Past events

May 2018

‘State engagement – assessing capacity’ A seminar on Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)

On Wednesday May 17th, the WRC held a well attended seminar with the above theme. The presenters were drawn from a diverse group of practitioners, consultants and academics. Collectively their aim was to explain what is normally understood by state engagement and our ability to assess its impact and influence.

The 5 papers explored a variety of interlinked themes such as: why the traditional approach to capacity building has been discredited, and what has replaced it; examples of the application of PDIA in different developing countries by drawing on both experience and literature; the role of Outcome Mapping (OM), as developed by the International Development Research Centre, to help make sense of how policy may be influenced. The use of OM was seen within the context of the ODI’s Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme. Another paper attempted to make sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through the lens of the PDIA; the final paper focused on assessing the value of the PDIA approach in assessing the adoption of conditional cash transfers in Turkey.

The seminar was aimed at those interested in advocacy, evaluation and policy influence from a variety of perspectives as outlined above. Seminar room 106 at Briggs Hall was packed with a lively audience made up of the 5 speakers, several faculty, one visiting scholar and a number of students.

The program for the seminar had the following structure:

0930-1000  Registration, Introductions and Welcome

1000-1025  Keynote paper by Dr. Marcus Cox (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge)
Bringing Politics into Technical Assistance – How far have we come

1030-1055  Peter Grant (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge/Restored/Richmond University Visiting Professor)
Putting PDIA into practice – lessons from country case studies

1055-1120 Discussion (and coffee)

1125-1150  Simon Hearn (Overseas Development Institute)
Outcome Mapping for planning and monitoring policy engagement and influence

1155-1220  Dr. Christopher Wylde (Richmond University)
“Making sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through PDIA?”

1225-1250  Dr. Gokce Baykal (King’s College)
Testing PDIA Approach – Principles towards Adoption of Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey”

1250-1315 Discussion and close of seminar

1315 Lunch

April 2018

Positive Women – Heartache, hope and living with HIV

On Monday April 16th, at 1030 am, at the Lecture Hall within 17 Young Street, there was a showing of a short documentary film of ‘Positive Women …’. Here is a link to a trailer: https://www.positivewomendocumentary.com/

The film offered a glimpse into the lives of 6 women living within the Nakulabye slum which is within a mile of the central business districts of Kampala, Uganda. The documentary captured the reality of the poverty and helplessness and the mistreatment endured by the women and their families. The women were all mothers to several children each and all were HIV positive; yet their stories were full of hope and aspiration.

Those in attendance at the showing were left in a state of awe and tremendous respect for the women portrayed within the documentary. The documentary’s associate producer, Anne Lotter, who is a Richmond professor, was at hand to offer context and answer questions from the audience of students, staff and faculty.

Thanks to Anne Lotter for sharing this.

March 14th, 2018

BREXIT is coming … 12 months to go

Bad news has a habit of arriving with relentless frequency. Is BREXIT, and all that goes with it, an example of bad news? Some would say the UK is heading for a cliff-edge type disaster of unprecedented magnitude; others maintain that the future could not be brighter and that all will be well. Can the issues be put as starkly as this, or can we find some compromises that will keep all happy and content with the onrushing future that awaits us? Hard information on the UK’s position is difficult to come by but the government has promised to come clean soon.

In order to explore some of the above issues the Wellbeing Research Centre organised a thematic Panel Discussion which started at 16:45 on March 14th 2018, on the University’s Kensington campus (Upper Dining Hall/Atlantic House). The session wasbe introduced by Dr. Dabir-Alai and chaired by Professor Spangenberg.

Speakers and their themes:

  • “Financial Consequences: The Impact of BREXIT on The City” – Dr. Ivan Cohen (Richmond University)
    Under this heading Dr Cohen explored some of the likely scenarios that could emerge post-March 2019 and offer an assessment of their consequences.
  • “Should I stay or should I go? – An insight into the dilemmas that UK businesses face” – Professor Inma Ramos (Richmond University)
    Professor Ramos explored and commented on some of the opportunities available to UK businesses faced with the decision to either maintain their operations within the UK or to relocate to mainland EU.
  • “BREXIT and the Arts: The importance of a Creative Society” – Professor Charlotte Bonham-Carter
    (Central Saint Martins)
    Professor Bonham-Carter maintains that the arts are aligned to tolerance, liberal values and increasingly, to wellbeing. The impact of BREXIT on the cultural life of the UK will undoubtedly be profound. This presentation looked at the impact of BREXIT on the arts, but also, the possible impact of the arts on BREXIT.

This event had standing room only!

January 31st, 2018

Recent activity by Dr Paul Fisher

In January 2018, at the Centre, we were pleased to acknowledge Dr Paul Fisher’s significant involvement as a member of the European Commission High-Level Experts Group on Sustainable Finance.

The full Report may be accessed via: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/180131-sustainable-finance-report_en

Dr Fisher, who is both a Visiting Professor at Richmond University (in Economics and Finance) and a member of its Wellbeing Research Centre, was interviewed by the Financial Times on the above Report. That interview appears here: https://www.ft.com/content/20a043d8-0674-11e8-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5 (kindly note that you will need to set up an account with the FT to review this link). The press release that accompanied the publication of the full Report can be seen here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-542_en.htm?locale=en

September 2017

The Wellbeing Research Centre’s very own Dr Nicola Mann has just recently published a co-edited book. Please see details of the launch in the following link:

June 16th, 2017

Round-table discussion on the environment

Background:
In June 2017 the Wellbeing Research Centre, hosted a roundtable discussion on a number of themes linked to some of the core environmental challenges of our time. The timely importance of this discussion is unbderlined by the fact that October 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. One of our panelists spoke directly to this, whilst others were encouraged to review this work and take stock of its conclusions and assess these more generally.

Professor Paul Fisher provided the keynote address. The full details of all presentations made appears below:

  • 10:00-10:30, Keynote Speaker – Dr Paul Fisher(Visiting Professor at Richmond and formerly Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority at the Bank of England) opened the session with his talk on the relationship between climate change and risks to the financial sector. In this talk he discussed the state of play of policy making to address these risks.
  • 10:30-10:50 – Dr John Curran(Independent academic and recently Principal Lecturer at London Metropolitan University) explored some of the implications of Professor Nick Stern’s 2006 report on the economics of climate change and asked whether the report was still important 10 years after its publication; facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
  • 10:55-11:15 – Jialiang Zhang(Senior Consultant at Ecofys) discussed carbon pricing and some of the recent global developments impacting this (for example, the Paris Agreement of 2015); facilitated by Nastaran Norouzi.
  • 12:00-13:00 – LUNCH
  • 13:10-13:30 – Dr Wayne Clark(Associate Professor of Science, at Richmond) looked at several aspects of the physical environment. In this regard his talk was entitled “What is ‘natural’, what is ‘rare’? The ethics of alien species, upland farming, conservation, and re-wilding”; facilitated by David Munyinyi.
  • 13:35-13:55 – Hilary Jennings (Director of the Happy Museum Project) discussed her work as the part-time Director of the Happy Museum Project (HMP) which works with museums to develop their role in civil society, and working with communities to build resilience through well-being and environmental sustainability. The title of her presentation was “How can museums help foster wellbeing that doesn’t cost the Earth“. The HMP works with a community of museums across the UK and has recently launched a new Affiliate Scheme; facilitated by Nicola Mann.
  • 14:00-14:20 – Dr Mike Keating(Professor of International Political Economy, at Richmond)  discusses the role of appropriate technology in the context of a low-carbon energy transition; facilitated by Sabine Spangenberg.
  • 14:25-15:00 – Discussion and Close

Venue: Room 106 Briggs Hall, Richmond University, Ansdell Street, London W8 5BN (a 5 minute walk from High Street Kensington).

February 27th, 2017

The success of unconditional cash transfers as a development strategy

The Wellbeing Research Centre at Richmond University welcomed Ana Correa. at the time of the presentation Ana worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where she obtained an MSc (with Distinction) in Economics. Prior to that she graduated with a First Class degree in Economics from Richmond University. She has published widely in her own right and has a rich research agenda in front of her in relation to programs in health, development and related areas.

The slides linked to the presentation may be found here: Unconditional cash transfers.

For further questions please contact Dr. Parviz Dabir-Alai ([email protected])

December 8th, 2016

‘How do young people see the World?’ – a talk by Yemi Babington-Ashaye on a recent WEF large scale survey

At the time of his presentation Yemi Babington-Ashaye worked as the Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Yemi presented a talk on December 8th at 10:45am at the Lecture Theatre, Taylor Building, Richmond University, Queens Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6JP.

The presentation discussed the thinking and the shape of the survey carried out by Yemi and his team at the WEF.

October 12th, 2016

Economic Policy: The UK economy and selected topics in economic policy

On October 12th Mr Sanjay Raja presented a detailed discussion on the performance of the UK economy since around the time of the 2007-8 financial crisis. The presentation was policy focused and generated a considerable amount of discussion amongst the audience.

Click economic-policy-sanjay-raja for access to the slides accompanying the presentation.

At the time of the presentation Sanjay Raja worked as an economist with KPMG in London and prior to that was with the National Audit Office also in London. Sanjay earnt his MSc in Economics from the LSE and left Richmond University in 2011 with a First Class Honors degree in Economics.

October 5th, 2016

‘What should we (not) expect of central banks?’ – a Public Lecture by Professor Paul Fisher, October 5th 2016

On October 5th 2016 Professor Paul Fisher delivered a lecture on the theme of central banking capabilities to a group of around 30 students and faculty at the Richmond Business School in Kensington, London. During the talk Paul focused on 3 inter-linked issues:
  1. what can central banks achieve (and not achieve) in policy terms?
  2. expectations of what central banks can use their balance sheet for.
  3. expectations on economic forecasts.

The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session. Please click this link to access the slides used for this talk:What-not-to-expect-from-central-banks. Full papers may be requested by contacting Dr. Dabir-Alai at the Centre.

Paul Fisher is a Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Richmond University. He is also a recent member of the Bank of England’s influential Monetary Policy Committee. Paul’s other affiliations include:

Chair, London Bullion Market Association
Chair, London Institute of Banking and Finance
Senior Associate, Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership

June 24th, 2016

Workshop on education and wellbeing – June 2016

This workshop provided the opportunity for members and guests to explore the role education plays in promoting wellbeing around the world. The relationship between education and wellbeing is relevant to both developing nations (especially within the context of the newly formulated Sustainable Development Goals) and advanced economics (for example in terms of social mobility). Participants explored a range of issues including sociocultural, economic, technological, gender-related, political and other issues. Topics included the effects of education on wellbeing in general through an investigation of the impact of education on health, social welfare, race and gender equality, social networks, employment and other relevant considerations.

The day started with a keynote address by Peter Grant and ended with a presentation by Parviz Dabir-Alai (based on joint work with Ana Oliveira). Full program on the day was as below:

Keynote Speaker: Peter Grant, co-founder of Restored Relationships (title: Wellbeing and Education – gender and related angles) 10:30 – 11:00, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.

Anne Lotter, Founder and CEO of Project Le Monde (title: The Impact of Structural Violence on Education in Uganda) 11:15 – 11:45, facilitated by Peter Grant.

Sabine Spangenberg, Professor of Economics, Richmond Business School (title: The English Bipartite Secondary School System: Behavioural Considerations) 12:00 – 12:30, facilitated by Anne Lotter.

Lunch 12:45 – 13:30

Jake Barber, Assistant Professor of General Education, (title: Project articulation and utility, local capacity and sustainability – the case of a post crisis Sri Lankan university) 13:30 – 14:00, facilitated by David Munyinyi.

Nastaran Norouzi, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Richmond Business School (title: Education in the 21st Century – technology in the classroom: a blessing or a curse?) 14:15 14:45, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.

Ana Oliveira* and Parviz Dabir-Alai**,                                                                                                   *Associate Dean, School of General Education;                                                                                     **Professor of Economics, both at Richmond Business School (title: Adding value by degree: a case study) 15:00 – 15:30, facilitated by Nicola Mann.

Workshop ended at 15:45.

June 15th, 2016

BREXIT referendum debate: to REMAIN or to LEAVE

The Wellbeing Research Centre organised a debate on the BREXIT referendum held in the UK on June 23rd, 2016.

The debate participants included Ivan Cohen and Inma Ramos, who spoke for REMAIN, and Nick Wilkinson and Parviz Dabir-Alai who, on this occasion, supported the LEAVE campaign. The debate was chaired by Sabine Spangenberg.

This lively session played out to a packed audience on June 15th, 2016 at 5pm (Upper Dining Hall, Atlantic House, Richmond University, 1 St. Alban’s Grove, Kensington, London W8 5PN, nearest tube station: High Street Kensington).

June 6th, 2014

Seminar on Development and Wellbeing

This all day event held on the Richmond Hill campus of the University had Professor Peter Grant (former Head of the International Department at DFID) giving the keynote address.

Other papers were presented by: Robert Read (Lancaster), Nick Wilkinson (Richmond), Mike Keating (Richmond), Ali Shamsavari (Kingston), Sabine Spangenberg (Richmond), and Tamara Trafton (Quest).