Global Development Institute Blog

In 2024, the Global Development Institute will host a programme of communities of practice, inviting alumni, academics, students, and development practitioners to come together and discuss some of the pressing problems facing development leaders today.

Sessions will take place online and are open to all. If you’d like to discover more about communities of practice before signing up, we’ve put together some helpful information below.


What are communities of practice?

Communities of practice embody a simple idea – to bring together a group of people keen to cross institutional or organisational boundaries and share knowledge, practical advice, tools, and visions for the future. The purpose of such an event is not just to absorb information, but to actively engage in building knowledge that will benefit others and the wider development landscape.

Communities of practice are generous spaces designed for exploration and open discussion. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a student hoping to pursue a career in development, a community of practice could provide valuable knowledge and connections that benefit your career and those your work aims to support.


What are the benefits of communities of practice?

Communities of practice adopt a different format to traditional seminars and lectures. So, what are the benefits?


Bridging the gap between academia and the wider development landscape

Universities represent vital sites of critical knowledge production that may inform policy and practices surrounding global development. However, the nature of academic publishing and knowledge dissemination means there aren’t always abundant opportunities for scholars to discuss vital issues with people working on the ground. Communities of practice address this gap, helping attendees approach deep and complex problems from a multi-perspectival angle. In so doing, they may enrich and make more impactful both academic and practical work.


Fostering a global community committed to promoting social justice

Working in global development roles can be stressful and, at times, lonely. Communities of practice may combat this issue, helping attendees avoid burnout by fostering a supportive and solidaristic atmosphere. Communities of practice may also help alumni stay connected to an institution like the University of Manchester while providing new connections with external development organisations and professionals.


Equipping attendees with new skills and ideas

The field of global development is constantly evolving in line with a fast-changing world. As such, a career in development involves lifelong learning and adaptation to new circumstances. Communities of practice provide an opportunity to engage in continuous learning, empowering attendees to solve complex challenges collectively.


Feeling inspired? Sign up for an upcoming community of practice

As you can see, there are plenty of excellent reasons to dedicate a little time to attending a community of practice. Whatever your career stage, we encourage you to sign up for a session and join our welcoming and inclusive discussions. We will be hosting sessions on a variety of themes, so do keep your eyes peeled for topics that speak to your interests. We also encourage you to spread the word among colleagues and students who may be interested!


Top image by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.