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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

Category Archives: HDCA event/news

This is meant for events that have permission to use the HDCA logo in their promotion. In practice, this will be limited to either the HDCA conference, or events organized by one of the HDCA’s thematic groups or regional networks.

Webinar Discussion: Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy.

Webinar with Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian
6th April 2021, Tuesday, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm BST (GMT +1)

There is now widespread recognition that well-being, educational success, fairness, equality, poverty, etc. are value-laden. There is less agreement on a responsible way of measuring their value. This is a tricky issue for public policy because governments need effective measures for benchmarking, impact evaluation, and other forms of accountability, but would ideally like to leave value judgements to citizens. Our research explores the potential of coproduction mechanisms to chart a course through these dilemmas.

We'll present a case study from our work around coproducing a theory and measure/s of thriving for the national poverty charity Turn2Us. These outputs will inform their work in a variety of ways, including assessment criteria for giving grants and the charity's campaigning work in the social policy space. We'll explain our rationale for coproduction, discuss our preliminary results in comparison to other efforts underway in well-being public policy, and identify some of the lessons learned for applying coproduction in value-laden policy domains.

Our results indicate that 'off the shelf' theories and measures of value-laden concepts developed by experts often require substantial translation and tailoring to be suitable to applied policy. This underscores the need to develop more 'bottom up' approaches to measurement.

Anna Alexandrova is a Reader in Philosophy of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in University Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College, studying how scientists navigate morally charged and complex phenomena and the role of formal tools such as models and indicators in their scholarly and public work. Since 2018, Dr. Alexandrova is the Principal Investigator on Expertise Under Pressure project at the Centre for Humanities and Social Change, and up until recently served as a Programme Director in Philosophy and Ethics of AI at the Leverhulme Centre for Future of Intelligence.

Mark Fabian is a Research Associate (postdoc) at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy in the University of Cambridge. His research explores well-being from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a particular focus on the ethical and epistemological issues involved in translating well-being insights from psychological science into public policy.

Register here:


2021 Webinar Series: Multidimensional Well-Being: Concepts, Measurement, & Application
April – July 2021

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.

General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.

The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.

For the full webinar schedule, updates, and to register, please visit our website:

Upcoming Webinar Series Themes

1. Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy
Anna Alexandra & Mark Fabian
6th April, Tuesday, 11am BST (GMT +1)

2. Conceptualizing Well-Being
Ingrid Robeyns
19th April, Monday, 6.30pm BST (GMT +1)

3. Methodological Options and Challenges for Measuring Multidimensional Well-Being*

4. Participatory Approaches to Well-Being Measurement*

5. The Development and Application of Multidimensional Well-being Measures*

6. Multidimensional Well-Being Measures as Policy-Instruments*

7. Limitations and Frontiers: Concepts, Measures, and Applications*

* Presenter and event details TBC.

Questions/Suggestions? Contact the organizing committee:

WEBINAR: Capability as informational basis for work and employment politics – a European re-search experience

April 21 at 4 pm CET
Sponsored by the HDCA Work & Employment Thematic Group 

One of the opportunities our thematic network offers is to take stock of capability theories and concepts in the field of employment and work. The upcoming webinar is an exercise in such stock-taking: three members of the TG will look back on a collaborative experience in a pivotal European integrated Project. 

In CAPRIGHT (Resources, Rights and Capabilities: In search of social foundations for Europe, 2007-2010) 24 partners from 13 European countries shared their work on capability–related concepts to inform European labour policies – understood in a wide sense and comprising services and regulation in the fields of work, employment, vocational training and collective action. Five capability domains proved central in CAPRIGHT: 

-       The capability for work – at the workplace and in production, 

-       The capability for employment – in internal labour markets, in labour market policy and in interactions with the public employment service, 

-       The capability for training – both within the firm and in institutions of vocational training, 

-       The capability for work-life-balance – arbitrating the requirements of paid work and care work in the househould, 

-       The capability for voice – in all of these domains of regulation. 

“Ten years after”, Peter Bartelheimer, Jean-Michel Bonvin and Bénédicte Zimmermann look back at the conceptual “takeaway” of the CAPRIGHT network and reflect on refinements and further developments in their subsequent work. 



HDCA Undergraduate Workshop II: Exploring “worthwhile development”

21st April, 2021, 1-2.30pm (UK time)

For our second workshop for undergraduate students working with the capability approach, human development or development ethics, Stacy Kosko (University of Maryland, US) will present a simulation exercise for thinking about human development ethics. This workshop is aimed primarily at undergraduates so please sign up if you are an undergraduate working with the capability approach (this event is open to undergraduate HDCA members and non-members.) If places remain a few days before we will offer to masters students in addition.

This is our second undergraduate workshop in a series of three. The next undergraduate workshop is planned for 14th July (with a presentation from Lori Keleher).

Please note there is a separate workshop series for graduate students; the next one is on the 9th June.

The HDCA strives to offer high quality free events to members and non-members worldwide and for many this is the only opportunity to engage with others on the capability approach. So, we ask you kindly:
• Please only sign up if you are a undergraduate student working with the capability approach, human development or development ethics
• Please do check that you are available before signing up for the workshop.
• Please do cancel your place if you find you are no longer able to attend.

This will enable more individuals who would like to join us to be able to do so. We have found that sometimes individuals sign up but don’t show up. This is disappointing for those who have not been able to secure a place.

We look forward to welcoming you and learning together.


Caroline Sarojini Hart & Rosie Peppin Vaughan (HDCA Education Officers)

WEBINAR: Inclusive Data and Statistics: Human Development and Disability in Low- and Middle-income Countries

HDCA’s Health and Disability Thematic Group invites you to the next webinar in our 2020/21 series
Speaker: Professor Sophie Mitra
Fordham University
Wednesday April 14th, 2021
16:00 to 17:00 in London
22:30 to 23:30 in Delhi
11:00 to 12:00 Eastern Daylight Time
The event will take place through Zoom. Please register through Eventbrite in order to receive a link to the meeting.

 The Webinar: This study first examines to what extent household surveys and censuses in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) include disability questions and the types of questions  under use. It then disaggregates human development indicators across disability status to assess the situation of persons and households with disabilities with 24 censuses and general household surveys from 21 LMICs. Findings have implications for data collection, research and policy.

Speaker’s Bio: Sophie Mitra is professor of economics and founding director of the Research Consortium on Disability at Fordham University in New York City. She has studied the economic impact of disability and mental illness, the effects of social protection programs, multidimensional poverty, the association between disability and poverty, the definition of disability. She is the author of Disability, Health and Human Development (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018).
Giulia, Margarita, Paul and Toon (Health and Disability Thematic Group co-ordinators)

WEBINAR: From Human Development to Sustainable Human Development

Date and Time: Friday 12th March 14:00-15:30 CET

The 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene marks a significant change in HDR thinking. Environmental issues are no longer seen as an "add on" to human development but as essentially interconnected with it. The Report doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation – in how we live, work and cooperate – is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation. Furthermore, the Report introduces a new indicator which aims to reflect the interconnectedness of the environment and human development, namely the Planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index.

This session will take as its starting point the Report and ask what role the human development approach can play in framing future debates and policy; but also, looking forward, ask where the approach needs to strengthen partnerships and to be supplemented, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and to what needs to continue after the SDGs’ end-date of 2030.

The 2020 Human Development Report can be downloaded via:


Pedro Conceição is the Director and lead author of the Human Development Report 2020.

Since 1 January 2019 Pedro has been Director of the Human Development Report Office and lead author of the Human Development Reports. Prior to this, Pedro served as Director, Strategic Policy, at the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (from October 2014), and Chief Economist and Head of the Strategic Advisory Unit at the Regional Bureau for Africa (from 1 December 2009). 

Before that, he was Director of the Office of Development Studies (ODS) from March 2007 to November 2009, and Deputy Director of ODS, from October 2001 to February 2007. His work on financing for development and on global public goods was published by Oxford University Press in books he co-edited (The New Public Finance: Responding to Global Challenges, 2006; Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization, 2003).

He has published on inequality, the economics of innovation and technological change, and development in, amongst other journals, the African Development Review, Review of Development Economics, Eastern Economic Journal, Ecological Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Food Policy, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He co-edited several books including: Innovation, Competence Building, and Social Cohesion in Europe- Towards a Learning Society (Edward Elgar, 2002) and Knowledge for Inclusive Development (Quorum Books, 2001).

Prior to coming to UNDP, he was an Assistant Professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, teaching and researching on science, technology and innovation policy. He has degrees in Physics from Instituto Superior Técnico and in Economics from the Technical University of Lisbon and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with a Fulbright scholarship.

Andrew Crabtree was the co-founder, together with Meera Tiwari, of the HDCA’s Sustainable Human Development thematic group. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School. He gained his PhD at the Department of Environment, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark. He has recently edited a book Sustainability, Capabilities and Human Security. Palgrave which includes chapters with several leading authors within the field. He provided three chapters to the book (1) Capabilities, Human Security and the Centrality of Sustainability. (2) Sustainability Indicators, Ethics and Legitimate Freedoms. (3) Conclusion: The Sustainable Development Goals and Capability and Human Security Analysis (together with Des Gasper).   

Other publications include: Sustainability and Climate Change in Jay Drydyk and Lori Keleher (eds) Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics (2018). His publications on disasters include Crabtree, A. (2018). Capabilities, Ethics and Disasters. In Disasters: Core Concepts and Ethical Theories (pp. 175-187). In O’Mathúna, D. P., Dranseika, V., & Gordijn, B. Disasters: Core Concepts and Ethical Theories. Springer, Cham. A

The Deep Roots of Nightmares in Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction, Edited by Fred Krûger, Greg Bankoff, Terry Cannon, Benedikt Orlowski and E. Lisa F. Schipper. Routledge. Questioning Psychosocial Resilience after Flooding and the Consequences for Disaster Risk Reduction in Social Indicators Research (2013) Special Issue: Poverty, vulnerability and resilience in a Post-2015 World Guest Editors: Laura Camfield, Keetie Roelen, Andrew Crabtree. Andrew Crabtree is currently Treasurer of the HDCA.

Dr. Asunción Lera St. Clair, philosopher and sociologist, is Director of the Digital Assurance Program in DNV Group Research and Development and Senior Advisor for the Earth Services Unit of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). She has over 30 years of experience with designing and directing interdisciplinary user-driven and solutions-oriented research for global challenges in the interface between sustainable development and climate change, and more recently on leveraging digital technologies for sustainable development. Her work has focused on science-policy-society interactions, identification of user needs, ethical perspectives, and on public and private governance (with a focus on the role of standards, recommended practices and the provision of assurance).  She has experience leading large projects dedicated to co-design and co-production with a variety of users from policy makers, to vulnerable communities and private sector actors. She is member of the Steering Committee of the International Science Council and HDRO joint project  Conversations on Rethinking Human Development . Dr. St.Clair serves on the Boards of international, multilateral and intergovernmental organizations, including the Horizon Europe Mission Board for Climate Change Adaptation and Societal Transformations and the Sustainability in the Digital Age Initiative of Future Earth. St.Clair was Lead author for IPCC Fifth Assessment Report WG2.

Des Gasper is professor emeritus of Human Development, Development Ethics and Public Policy at the International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has been involved in discussions on human development and human security since the mid-1990s and published several papers about these perspectives in relation to (un)sustainable development, climate change and the SDGs -- for example: (1) with A.V. Portocarrero, A.L. St.Clair, 1a) 2013: The Framing of Climate Change and Development:  A Comparative Analysis of the Human Development Report 2007/8 and the World Development Report 2010.  Global Environmental Change, 23(1): 28-39; 1b) 2013: An Analysis of the Human Development Report 2011 ‘Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All’. S. African J. on Human Rights, 29(1): 91-124. (2) 2013: Elements and value-added of a human security approach in the study of climate change. In Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security, eds. M. Redclift and M. Grasso, pp. 41-66. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.  (3) Chapters in Andrew Crabtree (ed., 2020), Sustainability, Capabilities and Human Security, Palgrave Macmillan.

Chair: Jay Drydyk is President of the Human Development and Capabilities Association and Professor of philosophy at Carleton University.

Link to register:



WEBINAR: Capabilities at the end of the life-course: exploring issues of measurement

By Professor Joanna Coast

University of Bristol

Wednesday March 10th, 2021

16:00 to 17:00 in London

21:30 to 22:30 in Delhi

11:00 to 12:00 Eastern Standard Time

The event will take place through Zoom. Please register through Eventbrite in order to receive a link to the meeting.

The Webinar: This webinar will start from the perspective that it is potentially valuable to measure capabilities at the end of life, to aid in the evaluation of particular health and care interventions, but will focus on the associated measurement difficulties.  It will consider the options for measuring capabilities, considering who should measure capabilities and what the potential measurement issues might be with different approaches.  It will then utilise two qualitative case studies to shed light on measurement issues that might occur when the person at the end of life measures capabilities and when others assess their capabilities.  The first case study explores issues around adaptive preferences in measurement among those at end of life receiving hospice care; the second case study explores issues around measurement by health care assistants acting as proxies for people living with advanced dementia and resident in nursing homes.  The webinar will end by drawing some conclusions about measurement approaches in these different end of life contexts.   

HDCA Graduate Workshop 2: Writing for Publication

10 March 2021, 1-2.30pm (UTC)

We are delighted to announce our second HDCA Graduate Workshop. The focus will be ‘Writing for Journal Publication’ and we will be joined by Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti (University of Pavia, Italy) and Graciela Tonon (Universidad de Palermo, Argentina). Enrica is the Editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities and Graciela holds numerous editorial roles including as editor of the Spanish language Journal of Ciencias Sociales of Universidad de Palermo. Participants will have an opportunity to hear about the process of developing an article for publication and the different opportunities for publishing academic work which draws on the capability approach.

The HDCA strives to offer high quality free events to members and non-members worldwide and for many this is the only opportunity to engage with others on the capability approach. So, we ask you kindly:

  • Please only sign up if you are a graduate student working with the capability approach in your research
  • Please do check that you are available before signing up for the workshop.
  • Please do cancel your place if you find you are no longer able to attend.

This will enable more individuals who would like to join us to be able to do so. We have found that sometimes individuals sign up but don’t show up. This is disappointing for those who have not been able to secure a place.

We look forward to welcoming you and learning together.

Please register here:

Caroline Sarojini Hart & Rosie Peppin Vaughan ( (HDCA Education Officers)

Please find below the powerpoints from the two presentations, as well as the note prepared by Enrica and other HDCA colleagues, from a previous HDCA conference.


Enrica Chiappero Martinetti presentation

Graciela Tonon presentation

HDCA WEBINAR: The State of the Union: Reflections on Democracy and Division in and beyond the United States of America

Hosted by the HDCA North American Regional Network
February 19, 2021 at 11:00AM EST

Registration required:

Democracy is in crisis. The United States—once viewed as the world’s most stable democracy—is witnessing a surge of right-wing extremism, nationalism, and authoritarian populism fueled, in part, by conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns, white supremacy, and toxic masculinity. These forces converged in a literal attack on democracy during an insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. More globally, a recent “democratic recession” seems to have halted if not reversed the third wave of democratization (Diamond 2015), and everywhere there are signs of the deterioration of political rights and civil liberties (Abramowitz 2018), the erosion of citizens’ trust in government (Pew Research Center 2017), and growing disaffection with democratic norms and institutions (Foa and Mounk 2017).

This moment and the challenges it presents—including challenges to the cause of human development and justice—demand scholarly attention. To help facilitate such attention, the North American Regional Network of the Human Development and Capabilities Association, is hosting a webinar with a distinguished group of panelists to discuss the state of democracy—both recent events and broader trends—on February 19th at 11:00AM EST. Our hope is this panel will help to start a discussion within the human development paradigm about threats and challenges to democracy around the globe.


David A. Crocker is a Research Professor Emeritus at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, USA. He specializes in socio-political philosophy, international development ethics, transitional justice, democracy and democratization, and corruption. After three degrees from Yale University (MDiv, MA, and PhD), David taught philosophy for 25 years at Colorado State University, where he established one of the world's first courses in ethics and international development. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Munich, was twice a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Costa Rica, held the UNESCO Chair in Development at the University of Valencia (Spain), and taught at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, the University of Chile, and the University of the Andes (Colombia). He has been a consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, the World Bank, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. David was the founder and former president of the International Development Ethics Association (IDEA). Among his numerous publications are "Toward Development Ethics," The Ethics of Global Development: Agency, Capability, and Deliberative Democracy, “Reckoning with Past Wrongs: A Normative Framework,” “Ending the US Civil War Well: Reconciliation and Transitional Justice," and "Confronting Inequality and Corruption." Three of his most recent papers are responses to essays collected in the volume in his honor edited by Lori Keleher and Stacy J. Kosko: Agency and Democracy in Development Ethics.

Chloe Schwenke is the president and founder of the Center for Values in International Development. She is an international public policy advisor, development ethicist and practitioner, human rights scholar and activist, researcher, and educator. Her career has focused on LGBTQ+ issues, inclusive development, gender equality/equity, democracy strengthening, and on human rights. Chloe’s career covers project experience in over 40 countries, including more than 15 years living and working in the Global South. Chloe has held senior positions at the International Center for Research on Women, and at Freedom House. She was also – under the Obama administration – the first openly transgender person ever selected as a political appointee in the federal foreign affairs agencies, serving as Senior Advisor on Democracy, Rights, and Governance for Africa, at USAID. Chloe received her Ph.D. in public policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was Alumna of the Year for 2013. She earned her MA degree at Georgetown. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, and has previously taught as an adjunct at the McCourt School at Georgetown, at Johns Hopkins/SAIS, and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has written two books, as well as chapters in nine edited volumes.

Eddy M. Souffrant is a faculty member of the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He teaches Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, and Ethics and International Affairs. He has research and teaching expertise in the areas of African American, Francophone and Caribbean Philosophy. His recent publications examine the issues Collective responsibility, International ethics, Development Ethics and Conceptions of Political Identities. He is currently working on a manuscript that explores the intersection of Africana Philosophy, Immigration and Digital Technology.

Frances Stewart is emeritus professor of Development Economics. She was Director of the Oxford Department of International Development (1993-2003) and the  Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (2003-2010).  She has been an adviser to the UNDP’s Human Development Report since its inception in 1990 and was Chair of the United Nation’s Committee for Development Policy (2010-2012). She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex and received the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought, from Tufts in 2013.  She is a trustee of the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex and a Member of the Advisory Board of ZEF (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung), Bonn. Her prime recent research interests are horizontal inequalities, conflict and human development. Among many publications, she is leading author of Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies (2008) and Advancing Human Development: Theory and Practice (2018).


HDCA Teacher Workshop 2: Teaching at Undergraduate Level

Wednesday 10th February 2021
13:00 – 14:30 UTC

Register here:

In this second event in our Teacher Workshop series we will be focussing on developments and ideas for teaching about human development and the CA at undergraduate level. We welcome teachers who are currently teaching on this subject to join us for this event. The workshop is open to members and non-members of the HDCA.
We would like to use the workshop as an opportunity to both explore and share good practice. If you have resources, teaching plans etc. you would like to share please bring them along (virtually) or send to the Education Officers at in advance and we can circulate to participants.
The HDCA strives to offer high quality free events to members and non-members worldwide and for many this is the only opportunity to engage with others on the capability approach. So, we ask you kindly:
• Please do check that you are available before signing up for the workshop.
• Please do cancel your place if you find you are no longer able to attend.
This will enable more individuals who would like to join us to be able to do so. We have found that sometimes individuals sign up but don’t show up. This is disappointing for those who have not been able to secure a place.
Please note, this workshop is specifically for people who are teaching about the CA at undergraduate level; we have other events in the following months aimed at undergraduate and graduate students.

We look forward to welcoming you and learning together.
Caroline & Rosie (HDCA Education Officers)

WEBINAR: “A capabilities perspective on the personalization of people with intellectual disabilities’ care and support”

Join the next webinar in the HDCA’s Health and Disability Thematic Group 2020/21 series

Wednesday February 10th, 2021

16:00 to 17:00 in London

21:30 to 22:30 in Delhi

11:00 to 12:00 Eastern Standard Time

The event will take place through Zoom. Please register through Eventbrite in order to receive a link to the meeting.

Presenter: Toon Benoot, Ghent University

The Webinar: Systems of personal budgets for people with disabilities aim to contribute to the choice and control people have over their own care and support trajectory. The redistribution of welfare resources to service users is intended to contribute to quality care, individual autonomy and personal wellbeing. In this presentation, Toon will outline the key findings of his PhD, discussing how these policies, explicitly modelled as capability promoting policies, influence the practice of care and support for people with intellectual disabilities. Central topics are the notion of ‘a capable human being’ and the capability to aspire. He draws on a variety of data that reflects the voices of different parties involved in the support process: from people with intellectual disabilities, executives of care organisations and social workers who administer budgets.

Speaker’s Bio: Toon Benoot is affiliated to the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogics at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of Ghent University. Toon works on pedagogics in a context of personalised care for people with disabilities. His fields of interests are: welfare reform, theories of social justice and the conceptualisation of autonomy and in(ter)dependency.

We look forward to seeing you then.

Giulia, Margarita, Paul and Toon (Health and Disability Thematic Group co-ordinators)

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