Past Event

Revolutionising Development week

Revolutionising and Recasting Development – Building forward from the work of Robert Chambers

27 April 2022 12:30–14:30

IDS Convening Space and Zoom

Editors and contributors to the book Revolutionizing Development: Reflections on the work of Robert Chambers in a hybrid event to celebrate its re-launch in open access form and discuss its implications for the future of development and development studies.

Watch now

It is now a decade since the publication of Revolutionizing Development: Reflections on the work of Robert Chambers edited by Andrea Cornwall and Ian Scoones.

Read the book now (open access)

Robert’s work remains as relevant as ever, and indeed offers vital insights into themes and challenges that have become even more significant in recent years. These include shifts in the politics of knowledge, truth and trust in a world of deep uncertainties and digitalised information; intensifying complexities as climate, environmental, health and economic shocks and stresses unfold across the world, and heightened inequities and forms of marginalisation in fractured societies and fragile democracies. Covid-19 has starkly revealed such challenges and more, and their relevance, in some form or another, to everyone, everywhere.

We are now at a moment of important reflection about ‘re-casting development’, challenging ways of thinking and acting that are no longer fit for purpose, and fostering positive transformations for the future. In this, Robert’s approaches – people-centred, revolutionary – can offer vital ideas and hope.

Revolutionizing Development has now been re-published by Routledge and is fully open access. It also contains a new foreword by IDS Director, Melissa Leach.

This special event relaunched the book and discussed its implications. In a forward-looking spirit, the editors and many of the original contributors reflected on the current relevance of Robert’s contributions in their particular area, and how this needs to be built on for the future. Following initial inputs in-person and online, we will opened up the discussion, aiming to chart new possibilities for a re-cast development and development studies.

Ian Scoones, Melissa Leach and Robert Chambers sit at a table in the IDS Convening Space, with a screen behind them with online speakers.
Ian Scoones, Melissa Leach and Robert Chambers speaking at the seminar.

Chaired by

  • Melissa Leach, Director, IDS
  • Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow, IDS

Event order

12.30: Welcome and opening remarks

  • Andrea Cornwall, Research Director, School of Oriental and African Studies and Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow, IDS – Revolutionizing Development and its re-launch
  • Melissa Leach, Director, IDS – Re-casting development – why now, and the relevance of Robert’s work

12.45:  Development revolutions in and beyond rural worlds

  • Richard Jolly, Research Associate, IDS – development studies
  • John Harriss – village studies
  • Ravi Kanbur – understanding poverty and well being
  • David Leonard – administration, management and participation
  • Barbara Harriss White – markets and technology in the green revolution in India
  • Norman Uphoff – community participation
  • Stephen Devereux, Research Fellow, IDS – vulnerability
  • Richard Longhurst, Research Associate, IDS – seasonality

13.10: Discussion

13.25: Methodological revolutions in participation and beyond

Two minute contributions (in person, online and pre-recorded) reflecting on the relevance of Robert’s contributions, and implications for the future

  • John Thompson, Research Fellow, IDS – from RRA to PRA to PLA and beyond
  • Andrea Cornwall, Research Director, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Ramesh Singh – development in action
  • Meera Shah and Parmesh Shah – the spread of participatory rural appraisal
  • Louise Fortmann – participatory methods and natural resource management
  • Sam Joseph – attitudinal and behaviour change
  • Ros David and Antonella Mancini – participatory monitoring and evaluation
  • Sammy Musyoki – networking
  • John Gaventa, Research Fellow, IDS – power and participation

13.50: Discussion

14.05: Looking forward – further reflections from contributors

14.20:  Final remarks – with Robert Chambers, Research Associate, IDS plus Andrea Cornwall, Ian Scoones and Melissa Leach

14.30:  Close.

Key contacts

Gary Edwards

Senior Marketing and Data Protection Officer

+ 44 (0)1273 915637


Related content