Evidence and Practice in an age of inequality 5th ACFID Universities Network Conference

The UNDP noted at the end of 2013, ‘The world is more unequal today than at any point
since World War II’. As we celebrate the achievements of the BRICs and as debates unfold
on the new Sustainable Development Goals, inequality in multiple manifestations has
persisted and in some cases worsened. Inequality relates to income or material inequality,
but also extends to interrelated issues of access to vital resources including health,
education, and justice. Moreover, issues such as gender and sexuality, disabilities, health,
age, religion and ethnic minorities, and intersecting forms of discrimination are all part of a
wider net of the experience of inequality.
Such issues are forcing actors from NGOs, academia, multilaterals and donors to rethink
their role and purpose, while continuing to grapple with absolute poverty. As the
development community continue to respond to the evolving face of poverty and inequality,
questions around the increasing importance of evidence in this response have never been
more important.
The 5th ACFID University Network Conference is interdisciplinary, and will provide a
unique opportunity to bring together researchers, practitioners, students and policy makers
to shed light on emerging evidence around inequality, and discuss what this means for
development policy and practice.
ACFID University Network Conferences have become anticipated events in the Australian
development community, bringing together participants from across Australia, the Pacific
and Asia who are working in aid and international development. The purpose of the
conference is to share insights and promote collaboration and partnerships among NGOs
and Universities within the development research community.
The conference is being hosted at Monash University in collaboration with the Australian
Council for International Development (ACFID).
In order to encourage critical debate and new ideas around the theme of Evidence and
practice in an age of inequality, we are inviting abstracts that respond to the following
questions and areas for discussion:1. What do we know about inequality, and how do we know it?
This question relates to enhancing participant understanding of, and sharing emerging
research related to multiple forms of inequality.
This means exploring questions such as: when we talk about ‘inequality’ what are we
talking about? What are the causes of inequality and why has it been increasing in
many places? What are the varied ways in which inequality is defined and discussed?
What are the consequences of inequality and what are its effects on sustainable
development and poverty alleviation? Is there a relationship between inequality,
fragility and insecurity? Do we need new ways of thinking about and addressing
inequality and its causes? How can we measure and track changes in
multidimensional poverty and inequality? What new sources of data have been
opened through technological advances? Are there inequalities in access to these
new data sets?
Case studies and examples about how inequality affects and or relates to particular areas of
policy and practice are welcome for this area of discussion. Such areas might include human
rights, health, disability, education, humanitarianism, gender and sexuality, and indigenous
people in Australia and elsewhere.
2. Evidence based policy and practice – what is it and how does it work?
This question relates to encouraging critical thinking and forming new ideas about the use of
evidence to inform responses to various forms of inequality.
This means exploring questions such as: What are the elements of power and politics
behind which evidence ‘counts’ and is ultimately used? What are some of the ‘uses
and abuses’ of evidence? How can development actors adapt to change, learn and
innovate to respond to a changing development landscape? What is the role of
evidence in monitoring, evaluation and learning? What are the factors that shape our
ability to influence policy and decisions using evidence? Does rising inequality open
new or different challenges for research ethics?
Development is often discussed and approached as both a discipline, but also a ‘catch all’
for many disciplines requiring different technical skills sets and expertise. This question
seeks to highlight and discuss the forms of cross-sector and, or inter-disciplinary
collaborations that may be needed in order to respond to inequality. What is the role of the
private sector, universities, NGOs and other stakeholders in responding to multiple forms of
inequality? How can locally generated evidence be ensured and prioritised?
Case studies in evidence based policy and practice, collaboration and examples of good
practice or lessons learned, are welcome contributions to this area of discussion.
Abstracts must be submitted by COB Monday 26 January 2015.
All abstracts must be submitted online using the form located on the conference website
here: http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/acfid/call-for-abstracts/
Please do not email your submissions to individual organising committee members. Abstracts are encouraged in the following formats:
1. Full Discussion Panels
Full panels or debate formats are encouraged to bring forward critical discussion related to a
specific topic. An ideal panel will consist of a moderator, and no more than three presenters
and a discussant (optional).
Panel organizers should present a brief summary of the session with the following
Panel title
Name and contact information of the panel organiser/moderator
Names and organisational affiliation of speakers
The name of the discussant and their affiliation (optional)
Brief description of the overall topic for the panel as it relates to the conference
theme(s) (no more than 100 words)
Titles of the papers and brief abstracts for the individual presentations (no more than
250 words each)
2. Individual Papers
Individual papers are encouraged presenting formal research results, theoretical
discussions, or analysis, case studies, practical applications, evaluations, policies, programs
or analysis of emergent issues and trends that contribute to our understanding of the core
conference theme and guiding questions.
Authors should submit an abstract of no more than 250 words with the following information:
Paper title
Name and organisational affiliation of presenter/author
Contact details of author/presenter
Brief description of the paper in line with the conference theme and guiding questions
3. Workshops
Proposals are welcome for workshops to be held during the conference. Workshops are
intended to be an open ended option with a participatory format to explore new ideas and
emerging areas of interest from within the sector. Workshops can be proposed for 1.5 or 3
hour time slots and should contain ample time for general discussion and engagement by all
participants, including observers. Workshops that foster collaboration, cross-sector
engagement, and/or interdisciplinary perspectives are strongly encouraged.
Workshop organisers should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words with the
following information:
Workshop title
Workshop purpose and how it relates to the conference theme
Clear description of format, time required, methodology and planned activities
Overview of participants and audience
Organiser details (brief biographical sketch and/or description of organisation)
Contact details for workshop organiser4. Soap-box presentations
Abstracts are encouraged from individuals looking to raise a research or program idea and
identify partners with similar or mutual interests.
Presentations in this category are quick – 1 slide (or consider formats such as like
PechaKucha) or 5 minutes of discussion. All soapbox presentations will be brought together
in one session focused on participant networking and quick presentations for ‘new ideas and
big proposals’. Ideas or proposals from new and emerging researchers or practitioners are
particularly encouraged in this format.
Authors should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words with the following information:
Soap box presentation title
Name and organisational affiliation of presenter/author
Contact details of author/presenter
Brief description of your ‘idea’ and how it connects to the conference theme
Brief biography about the presenter(s)