Call for Applications: Academic Research on Conflict and Contention (ARCC) Workshop

4–8 June 2018, London and West Sussex, United Kingdom

Co-Convenors: Milli Lake (LSE); Sarah Parkinson (JHU)

About the workshop:

ARCC invites applications for a week-long workshop on conducting field research in volatile and violence-affected research environments from the 4–8 June, 2018.

Scholars from the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University will convene the workshop, with participation from leading scholars in the field of conflict research. The workshop is developed in close partnership with International Location Safety (ILS), leaders in the field of safety and security training for the academic and humanitarian aid sectors.

The workshop will prepare students to conduct rigorous, academic research in contexts of conflict and contention, in addition to facilitating the development of professional support networks that include faculty and peers engaged in similar work.

Conventional academic training in the social sciences often leaves students under-prepared for research in violence-affected political spaces. Shifting political conditions can leave researchers ill-equipped to navigate the complex realities they encounter on the ground. As a result, researchers can inadvertently subject themselves, their interlocutors, and the communities in which they work to various harms.

The ARCC program is grounded in the philosophy that the environments in which researchers operate provide crucial context for careful research design and sound data analysis. Moreover, given that fieldwork in contexts of conflict and contention can pose risks to scholars and their interlocutors, understanding – and preparing for – adverse events is integral to honouring the principle of “do no harm.”

This workshop thus links practical skills training geared towards the ethical, methodological, and logistical challenges researchers may encounter when they are working in highly insecure environments with the methodological considerations of rigorous social science research design.

The course’s safety and security component incorporates practical simulations to provide hands-on instruction in emergency first aid, risk assessment, situational awareness, context analysis, weapons and blast awareness, and data protection. The course also provides instruction in social science field methods tailored to conflict contexts, with a heavy emphasis on the ethical, empirical, and logistical dimensions of qualitative and quantitative data collection.

Who is it for?

The ARCC Program is targeted primarily towards PhD students in comparative politics, conflict studies or international relations who are preparing to embark on research in volatile, conflict-affected, or otherwise challenging field sites.  However, applications from scholars at all career stages and from all subfields will be considered.

When is it?

The workshop is scheduled for 4–8 June 2018, in West Sussex and London (UK), and is fully residential.

Cost and how to apply

The total cost of the week-long residential workshop is £1800, but full and half scholarships are available to support outstanding doctoral students.

Application materials should be submitted by email to no later than 5pm EST on Friday, 2 March 2018.

Required application materials:

  • A cover letter that briefly summarises your academic background and your planned fieldwork, as well as detailing whether:
    • Your academic department will cover the cost of your participation;
    • You have other funds (eg summer support, independent grant/fellowship money) available to cover costs;
    • You are requesting a partial scholarship to facilitate your attendance;
    • You are requesting a full scholarship to facilitate your participation;
    • You will be unable to attend without a full scholarship to cover your costs.
  • A 500-word summary of your proposed research project and how the course would benefit you;
  • An academic CV that details any past fieldwork, relevant non-academic experience, prior field methods training, and/or language skills; and
  • For doctoral students, a letter of support from your faculty supervisor.

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