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Rosemary McGee

Research Fellow

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist trained in development studies. 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.

Rosemary McGee’s recent work

Working Paper

Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency: A Colombian Case Study

IDS Working Paper;474

In a situation of longstanding and complex violent conflict in Buenaventura, Colombia, we used action research to explore with social activists what power, violence, citizenship and agency mean to them and how they experience and exercise citizen agency in relation to the violence.

7 August 2016


Transforming Governance: What Role for Technologies?

The technological innovations of the last two decades – cell phones, tablets, open data and social media – mean that governments and citizens can interact like never before. Around the world, in different contexts, citizens have fast-increasing access to information and communications...

1 February 2016

Journal Article

Opening Governance


This Bulletin hopes to rescue the transformative potential of the project of opening up governance relationships and processes to instil fairer power dynamics among and between citizens and their states.

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Rosemary McGee & 2 others

25 January 2016