This year the Ghent Centre for Global Studies aims to build upon the topicality of the last year’s  seminar series on Globalisation and Crisis, by addressing the key issue of the societal valorisation of Global Studies research to address global societal challenges. In keeping with the partial reorientation of the Centre for Global Studies towards a greater emphasis on social impact, we wish to organize knowledge exchange sessions on outreach and interactions with non-academic professionals and stakeholders (policy-makers, civil society, the arts and the general public), to provide our PhD students with insights and tools that can help them increase their social impact.

As such this year’s Global Studies Research Seminar will be on offer as a transferable skills course of the Doctoral School Arts, Humanities and Law of Ghent University. The course is open to PhD students from other faculties and universities as well, and motivated Master students and postdocs interested in global studies and social impact, are also most welcome to join.

Both internationally and at Ghent University impact and valorization of academic research are becoming increasingly important. Moreover, due to the kind of critical and reflexive research they conduct, Global Studies PhD students are often highly committed to reciprocity towards the social groups and communities they study, and strongly motivated to contribute to social change, beyond academia. Yet, systematic training on policy influence, co-creation, (social) media and outreach, geared towards the interdisciplinary field of Global Studies research, is still lacking – a gap we wish to start to fill during this year’s Global Studies Research Seminar.

We will critically discuss the different concepts – impact, valorisation, outreach, public engagement, dissemination, knowledge transfer/exchange, etc. – and their relevance in the political economy of academia. We will debate public engagement of academics and the societal role of universities in general, and of Global Studies researchers in particular. Interdisciplinarity – a core feature of Global Studies – is often put forward as a prerequisite for meaningful social impact. We will discuss the enabling and disabling factors for interdisciplinary collaboration, both within Social Sciences and Humanities, and with natural/STEMM sciences, as well as the arts, in keeping with recent ground-breaking innovative research in Global Studies (e.g. on the Anthropocene cf. Jason Moore, guest speaker in the Global Studies Research Seminar of 2016 and Anna Tsing, keynote lecturer at the Global Studies Research Day in 2016 at Ghent University). In more hands-on training sessions we will subsequently discuss the promises and pitfalls of policy influence, artistic collaborations, (social) media, and co-creation with civil society.


6 sessions – from February to May – Thursdays from 2 to 5 pm (except May 2 – Wednesday)

Introductory session – February 15

Practical arrangements & assignments; introduction to Global Studies and Social Impact

Key words: political economy of academia, interdisciplinarity, global societal challenges, outreach, methods and ethics of global studies research, outreach, participatory research methodology, public engagement and engaged scholarship


  • Julie Carlier (coordinator of the Ghent Centre for Global Studies)
  • ​Sami Zemni (Middle East and North Africa Research Group)

Global Studies in Parliament – the promises and pitfalls of policy influence – March 1

Key words: processes of political agenda-setting and policy-making, politics of knowledge transfer and exchange, short-term and long-term influence, conditions, strategies and capacities for policy-influencing


Global Studies on Stage – artistic expressions and collaborations – March 22

Key words: collaborations in performance and visual arts, cartoons, theatre, (film) festivals etc.


#Global Studies – old and new (social) media – April 19

Key words: visual anthropology / ethnography, documentary film-making, (social) media


Global Studies and civil society – participatory (action) research methods – Wednesday (!) May 2

Key words: collaborations with civil society and (local) communities, cross-sectoral cooperation and research (design), participatory research, action research


  • Andrea Cornwall (School of Global Studies, University of Sussex) – cancelled
  • Pascal Debruyne (Middle East and North Africa Research Group, UGent)

Closing session – May 24

Students present their own proposal for social impact of their research (impact plan / pathway to impact) and develop one of the 4 methods / channels of the thematic seminars:

  • policy brief
  • artistic expression
  • (social) media strategy
  • co-creation plan