Development Day 2021 - COVID 19-pandemic and development research

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COVID 19-pandemic and development research: Ways forward?

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Development Day 2021: Online Symposium

Time: Friday 12 February 2021 at 9.15 - 16.30 hrs GMT +2 (Helsinki, Finland time)

Venue: Online event

Organizer: Finnish Society for Development Research

Access: Participation is free of charge. You may support our work by becoming a member, or paying the membership fee for 2021 – thank you.

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The outbreak of COVID 19-pandemic has long-lasting and multiple consequences for the ways of living and acting in our global world. To say the least, it has laid open the already entrenched inequalities, injustices and vulnerabilities. For some, it has altered the meanings and practices of work, leisure, and travel as new digital technologies have enabled flexibility and easy adaptation. For some others, it has severely complicated their conditions of, and access to, work, livelihood and health services. It is clear that the pandemic is not only a crisis of health, but also a political, economic, social and environmental one. It has served as a ‘scapegoat’ for rising authoritarianism and population management, enforced the role of nation states and affected economies in the forms of rising debt, or downturn of remittances. The Development Day 2021 acknowledges that today’s emergencies manifested themselves already before the outbreak in various interrelated spheres, including economy, climate, health, social crisis, and racism. Further, the pandemic has articulated the interdependencies of different environments, humans and non-human animals, microbes, and technologies. In order to rethink these entanglements and to address the multi-faceted crises, we need to focus on their sources - and to find holistic and transformative responses.

Online symposium

With a view to the upcoming Nordic Development Research Conference (21.-22.6.2021) in Jyväskylä, Finland, the Development Day 2021 is organised as an online symposium for critical debate and discussion. It also marks the 35 years since the Finnish Society for Development Research was formally registered. The program consists of keynote panel discussion, two online sessions, and a closing discussion, and an annual Masters’ workshop on Thursday 11.2.2021.


9.15 Welcome Henri Onodera (Chair, Finnish Society for Development Research)

Opening words Anja Nygren (Professor, University of Helsinki)

9.30-12.00 Roundtable: Covid 19-pandemic and development research: Ways forward?

Speakers: Barry Gills (Professor, University of Helsinki), Bonn Juego (University Teacher, University of Jyväskylä), Tiina Kontinen (Associate Professor, University of Jyväskylä), Elina Oinas (Professor, University of Helsinki) & Gutu Wayessa (Grant Researcher, University of Helsinki)Moderator: Christopher Chagnon (PhD Candidate, University of Helsinki) and Ayonghe Akonwi (PhD Candidate, University of Lapland) This session asks: As the pre-pandemic era could already be characterized in terms of multiple crises and there is no return to it, what are the ways forward? How has the pandemic affected the practices of development research? What are the transformative potentials in terms of development research and practice, and the rearrangements of societies, environments, and economies? In this context, how can development be reimagined?

12.00-13.30 Lunch break

13.30-15.00 Parallel online sessions:

Session I: Covid 19-pandemic and development research

Moderator: Marjaana Jauhola (University Lecturer, University of Helsinki)

Call for interventions

The Covid 19-pandemic has implied multiple challenges for the ways in which development research could been conducted. It may have also implied new ways of research collaboration. This session offers an open forum sharing and discussing these experiences (either individual research or research project). Please express your wish to do so by sending an email to by 31.1. In the message, shortly explain the topic of your intervention. The interventions can be either a short speech (c. 5 minutes) or an anonymous letter, read by the moderator. Thank you!

Session II: Visions and ways forward for the post-pandemic future

Speakers: Maria Fernanda Gebara (Research activist and social anthropologist), Mary Menton (Research Fellow, University of Sussex), and Mathew Bukhi Mabele (Postdoc and Lecturer, University of Dodoma)

Moderator: Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen (Associate Research Professor (Jan. 2021-) and Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Natural Resources Institute Finland)

This session discusses the interlinked and rapid socio-ecological and human health related challenges as crises and as opportunities for transformative changes. The panelists will focus on three related topics, including: 1. Rethinking of human-nature relations: Indigenous ontologies and new becomings; 2. Just Transformations and Intersectional Decolonial Environmental Justice; and 3. Conviviality in the context of post-COVID and post-growth conservation.

For more information, click here.

15.30-16.30 Closing discussion

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Organizer Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR)

Organizer of Development Day 2021 - COVID 19-pandemic and development research

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