Knowledge Production in the Global South: launching the (Silent) Voices: Bukavu Expo

Hosted by the Conflict Research Programme at LSE IDEAS and the Governance in Conflict Network at Ghent Univers

Online public event, United Kingdom


Dr Emery Mudinga

Dr Emery Mudinga

Director of Angaza Institute and Associate Professor at ISDR-Bukavu

Irène Bahati

Irène Bahati

Researcher at the Study Group on Conflict and Human Security

Dr Devon E A Curtis

Dr Devon E A Curtis

Discussant | Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge


Dr Nimesh Dhungana

Dr Nimesh Dhungana

LSE Fellow, Department of Methodology

This event explores North-South research collaborations, discussing how to overcome the erasure of local voices in the production of knowledge across academia. The event will also launch the (Silent) Voices: Bukavu Expo, an online exhibition illustrating the difficulties faced by Congolese researchers when conducting fieldwork in conflict settings.

Undergoing research in conflict-affected sites is a hard task to endure, especially as a local researcher in the field. From experiences told through blog articles by researchers in Bukavu, eastern DRC the (Silent) Voices: Bukavu Expo highlights the difficulties of navigating a conflict landscape. As a researcher you are treated as a mere data collector, accused of espionage, of being a sell-out to your local community or - particularly for women - as a sex worker. What provisions are in place if you get attacked or kidnapped – who will pay your ransom? These are but some of the issues presented in the Bukavu Expo. 

Through the medium of cartoons drawn by Congolese artist Tembo Kash, the exhibition illustrates these ethical issues, highlighting the all too banal 'silencing' of Global South researchers in the research design, duty of care and the publication process; issues often overlooked by their Global North counterparts. 

Start the tour.

Dr Emery Mudinga (@EmeryMudinga) is the Director of Angaza Institute and Associate Professor at Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural, Bukavu (ISDR-Bukavu). Emery is one of the contributing researchers to the Bukavu Series writing the blog 'We Barely Know These Researchers from the South! Reflections on Problematic Assumptions about Local Research Collaborators'.

Irène Bahati (@IreneBahati8) is a Congolese researcher at the Study Group on Conflict and Human Security and Teacher at the Higher Pedagogical Institute of Bukavu. Her research focuses on human security for women and children, taxation and the informal economy in cross-border trade, and the socio-economic study of human movements in the Great Lakes Region. Irène is one of the contributing authors to the Bukavu Series, writing the blog 'The challenges facing female researchers in conflict settings' and co-authoring 'When the room is laughing: from female researcher to researcher-prostitute'.

Devon E. A. Curtis is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. Her main publications focus on international peacebuilding and state-building in Africa, power-sharing and governance arrangements following conflict, and non-state armed movements in Africa. Her field research concentrates on the Great Lakes region of Africa, especially Burundi. Previously, Devon worked for the Canadian government and the United Nations Staff College. 

Dr Nimesh Dhungana (@NimeshDhungana) is an LSE Fellow in the Departments of Methodology and International Development at LSE, where he teaches a course on Fundamentals of Research Design for International Development students. His research examines politics of disasters and development, with a focus on participatory and accountable governance of disasters. He is also interested in epistemological and ethical dimensions of, and power dynamics in doing research in post-disaster and disadvantaged settings.

Twitter hashtag: #BukavuSeries

About the Hosts

The Bukavu Series online exhibition explores the power dynamics between researchers from the Global North and the Global South. The Series is a visual extension of the Silent Voices Blog: Bukavu Series, which discusses how knowledge is produced across academia and the ethical issues that arise from conducting research in conflict sites. This series is the outcome of a collaboration between Angaza Institute, the Groupe d’Etudes sur les Conflits/Sécurité Humanitaire (GEC-SH), Juwa (UCL) and the Conflict Research Group (Ghent University), and is hosted by the Governance in Conflict Network (GIC).

This online exhibition is an initiative led by the Conflict Research Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Governance in Conflict Network. The exhibition received funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Ghent University through the Conflict Research Programme, with additional translation support from the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the LSE.

The Conflict Research Programme (CRP) is a four year research programme funded by the FCDO and hosted by LSE IDEAS at the LSE. Our goal is to understand and analyse the nature of contemporary conflict and to identify international interventions that ‘work’ in the sense of reducing violence or contributing more broadly to the security of individuals and communities who experience conflict. We work in five countries: DR Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Iraq and Syria.

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it. 

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Twitter hashtag: #BukavuSeries

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