Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Dept seminar with Benjamin Selwyn and Mark Duffield

What a night; it was fantastic to see the lecture theatre completely packed out. Ben Selwyn, a former PhD student in the department was presenting his new book "The struggle for development" with Mark Duffield and me as respondents.

We took three very different approaches to the discussion. Ben's book focuses on the relationship between capital and labour and the ways of envisaging a future in which the working classes escape their exploitation through radical democracy and participatory economics. Mark presented his work on precarity and the way in which the experiments being carried out on the Global South are foreshadowing the future for the Global North. I took the example of Congo and asked about how people who have been made redundant to a globalised market find ways of changing their lives and life opportunities, despite the constraints they face.

Photo by Jai Bhatia

Photo by Jai Bhatia

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Development and Conflict Summer School announced

News - our annual Development and Conflict Summer School has just been announced. This year it will be led by Joshua Rogers, who lectures on our core course and specialises in analysis of the conflict in Yemen. Full details of the summer school can be found here:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Alumni panel

We had a great alumni panel last night with four former students from across the department presenting their experiences up to and after studying at SOAS. Their paths were very different: one working with a UK NGO, one writing a PhD, one working in micro-finance, and one in the humanitarian sphere. They all gave engaging accounts of how they have found their career paths and gave excellent advice on identifying organisations to work with, getting an entry point and negotiating into exciting and fulfilling posts.
It is impossible to summarise the advice given, but it was fantastically refreshing to see such enthusiasm and success. Key elements are persistence, patience and vision of where you want to go.
As convenor it is really heartening to see former students doing so well and working in organisations that use their VCD skills and do great work.

Molly Blackburn, Matt Juden, Graham Wrigley and David Jones

Friday, 2 February 2018

FAQs from prospective candidates

Frequently asked questions

I have been talking to a number of MSc VCD offer holders; here are some of the questions that come up, and some of my answers :)

  • Are there scholarships?

All scholarships can be found here:

Details of scholarships are released throughout the year, so it is worth checking from time to time.
  • Can I work at the same time as studying?

If your visa permits (or if you do not need a visa) you can work whilst studying. Many students take on a few hours of work a week; if you do this, you will need to organise it round your study schedule. If you need to work more you should study part time.
  • Is there preparation before the course?

There are a few books listed on the website that will orient you with the sorts of debates and perspectives of the course. It is also possible to sign up for your module choices once you have registered, and the earlier you do that, the higher the chance that you will get your first choice modules.
  • What is the time frame for dissertation?
The dissertation proposal is handed in at the end of January. Students are then allocated to a supervisor and work with them until the end of June. July and August are for independent research and writing, and the dissertation is due in early September.

  • Can I learn a language?

You can take a language as part of your MSc (as a module); you can take an evening class, which is not assessed for your MSc (and is charged separately); or you can take a language in term 2 as part of the Language Entitlement Programme.

Alumni Panel on 7 Feb, 6-8pm

On 7 February we will be hosting an Alumni Panel. This is a great opportunity to connect with alumni and hear what they have been up to since leaving SOAS. I'm especially pleased to see that Molly Blackburn, who studied VCD in 2016/15, is on the panel. She is now working for Victim Support and will be reflecting on her studies and career.

State-sanctioned sexual violence against women in the Egyptian revolution

Following from last week's post, this is another video submitted as a piece of group work by some of last year's MSc VCD students....