Winter course: Development in Theory and Practice

New course likely of interest to IDRN members…


*New course, Term 2, IAR 515, Development in Theory and Practice, Wednesdays 2-5pm, CK Choi Building, Room 120*

Curious about how international development works at the grassroots level? And how it doesn’t work? About how international organizations and local communities find common ground in their definitions of “progress”? How inequalities are addressed and exacerbated through the process of delivering “aid”? How states, the private sector, and NGOs work together to develop shared agendas? How social science can help us understand these complex dynamics?

IAR 515, Development in Theory and Practice, is a new course that explores these questions from a critical social science perspective. Taught by UBC anthropologist Sara Shneiderman, the course considers a range of theories and ethnographic case studies of specific development projects. The course focuses on Asian case studies (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, China (Tibet), Indonesia), but has a global scope, with readings also addressing Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates with previous relevant experience, this will be a small once-a-week seminar shaped by in-depth student participation. Undergraduates must meet the following criteria: “Students must have completed at least 75% (normally equivalent to 36 credits) of the 300 and 400 level courses required for their bachelor degree, and must have a minimum overall average of 76% (B+) in their completed 300 and 400 level courses.”

*All students who wish to register must email for assistance*.

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Introducing IDRN’s Field Debrief Series – Nov. 26th

The Liu Institute for Global Issues and the International Development Research Network (IDRN) present:

Field Debrief and Brown Bag Lunch:

A discussion on conducting fieldwork in challenging locations

Are you preparing for fieldwork in a remote or otherwise challenging location and interested in hearing from fellow grad students that have been in your shoes?  Or maybe you’ve recently returned and would like to share your own experiences?  Bring your lunch and join graduate students Sean Kearney and Sam Cantor as they lead the discussion, drawing on challenges and insights from their recent international fieldwork.

Thursday, November 26, 2015 from 12:00 – 1:00pm  

Liu Institute, Research Unit One (Main Floor, off the lobby), UBC

IMG_3023.JPGCredit: Sean Kearney

Description of event and discussion leaders

Sean Kearney is a PhD candidate in Soil Science in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.  Sean will discuss some of the lessons he has learned over the years conducting research with smallholder farming communities in El Salvador and Uganda. Sean’s current research focuses on evaluating environmentally sound farming alternatives and their ability to provide food and income for subsistence farmers in less-developed countries.

Samuel Cantor is an MSc Candidate in Geology, working with the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU).  Sam’s research looks at stable isotope alteration in carbonate rocks as a deposit vectoring tool. The focus of his most recent research is on a lead-zinc mine in the Peruvian Andes.  He will focus primarily on his recent 24-day trip to the mine in August, but will also touch on his two years working in Nicaragua for a greenfields gold exploration project.



No need to RSVP, just show up!

This event is open to anyone interested, feel free to bring your lunch.

Questions?  Contact Sean Kearney at


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International Roundtable on Artisanal Gold Mining (Dec 1-3)

IDRN is pleased to be a part of the upcoming International Roundtable on Artisanal Gold Mining (AGM) being hosted at UBC Dec 1-3. Interdisciplinary experts and emerging scholars from around the world will be participating in the 3 day event.

AGM supports 15-20 million livelihoods worldwide, with up to ten times that number of indirect dependents. Overall, artisanal miners operate in over 80 countries, accounting for 12-15% of global mineral production.Consequently, AGM has received a low proportion of development aid relative to its contribution to local livelihoods. Recognition of the sector’s connection to poverty alleviation and conflict mitigation between artisanal miners and large-scale mining companies has rapidly increased in the last decade.

With the recent adoption of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013 that calls for the reduction in mercury use in gold mining, the global community urgently requires solutions to advance, sustain and support artisanal miners and their families, but must also consider development perspectives beyond issues associated with mercury use.The expected outcome of the roundtable is to advance knowledge on artisanal mining through a high-level interdisciplinary platform seeking to address these complex global challenges, propose solutions through collaboration and enhance coordination between UBC and international scholars, donors, and UN agencies in the area of artisanal gold mining.

See the Roundtable website for more information or Facebook page.

Lucky for us, the final reception at the Museum of Anthropology is open to the public, so we hope to see you there!




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Nov 12: IDRN Recrutiment Meeting

IDRN Recruitment Nov 2015

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Panelists confirmed for IDRN Annual Event 2015

Check out the panel members we have coming to our April 1st networking night! We will be hearing from representatives of MSF, OXFAM, VIDEA, and UBC’s Institute of Mining Engineering.

IDRN Panelists FINAL-page-001



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IDRN Annual Event 2015


Join us for another excellent networking night to promote collaboration and dialogue between students, researchers and practitioners engaged in development work. This free event will feature a keynote talk by Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director of Food First, networking opportunities with Vancouver-based NGOs and consulting firms, and a panel of critical multi- and interdisciplinary views on international development and development education.

Don’t forget to RSVP on EventBrite!

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March 3: Photojournalist Paul Watson @ the Liu Institute

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Please RSVP!

Film Trailer here:

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IDRN Open House! Wed. Nov 6, 419 AERL 11:30am-1:30pm

The International Development Research Network (IDRN)


IDRN Annual Open House

Check us out on Vimeo:


Join us to learn more about this year’s activities and ways you can get involved!

Wed., Nov 6th, 11:30am-1:30pmRm 419, AERL, 2202 Main Mall

(next to the Blue Whale skeleton)


This open house meeting is an opportunity to learn about IDRN, its goals, mission and vision, and ways to get involved. Your involvement can take any form, including spearheading an initiative that you are passionate about. This open house is also an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about international development on campus, both in research and practice. We would love to hear your feedback and ideas! Please join us at 11:30 for general introductions, followed by a presentation by IDRN core members  and an open discussion.  This meeting is open to all graduate students at UBC.


Please RSVP if you plan to attend – attendance is free


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Opening Reception for DIY: A collection of video works by My Name is Scot – Oct. 16, 2013 at 4:00-6:00pm

Join us for a reception in honour of DIY
4-6pm, Wednesday, Oct.16th, 2013 at the Lobby Gallery

**Please RSVP to if possible**

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