Strengthening the democratic contribution of NGOs and nonprofit organisations


“I have a private plane. But I fly commercial when I go to environmental conferences” – Arnold Schwarzenegger I am just back from a voluntary sector conference in Nottingham last Thursday. I really debated whether to go or not. I was running a workshop in Dublin on Friday so it meant flying in and out of Nottingham in one day and all that comes with that (organising a babysitter, making.. Read More

The Indefinite Article

Looking up exhausted, I catch my husband’s eye and say with some force: “I never want to do that again”. No I am not talking about childbirth, but rather my first solo foray into the mysterious world of academic publishing. Just like that first pregnancy I wandered into it with a clear enough sense of the desirable outcome, but absolutely no idea what I was letting myself in for. What.. Read More

To lose one supervisor may be regarded as a misfortune…

… to lose two looks like carelessness So, I am up and running with supervisor no. 3, and actually I am pretty happy.  Just to remind us, I started with John Baker, but after a year and a half he retired.  He retired but in fairness was always very clear about staying involved in the project, which was and is great.  Sara Cantillon then took over, officially for a year and.. Read More

I don’t really understand the point of your argument…

Oh… but you don’t say that in the paper. Didn’t I? I had an interesting experience in my annual PhD roundtable presentation this evening.  It felt in some ways more like an attack than a discussion, and I am left trying to think that I learned from the experience. I presented my first case study, or at least the write up of my first case study on EAPN Ireland.  Its.. Read More

My first… conference paper!

Annual PSAI conference in Dublin on 20 October… well, it was not a big crowd, which maybe was just as well as I was a bit nervous going into it. The paper was on the democratic case for CSO advocacy, and went something like this: lots of problems with democracy, one of the answers is more participation, but different ideas of what participation is, CSOs have important role in participation in general.. Read More

Transfer Assessment

30 May 2013 Sara, Maureen, John and Kathleen I was not worried about the Transfer Assessment, it was clear that it was a formal process and I would not have been put forward for it if I was not ready.  The panel involved giving a short presentation of the research, I had a powerpoint set up from last year so I just needed to up date it.  It was useful.. Read More

Chapter 1. Draft 1.

I’ve sent it. Nervous. So before I get any feedback on it here’s what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of my first attempt at a theoretical chapter on participatory democracy. Strengths: Its a bona fide piece of writing, written down into paragraphs with a structure! I think it ends up connecting to my research question, in other words it has the beginnings of an ‘NGO test’ which might.. Read More

So will your thesis have a gender perspective?

Uhm…. The G question, always throws me… ‘where is the gender analysis in that?’ … ah… uhm…. yes of course, not problem, its just…. So it happened again tonight at the PhD roundtable, we were discussing someone’s work about gender and and the 1913 lockout, interesting stuff says I – in a ‘has nothing to do with what I am doing’, sort of a way. The reading was an article.. Read More

Sorry I am late… I had a meeting with my doctoral panel!

I quite like the sound of that, sounds serious! I have a doctoral panel. Four people who are charged with offering me feedback, support and constructive criticism.  Feels like a bit of a luxury to be honest, I can’t remember ever having four people read something I have written and offer me thoughtful and considered feedback. I was quite excited going in, nervous in fact.  Me facing four experienced academics!.. Read More