Hear from AKN team members on their experience of working through the Antislavery Knowledge Network. In a series of blogs, each reflect on the highlights, challenges and opportunities of partnership-working between the global South and North.

Sustaining partnership

Blog: Alex Balch

Alex shares his reflections on the agendas driving AKN and its innovative approaches to addressing SDG 8.7 with a focus on community-led projects, creative methods and more equitable partnerships.

Questioning power

Blog: Allen Kiconco

Allen illuminates the ways in which unequal power dynamics can be disrupted and addressed in international partnership through open, genuine and graceful discussion.

Building networks

Blog: John Oldfield

John reflects on AKN’s model of partnership across borders and explains the value of the arts and humanities in effecting social and cultural change in communities threatened by exploitation.

Lessons from Network +

Working with partners in the Global South in the Arts and Humanities

by Helen Bryant


Selected Findings

This report draws on the experiences of project managers from the GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund) Network Plus awards. It highlights key institutional challenges faced while setting up and delivering projects with multiple partners, many of which were based in the global south.

The operations group was set up so the project managers could troubleshoot some of the major barriers we faced and share best practice. Combined with direct input from our collaborating partners, the report outlines these learnings and develops recommendations for academics, funding councils and development agencies in order for them to think about how, despite ‘ethical’ intentions, their project management and finance systems, are often not equitable and risk inflicting unintended harm.

Our aim is to address how, through arts and humanities research methods, we can approach development funding critically in order to engage in sustainable and equitable partnerships in the Global South.

Selected Findings

  • Co-design of administrative systems in the set-up of joint programmes is crucial.
  • Recognise the power dynamics created by money: common financial reconciliation processes used by UK institutions – of claiming expenditure in arrears – are prohibitive for many partners.
  • Funding calls could be made more accessible to new and under-represented groups by co-developing calls with capacity development in bid writing built-in to the process.