The anti-racist narratives review of the International Institute for Environment and Development, UK
Keywords:racial justice, decolonization, research ethics, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, sustainable development, storytelling, International Institute for Environment and Development
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is a UK based research institute. Founded in 1973, IIED’s mission is to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action, and influence in partnership with others. The institute’s earliest research took place while political, economic, and civic unrest in many ex-colonies or newly independent countries were still shaping ideas about sustainable development. IIED’s research and influencing focuses on many of these ex-colonies, as such, the institute’s staff work alongside researchers and practitioners in South America, East, West and Central Africa, and South Asia. Research topics include human settlements, access to sustainable diets, green economies, and climate change among others. This case study shares insights from an IIED internal narratives review exploring the extent to which IIED research and communications products sufficiently acknowledges the racism – colonial exploitation, and systemic racism that sits beneath the surface of the issues the institute writes about. This work was instigated as a result of internal concern and interest from Black staff, and staff of colour, that substantial amounts of IIED content (and discourse) was created in the absence of important historical and cultural contexts. The review process elicited uncomfortable, yet necessary conversations that resulted in a roadmap for change to guide IIED towards the publication of research and communications content that engages with issues of racism within its narratives. This case study was written by IIED’s advocacy and engagement manager who led the internal narratives analysis review. It shares insights and learning from the review process.
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