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WEBINAR: Engaging Communities in Case-Study Research to Transform Institutions––and How Spiritual Capabilities can Contribute

February 23, 2023 @ 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0

Thursday, February 23, 20:30 UTC/ 12:30 p.m. San Diego/ 3:30 p.m. New York/ 8:30 p.m. London

The Human Rights Thematic Group of the Human Development and Capability Association is pleased to host the following presentation by TG member Bill Walker:

This presentation picks up from Dustin Sharp’s recent talk to the HDCA Human Rights Thematic Group introducing the concept of a “larger we” ( In this presentation I describe my own spiritual journey of engaging with injustice through advocacy and other action for, with, and by communities. I bring an understanding that systemic impoverishment, violence, and human-rights violations are deeply rooted in multiple collectively created cultural, political, and socio-historical causes. I focus on the realisation of indivisible human rights through peaceful rule of law in impoverished communities in so-called ‘low-and-lower-middle-income countries” where ‘twilight’, ‘zombie’ or ‘ghost’ institutions, often under authoritarian national governments, are relatively commonplace. I ask: What kind of capabilities and what kinds of flourishing do communities living amidst such conflict have reason to value and desire? Drawing on initiatives in which I was involved, I describe how, through communities’ own engagement in case-study research to transform institutions, these problems can be collectively solved.
Questions to be explored include: 
1) What is human dignity, how is it promoted and how does spirituality contribute?
2) In communities with embedded differences, under what conditions does desire for human rights influence connectedness and shared identity?
3) Under what conditions do institutions tend to become ‘twilight’, ‘zombie’ or ‘ghost’ institutions? How does their localised transformation matter for ordering human rights and human flourishing?
I lay out conditions that can foster collectively valued, life-giving purpose in such communities and beyond.

Bill Walker currently teaches a tertiary unit at Ridley College, Melbourne addressing the question: What makes aid and development transformational?  From 1987-2019, he worked with World Vision Australia, where he initiated and co-led multi-country community experimentation with Freirean participatory action-research praxis that led to the reinvented praxis now known as Citizen Voice and Action (CV&A). CV&A methodology has supported thousands of impoverished communities to sensitise fellow community members to unite in solidarity as an engaged citizenry, thus enabling them grow shared capabilities that promote and realise common goods. A member of the HDCA’s Human Rights thematic group, Bill completed his PhD on CV&A praxis in 2018.

The webinar (1-1/2 hours, including questions and discussion) takes place Thursday, February 23, 20:30 UTC/ 12:30 p.m. San Diego/ 3:30 p.m. New York/ 8:30 p.m. London. Corresponding time for Melbourne is Friday, February 24, 7:30 a.m.  Attendees are invited to reflect in their comments and questions on the relevance of Bill’s presentation to the HDCA’s agenda.


February 23, 2023
8:30 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
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