Welcome to Development Studies Association
The Development Studies Association is the UK's learned society and professional body for academic teaching and research, policy and practice in the field of international development.
While the annual conference is a principal focus for the association, the DSA is active throughout the year through its many Study Groups. All those involved in development whether as teachers, researchers, consultants or practitioners, are welcome to join both the Study Groups and the DSA itself.
For all the DSA members' news visit our new set of News pages.
Thought for the Month
As our annual conference approaches – albeit in a totally new form this year – our student representative on the Council Amal Chammas reflects on how involvement in DSA, and the conference, has helped her development as an academic.
I have been working in the development sector for more than 15 years before I decided to venture in research and start a PhD study program away from home. As you might have guessed, I am surely a life-long learning believer and promoter. In fact, my contributions as a practitioner have been all around building capacities and facilitating learning for a better world. And this is what I think DSA is all about.
Being part of a network where members share your wishes for a developed world with less poverty and more justice is one way to support you in your strategy to make that difference. Isn’t this making that specific change and maybe more that directed you towards Development Studies? It is for me.
During the first DSA conference I attended, because it was conveniently close to where I live, I met some nice people and learned a lot about this new world of Academia that I was venturing in. I also met other practitioners who were looking for information and connections that can make their contributions more effective.
And when I asked for support, I found it. I had members, I just met once, discussing useful articles for my research and sparing time to meet me and to provide me with the guidance I needed. Maybe for them this was a casual chat or a quick email reply, but for me it was a great help.
There are many ways one can benefit from the conference other than just meeting amazing people. Learning ways to appreciate the variety of disciplines and also the different opinions, even when they are radically against yours, can be a good start for building the capacity of a future development practitioner and even a researcher or a teacher in higher education.
Exchanging views in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment is certainly a task for which one needs to get well equipped for, and practice leads closer to perfect. Listening to how other Postgraduate students or early researchers are struggling can prompt new ideas that will help you redesign your strategy to avoid their pitfalls. Stories about their successful journeys help boost your morale and strengthen your self-confidence. These are just few advantages you need to acquire no matter where you are heading towards in your career, and specifically rewarding for the development sector.
It’s time to start digging to find your own ways to become more involved in the DSA community.
This year, we find ourselves in a very different world and our conference, too, will need to reflect the “new normal”. We’re moving online and hoping to recreate opportunities for learning from and connecting with each other in a new virtual space. We hope that students, as much as anyone else, will be a part of this, and perhaps by reducing the need to travel and find accommodation more students than ever will feel able to participate. We will also be looking for ways to use the conference platform to create networking spaces, where you can connect with other students and share your feedback with DSA. In the meantime, please feel free to communicate with us using the dedicated email address: students(at)devstud.org.uk
DSA Council member
York St. John University