Blogging for development, democracy and human rights – introducing the 5th year of the Trinity College Dublin blog series

The seven finalists, which will be published weekly from today on international Human Rights Day. Founding member of the initiative Michelle D’Arcy of Trinity College Dublin introduces the student-led blog series now entering its fifth year.

This is the fifth year that Trinity has partnered with to run a blog competition for students taking my module on ‘Democracy and Development’. We challenge them to find a development issue that they relate to personally. The range of topics and creative means of communication used is always inspiring – from electronic waste to homelessness to how we view development.  This partnership with enables students to get their voices heard on a wider platform and explore these issues beyond academic texts.

This year is no different. These blogs tackle tricky questions and interrogate development issues with honesty and rigour. The seven finalist touch on a wide range of human rights and international development issues, ideas and struggles.

Brennan O’Toole, in her blog Health Wealth: Inequality in ‘well being’ across the world questions why approaches to health in the developing world leave out mental health. In his blog on Smart Cities Developments – impacts on democracy and why we should remain critical George Wade looks beyond the utopian goals of smart city initiatives to probe their problematic side effects. Roksana Verahrami in her blog Prostitution is not what you think it is takes an unflinching look at the reality of prostitution and sex trafficking. In her blog Basketball – more than just fun and games Jane Litvin shares an inspiring story that shows the power of sport to bring us together and empower women.

In her blog Patagonia and the Commodification of Sustainability Rhiannon Mulligan challenges us to make sense of the ways that sustainable consumerism has now become trendy.  Grace McGinnis in her blog Understanding Development within the Black Power Movement tracks the ways in which student activism within the Black Power Movement engaged with development and linked struggles abroad to the civil rights movement in the US. In his blog Staying Warm Ethan Kudler reflects on how developed countries fail to fulfill the basic human need for warmth for many of their citizens.

Development is a lived experience and tapping into that from whatever angle is meaningful to us as individuals is a vital part of being an engaged citizen. We hope these blogs will inspire you to reflect on how development touches your life and what each of us as individuals can do to make a difference.

  • Michelle D’Arcy is assistant professor in political science at Trinity College Dublin.

Photo credit: Basketball in Sarajevo (1992). Children playing basketball in the burnt out district of Sarajevo during a break in the shelling. Copyright © Tom Stoddart