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Personal profile


I hold an MA in Social Anthropology and an MSc in Social Research, both from the University of Edinburgh.   My doctoral research in anthropology at Goldsmith’s College, London, considered the experiences of boys entering a reformatory institution in Medellin Colombia run by the Catholic Salesian order. It examined disciplinary practices and mechanisms,  and children’s responses to these, as well as looking at wider issues of conflict and structural violence, and violence in relation to dominant models of masculinity.

I have taught at Goldsmiths College, SOAS and the University of Cambridge on topics including ethnographic research methods with children, anthropology of development, and political and economic anthropology.

I have also spent a significant part of my career working in the development sector, with a range of large and small NGOs. This work evolved from doing research with children, to developing rights-based approaches to development in the contexts of child focused NGOs.  My work was latterly focused on monitoring and evaluation systems, leading to my current interests in how development projects and programmes are assessed and managed.   

Key Research Interests

My research interests are in the areas of the politics and ethics of development practice and management, and in the micro processes of these. As an anthropologist, I am interested in the ways people interact with ideas and technologies for development within organisational settings.



The project in international development

This work explores how projects, widely used vehicles for organising work for funding, function as mechanisms within the aid sector. In this work I consider how technologies used to plan and manage development work, such as logframes and indicator based monitoring systems, effect what is done in the name of development. The histories and effects of these tools have are often overlooked in the teaching and practice of development, but, I argue, constitute a set of disciplining mechanisms within development practice that profoundly shapes what happens today in the sector.  This work is brought together in a book, The Project in International Development; Theory and Practice, to be published by Routledge in June 2023, as well as in a paper on the shaping of ethical subjectivities, published in Critique of Anthropology in 2022.


Tracking the Impact of Advocacy: Investing in Child Rights 

A new area of work, starting in 2023, explores how projects aimed at improving public investment in children can use an adapted form of Process Tracing to track and provide evidence of their impacts. Advocacy and campaign work is notoriously difficult to assess and standard quantitative methods are unsuitable, yet widely demanded in the sector. This work will use ethnographic methods to explore how teams planning interactions with policy makers plan and track their work, and how this might fit with existing reporting requirements from managing agencies and donors. Research is planned in Zambia, Malawi, Serbia and Montenegro.

Teaching Interests

I am director of the MSc course International Development Management.

I convene modules

  • Project Design and Management
  • Emerging and Strategic Challenges in Development Management.

I also teach on a range of post graduate and undergraduate modules including:

  • Applied Methods in Impact Evaluation
  • Development Work Placement
  • Media in Development Practice


I have also taught on:

  • Advanced Qualitative Research and Analysis
  • Engaging Anthropology and Development
  • Latin American Development
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology
  • Research Techniques and Analysis
  • Social Anthropology and International Development


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

External Examiner, University of East London

15 Sep 201730 Jun 2021