Dr Andrea Rigon
Development Planning Unit
Faculty of the Built Environment
- Joined UCL
- 1st Jun 2012
My teaching builds on my experience and research interests. It also reflects my search for bridges between development organisations, particularly NGOs and academia. I currently teach two postgraduate modules:
Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
This module explores the theoretical debates that link diverse social identities and power relations, and the competing models of equity and justice that attempt to reconcile them. It examines the implications of these debates for social development. The module also deals with different understandings, definitions and ways of measuring poverty and inequality and the implications for development policy and practice.
NGOs and Social Transformation
I established this module as a result of multiple engagements with Development NGOs. The module hosts panels of NGO practitioners to discuss contemporary challenges and thus becomes a space of reflection and mutual learning. The module engages with an emerging body of literature in critical development studies and anthropology of development, which reflexively analyses the practices and politics of development organisations and their staff. In doing so, it covers different theoretical approaches to NGOs, and analytical models of social change. Specifically, using NGOs as an entry point, the module explores issues of collective action and social transformation in development, and analyses the role of NGOs within the political economy of civil society actors in the current architecture of development.
Dissertation Fellowships with development organisations
I have also built a number of fellowship opportunities for postgraduate students to write their dissertation on topics that are relevant to development organisations, particularly NGOs. This led to wider involvement of academic staff in the work of NGOs and employment opportunities for former students. I am happy for NGOs and other development organisations to get in touch and propose new areas of collaborations.
I am interested in supervising doctoral students on the following topics:
- slum-upgrading or titling processes in informal settlements
- participation in development interventions and/or urban governance
- ethnography of development/humanitarian organisations
- ethnography of development policy and practice
- alter-globalization movements
While I am open in terms of geographical focus, I am now particularly keen to supervise work on urban Sierra Leone and Kenya. I am also happy to discuss any proposal, should you find my work relevant.
- University College London
- Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ04 - Recognised by the HEA as a Senior Fellow | 2018
- Trinity College Dublin
- Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2013
- School of Oriental and African Studies
- Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2008
I have over 15 years of research, consultancy and project management experience in the international development and urban development sectors working for NGOs, academia, and consulting for the United Nations, international donors and governments.
My international experience includes working in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Liberia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe. I lived in Kenya for nearly four years, working and researching in the informal settlements of Nairobi as a project manager for an NGO, consultant for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and as a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Nairobi.
I have been involved in the process of the World Social Forum and in grassroots campaigns focusing on the social, economic, and environmental rights of people living in informal settlements and civil society initiatives based in the global South around the issue of illegitimate debt.
I was involved in the DFID-funded participatory research initiative Participate: Knowledge from the margins for post-2015to bring the perspectives of those who live in poverty or who are highly marginalised into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). I have also conducted multi-country participatory research for CAFOD and authored the COMPASS 2015report presented during the UN General Assembly in 2013. I have also done some work for CAFOD to systematise lessons learnt from ongoing experiences and processes of involving people living in poverty into policy-making. The report provided suggestions for the implementation of the SDGs agenda. More recently, I facilitated participatory learning processes for the national implementation of the SDG agenda.
I have founded the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centrein the post-Ebola context and I am now part of the management board. I am the Chair of the Board of Catalytic Action, founded by former DPU students to design and create learning and play spaces for women, men and children affected by conflict or disaster. I have used participatory design of infrastructure to address vulnerabilities in areas affected by mass displacement in Lebanon.I have conducted policy-relevant research in partnership with NGOs, especially with the Humanitarian Affairs Team at Save the Children UK.