The Economic History Department of the University of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, hosted a one-day training and capacity building Workshop on the 17th of March 2018 at the Confucius Institute within the main campus of the University of Zimbabwe. This was made possible by Travel Grant from the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx), as part of the initiative’s commitment to foster the establishment of equitable and sustainable collaborations between African Academics.
The broad aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for early career scholars and postdocs to interact with each other and academics in their field. It brought together 50 participants from Zimbabwe (University of Zimbabwe, Great Zimbabwe University, and Midlands State University) and 7 academics from the University of Oxford including Miles Tendi, Simukai Chigudu and Dan Hodgkinson. The workshop organisers were Prof. Ushehwedu Kufakurinani and Prof. Jocelyn Alexander.
The organisers, detailing the success of this workshop as a capacity and relationship building collaboration, stated:
“At policy level, the workshop was an essential building block in the strategic goals of the university in capacity building and the forging of synergies to enhance academic excellence. The Oxford delegation led the morning session and outlined the wide range of opportunities for study at Oxford University and the rigors of the application process. Our local students were indeed inspired by the fact that the visiting delegation had three Zimbabwean nationals (two scholars and one student).
The mid-morning and afternoon sessions were devoted to two key elements of scholarship namely the essentials of publishing in peer reviewed academic journals and the possibilities of joint research projects. The Oxford team gave advice from their experience as board members of the Journal of Southern African Studies, one of the best area studies journals in Africa. The delegates then broke into smaller groups led by senior scholars where ideas were shared on research experiences and how to improve research and writing in younger scholars. The group discussions were the major highlight of the day because younger scholars were afforded the opportunity ask pertinent questions about research and writing. A number of areas of common interest emerged that may possibly result in collaborative work in future.”
Several areas of common interest emerged from the workshop and the organisers hope that these may possibly result in more collaborative work in the future.