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Developing Areas Research Network (DARN)

Fostering Collaboration on International Development

DARN is a network which brings together development experts from across all departments and faculties of Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities in order to foster greater interdisciplinary collaboration on research, postgraduate teaching and learning on international development.
The DARN network creates linkage between existing expertise in international development issues and provides:

  • forums for debate and dissemination of international development research.
  • networks for developing collaborative international projects.
  • opportunities to develop joint research proposals.

DARN currently runs as a member led network which provides opportunities for researchers and others engaged in development in the North East to share ideas and information and facilitate collaboration. Communication is primarily via a jiscmail list. To be added to the DARN jiscmail list, please contact Katy Jenkins (

Contact Information
DARN is currently coordinated by Northumbria University, with nominated contacts in both Newcastle and Durham Universities.

Northumbria University - contact
Katy Jenkins ( or Matt Baillie Smith (

Newcastle University - contact Suzanne Speak (

Durham University - contact Cheryl McEwan (

DARN - Themes of Excellence

1. Culture, identity and tourism
New paradigms in development are recognising the importance of bringing culture into development policy in areas as diverse as social development, engineering and agriculture.
2. Development and education
 The millennium development goals profile the importance of education in reaching sustainable development. For DARN this implies ‘education for development’ as well as ‘education about development’ in both the Global North and Global South.
3. Enterprise and civil society
Globalisation means that issues of enterprise, markets and trade have important ethical as well as commercial dimensions in an interconnected world.
4. Gender and development
 The millennium development goals profile the importance of gender equality and empowerment of women in reaching sustainable development .Gender and development is a cross-cutting theme in DARN’s interdisciplinary work, for instance in projects on water and gender and on sexual trafficking.
5. Rural environments and livelihoods
 Rural livelihoods globally are under threat from migration and climate change. DARN expertise covers a range of environments and livelihoods including coasts and semi-arid regions.
6. Urban environments and livelihoods
 With continued urbanisation around the world DARN’s work examines how cities can become sustainable. In particular, we explore the way in which urban development impacts on the lives and livelihoods of urban poor people. Some colleagues focus on the way in which settlements are developed and upgraded, the provision of affordable housing and the use of public space. Others take a less spatial approach, focussing on the impact of development on the lives of different groups of urban poor, including women, children and people with disabilities.
7. Water resources, management and governance
 Water research in different water environments is a key interdisciplinary strength in DARN and cuts through many of the above themes.

DARN Research

One of the primary roles of DARN is to foster research collaborations across multiple departments and faculties at Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham universities. This allows us to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research in development science and enables us to respond quickly to a wider range of opportunities for research which cross multiple disciplines.

Current and Recent Projects

Please find below a list of current and recent projects that DARN members are involved with. It you would like any more information on any of these projects, please contact us via the details above.



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