I have been working in, researching and teaching international development for more than 25 years.
My involvement in development work began when I went to Papua New Guinea in the early 1990s as a VSO volunteer. In the years that followed I worked with various development organisations in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Vietnam. A year out to do an MA at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague led to a PhD and late academic career; as a researcher at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and then lecturer at the University of York, where I was director of a distance MA programme for development practitioners.
I am now an independent consultant while continuing to pursue my research interests – independently and in collaboration with colleagues at the University of York where I am an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work and a member of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre. My research critically examines decision making in globalised networks formed around technocratic visions of agrarian change and development; paying particular attention to issues of accountability and responsiveness to local contexts. The often disproportionate influence of philanthropic foundations in these networks has been an ongoing theme. Past projects have studied interventions in smallholder agriculture, crop improvement (‘conventional’ and transgenic), nutrition, bioenergy, and financial inclusion and ‘fintech’.