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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

Institutional Members


Open University, UK

The Open University has been conducting excellent research using the Capabilities Approach for 15 years. The Innovation, Knowledge and Development research centre (IKD), which includes members of the Open University from three faculties: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Faculty of Well-Being, Education, and Language Studies, and Faculty of Business and Law; have been developing work theorising the capabilities approach, or applying it to their field. Professor Paul Anand, fellow of the HDCA, is leading the Capabilities Measurement Project, which is currently exploring econometric issues associated with datasets developed and extending the applications especially in the areas of health, housing, safety, national surveys, welfare economics, poverty assessment and quality of life research. Dr. Alison Buckler, Professor Hazel Johnson, and Professor Bob Moon, have utilised the capability approach to challenge prevailing notions of ‘quality teaching’ and reveal broader insights into the purpose of schooling in different contexts, and teachers’ own experience of learning. The research analytically explored the condition of teachers working in expanding school systems across the world, with a particular focus on the lives of women teachers in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. The study compared documentary, policy-based evidence alongside ethnographic research from rural and remote schools in five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of this research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation. Our interconnectedness, interdisciplinarity, and complementarity in terms of methodologies and disciplines, make the Open University a hub of innovative ideas and significant contributions to the Capabilities Approach. We are currently supervising PhD students who are using the Capabilities Approach in fields such as sports, mental health, education, finance, and gender.

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