Pre-Conference Workshops

Master’s workshop chaired by Teppo Eskelinen and Tiina Seppälä.

On Wednesday 27th February, Master’s students have an opportunity to present their thesis research and obtain feedback from senior scholars in a workshop setting. The theme of the Master’s workshop is open. Abstracts of maximum 250 words (in English) for the Master’s workshop should be sent directly to Tiina Seppälä (tiina.seppala[at] by 15 January 2019. Master’s students are also strongly encouraged to participate in conference Plenary sessions and Working Group sessions. Acceptance of abstracts for the Master’s workshop will be informed by 20 January 2019. Full papers, such as parts of thesis, of maximum 5,000 words should be sent to tiina.seppala[at] by 13 February 2019.

UniPID DocShop 2019: Staying with the Discipline?

UniPID DocNet organizes an annual UniPID DocShop for doctoral students and supervisors, but also other interested parties, to get together and discuss timely issues related to development research and the quality of PhD training.

Time: 27th February, at 9:00-12:00

Place: House of Science and Letters (Tieteidentalo), Room 309

The 2019 Docshop seeks to explore the pathways towards more transdiciplinarity in Development Studies. The meeting will reflect on the case for steering development studies towards better integration of feminist, transversal, intersectional and ecological perspectives; and towards the decoloniality of the field (inclusive of indigenous peoples epistemologies).

This year’s focus is particularly important because it would help to contemplate and potentially address some of the issues raised about the discipline among others, by advocates of ‘post development’. As is well-known, these issues include whether development studies provides compelling diagnosis of social problems, in what ways the discipline offers a sufficiently stimulating research, teaching, and advocacy pathways for students and, hence, whether to stay with the discipline. These questions demand urgent answers that are both diagnostic and prescriptive without being deterministic. Thus, the 2019 DocShop seeks to be both reflective and contemplative. As a field of study and praxis accustomed to looking out, this workshop breaks with tradition by emphasising looking in as a way to improving the capacity to look out.

Free to all – doctoral students, faculty, policy makers, and the general public, the workshop will last half a day. The introduction will set the tone for the day, paving the way for a second section of trouble shooting characterised by an active Q and A session. This leads to the third and final session on Decolonising methodologies, which highlights the case for ‘scientific’ methodologies, the critique of such elegant but irrelevant approaches, and the prospects for more holistic and transformational synthesis. The final session is based on reflections by all on the recent book by Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh on Decoloniality (Duke University Press, 2018). Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonising Methodologies (Zed Books, 1999) is an interesting additional reading. (Links to the readings provided below.)

The guest of honour at the workshop is Rosalba Icaza Garza, associate Professor in Global Politics, Gender and Diversity in the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. You can find her wider bio here:

The Workshop is organised by Professor Barry Gills and Associate Professor Franklin Obeng-Odoom, from the University of Helsinki, in collaboration with UniPID DocNet.

Workshop Registration by 20th February 2019 at:

If you are a doctoral candidate member of UniPID DocNet, travelling to the DocShop and Development Days from within Finland but outside of the metropolitan region, you can apply for a UniPID DocNet travel grant (max. 250 €) to cover your travel and accommodation costs during the conference. Deadline for applications is 13th February 2019. More details, criteria, and the application form here:

For general inquiries, contact: Franklin Obeng-Odoom, University of Helsinki, email:

For inquiries about travel grants, contact: Osku Haapasaari, UniPID, email:

Workshop Programme

9:00 – 9:15 am           Opening Remarks by Professor Barry Gills and a UniPID representative

9:15 – 10:15 am                 Trouble Shooting – Chaired by Rosalba Icaza Garza

10:15 – 10:30 am               Coffee break

10:30 – 11:50 am               Decolonising Methodologies

11:50 – 12 noon                Closing Remarks


Mignolo, Walter and Walsh, Catherine. 2018. Decoloniality. Duke University Press. The first chapter of the book is available here:

Tuhiwai Smith, Linda. 1999. Decolonising Methodologies. Zed Books. Available here:

CSO event: Systemic Alternatives to Unsustainable Development

A public seminar about systemic alternatives to mainstream development.

Worldwide, there is a search for radical, systemic alternatives to dominant structures of inequity, injustice, and unsustainability which have created multiple global crises. Several recent books (‘Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary’, ‘Alternatives in a World of Crisis’, ‘Alternative Futures: India Unshackled’, and ‘Systemic Alternatives’) are part of this search, providing cases, examples, concepts, and worldviews from across the world. Together they show that ‘another world’, or indeed multiple worlds of justice, are indeed possible. Editor of two of these books, activist-scholar Ashish Kothari, will deliver keynote speech in this seminar.

This event will also mark the launch of Siemenpuu Foundation’s dedicated website on systemic alternatives (in Finnish). The website will include several translated texts into Finnish from the forthcoming Pluriverse book (, as well as texts from other sources. Website design will be based on infographics from the Systemic Alternatives website:

(13:00 – 15:00 at the Stage)

13:00 Welcome and Introductions
– Aili Pyhälä, FSDR and University of Helsinki
– Marko Ulvila, Siemenpuu Foundation

13:10 Keynote
– Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh (India)

13:40 Panel Discussion
– Panelists to be confirmed

14:15 Open Forum
– Questions and comments

15:00 – 17:00 Refreshments and Meetings
– Gathering at the Think Lounge

– FSDR, Finnish Society for Development Research
– Development Studies, University of Helsinki
– Siemenpuu Foundation

– HELSUS, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science