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Rosemary McGee

Research Fellow

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist trained in development studies and co-leader of the IDS Power and Popular Politics research cluster. My work focuses on accountability, transparency and openness in governance; the use of technologies in governance; power relations and citizen engagement, including in contexts of fragility and violence; and the role of critical reflective learning in social and organisational change.

Coming from a background in NGO advocacy, in my IDS role I have undertaken advisory and consultancy work for official bilateral, philanthropic and non-government aid organisations, applied qualitative and participatory research and research management, as well as post-graduate teaching and facilitation of practitioner learning.

I teach on the above subjects and on action research methodology in the context of IDS’s MA in Power, Participation and Social Change, and mentor students undertaking action research and action learning projects. I’m interested in supervising PhDs in these subject areas. I serve as IDS’s Convenor of Professional Development and Learning, supporting colleagues across the Institute who facilitate learning among professionals and practitioners of development aid and social change in a range of organisational settings and thematic areas.

Currently I coordinate an action research initiative for the International Budget Partnership‘s SPARK programme. In recent years my work has included coordinating the Research, Evidence and Learning component of Making All Voices Count; conducting action research on Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency with human rights defenders and social activists in Colombia; and monitoring, evaluating and supporting learning in the Diálogo (Democratic Governance Support) programme in Mozambique.

An advisor to the Accountability Research Centre at American University, Washington DC, I have also served on the International Experts Panel of the Independent Reporting Mechanism of the Open Government Partnership.

I’m co-editing a book on ‘Power, Empowerment and Social Change’ with Jethro Pettit, to be published in 2019.

Google Scholar



Countering Backlash: Reclaiming Gender Justice

Global progress on gender equality is under threat. We are living in an age where major political and social shifts are resulting in new forces that are visibly pushing back to reverse the many gains made for women’s rights and to shrink civic space. This patriarchal backlash is escalating...


Learning with SPARK

Learning with SPARK is an innovative action learning partnership between the Institute of Development Studies, the Accountability Research Center and the International Budget Partnership (IBP). It aims to generate knowledge from a significant new programme run by the IBP – called SPARK...




Power, Empowerment and Social Change

This book uncovers how power operates around the world, and how it can be resisted or transformed through empowered collective action and social leadership. The stakes have never been higher. Recent years have seen a rapid escalation of inequalities, the rise of new global powers and corporate...

8 November 2019

Rosemary McGee’s recent work