‘Doing Research in and on Conflict-Affected Areas’ 8 June 2022, University of Birmingham and online
The aim of the workshop was to bring together academics and practitioners with a shared interest in discussing – and making plans for – how our respective communities can improve the methods and practices by which knowledge about armed conflict is generated and then used in responding to conflict.
Workshop sessions were organised around three themes: Research Priorities (to include, for example, discussions on identifying knowledge/evidence gaps; convergence and divergence in academic and donor/government priorities; exploring possible joint projects/collaborations between participants), Ethics, Risk and Accountability (e.g. risk aversion in universities and the ‘securitisation’ of fieldwork; working with local partners in conflict zones; the ethics and risks of collecting conflict data; applying research findings in ongoing conflicts), and Training and Preparing for Research in Conflict-Affected Areas (e.g. training PhDs; ongoing professional development for conflict researchers; sharing best practices within and between different professional communities). A discussion memo was circulated prior to the workshop to structure the session (available here).
To supplement the in-person workshop, there was an online expert panel discussion on the same day. Experts from different professional fields with experience in different aspects of conflict-related research were asked to reflect on the three workshop themes and to consider these questions: How can we do good conflict research, in both the ethical and methodological senses of the word? How can we improve the methods, practices and ethics of our research? What are the most important issues in how and why we – in academia, think tanks, NGOs – do research in conflict-affected areas? What are we doing right, what are we getting wrong, and what do we need to do better or differently?