Louise Stoddard: News from the black hole

Development Policy28 Aug 2009Louise Stoddard

Two years ago, I sat in the corridor of the Octagon Building of IDS with a laptop on my knees, helping to post up the DSA 2007 conference blog. As I was working, various participants stopped to ask for directions to save themselves from walking round and round in circles within a building known as the ‘black hole’ of IDS. Once you enter the Octagon Building, you could be lost forever.

Two years later, I am preparing to head out to Belfast for the 2009 DSA conference, where I shall again be involved with the blog for The Broker, reporting back news from the conference floor and hopefully opening up little portholes of focus within the larger vessel that is the DSA.

We meet together at the DSA this year within quite a different ‘black hole’ to the 2007 conference. Reading through the list of parallel sessions, words such as ‘resilience’, ‘crisis’, ‘turbulent’ and ‘urgency’ seem to jump from the page. The world has changed – that is evident – and the title of this year’s conference ‘Current Crises and New Opportunities’ reflects this. In writing this conference blog, I hope that the other guest contributors and I can bring some fresh and positive perspectives from the ‘black hole’ and signpost these back to those in and outside the conference. So I warmly welcome participants and readers alike to read, comment and take part online.