The team

This project is co-led by:

Nicola Banks
After completing her PhD with the University of Manchester in 2010, Nicola moved to Uganda to work with BRAC International, managing their research portfolio for East Africa and carrying out a large nationwide research project on Ugandan youth. Having returned to Manchester in 2012, Nicola is currently an ESRC Future Research Leader, exploring young people’s experiences of urban poverty in Tanzania. Her research aims to identify the strategies young people deploy in a context of urban poverty for survival and advancement, and how these are influenced by age, gender and geographic location. Alongside her research with BWPI, Nicola teaches on a number of courses within the Global Development Institute, on topics that include urban poverty and inequality, NGOs and civil society organisations, and research methods and fieldwork, amongst others. Nicola’s broader interests include the capacity of NGOs and other development actors in facilitating social justice and transformative change.

Find out more about Nicola’s publications and teaching interests.
Follow Nicola on Twitter.

 Dan Brockington
Currently Director of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), at the University of Sheffield, Dan trained as an anthropologist at UCL, where he wrote his PhD under Kathy Homewood’s supervision. Dan subsequently worked at the Geography departments of the Universities of Cambridge (on a post-doc with Bill Adams) and Oxford before moving to Manchester (at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, now the Global Development Institute) in 2005 and most recently Sheffield in 2015. Dan’s work is driven by an abiding interest in inequality and how it is perpetrated by different forms of environmental and conservation policy, by different forms of environmental management, by livelihood change in rural areas and by media representations of all of these. The majority of Dan’s research has been in Tanzania, where he has worked on livelihood change, natural resource governance, microfinance and institutional performance. More broadly Dan’s interests include work on global overviews of the social impacts of protected areas, media and conservation and continent-wide examinations of the work of conservation NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently Dan has analysed the relationahip between celebrity and development, basing his reserach primarily in the UK.

Dan’s books are: Fortress Conservation (2002), Nature Unbound (With Rosaleen Duffy and Jim Igoe, 2008), Celebrity and the Environment (2009) and Celebrity Advocacy and International Development (2014).

Find out more about Dan’s research and teaching interests.

Also working on this project:

Laura Dempsey
Laura originally studied psychology at Loughborough University before heading to Ghana to work on education. She moved to Perth in 2012, where she worked for Amnesty International coordinating the organisation’s volunteers before returning to her hometown of Manchester in 2014 to complete a Master in Social Policy and Social Development at the University of Manchester. Laura has since worked for an education consultancy, managing the organisation’s literacy projects in various countries across Africa before moving to Sheffield University at the start of 2016.

Sarah Illingworth
Sarah Illingworth is a freelance journalist and Editor at She has worked in media and communications for 12 years – in her home country New Zealand, the UK and the US. Her undergraduate degree was a Bachelor in Communication Studies, with a major in Radio. In 2011 she returned to study and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies at the University of Auckland, which led her to do an MSc in Poverty and Development at the University of Manchester in 2014/15. After completing the course she worked as Communications Assistant at the Brooks World Poverty Institute (now GDI).

Samah Haj Ibrahim
Samah originally studied English literature and completed a Master in Audiovisual Translation at Damascus University, Syria. She later volunteered in Lebanon, teaching refugee children who had dropped out of school as a result of the Syrian conflict. In 2014 she moved to the UK where she completed a Master in Development Studies at the University of Manchester.