking ‘the field’ – or just getting rid of it?

Development is a funny thing: an attempt at global solidarity, and yet, too often, a controversial case of Western hubris. Part of this tension can be found hidden in representations of development. A case in point is the continuing, and unfortunate, use of ‘the field’ in development speak. ‘The field’ …