Professor Andrew Skuse
Professor Andrew Skuse is Head of the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies and manages the Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit (ACCRU). He holds an undergraduate degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from University College London. His professional work focuses on how the poor interact with information resources and how these resources affect areas such as livelihoods, health, education, peace-building and social equity. Skuse has consulted widely on the role of C4D and ICTs in the developing world for numerous international development agencies, including ADB, AusAID, DFID, EU, GTZ and WHO. Skuse previously worked as a Social Development Adviser for the UK Department for International Development. (DFID) where he was responsible for the area of communications for development. His publications span both applied and academic fields and he has worked in many countries, including: Afghanistan, China, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, Pacific Region, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
My principal research contribution focuses on the roles that communication and access to information play in supporting processes of development, poverty reduction, empowerment, humanitarianism and social change. Much of this work has involved revealing how poor people use information communication technologies in developing country contexts, often in the face of acute emergencies. My research to date has made a number of specific contributions to this field that include:
- Communication and complex emergencies: my work on the role of communication and complex emergencies has helped to inform both academic and practitioner audiences. My research in Afghanistan on the role of radio drama as a tool of humanitarianism broke new ground in terms of providing one of the first analyses of how drama for development initiatives are both produced and consumed, as well as the social impact that they have. This work was further developed and broadened to include a focus on the wider role of the media, including the provision of inter-ethnic reporting and conflict mitigation in the widely disseminated UK Department for International Development (DFID) publication Working with the Media in Conflict and Other Emergencies (2000). Since, then I have published regularly on drama and its role in aspects of conflict mitigation and have undertaken critical analyses for the BBC World Service Trust on the Afghan media context. More recently (2012), I have undertaken a systematic review for AusAID that looked at the factors that contribute to successful communication interventions in fragile states. This work involved a partnership between InterMedia, ABC International Development and Joanna Briggs Institute and has been disseminated to the influential International Lessons Leaned community, which explores the interface between military and civil actors working in conflict-affected countries. The uptake of this work has drawn interest from Government departments, with the Australian Civil-Military Centre providing funding to examine the impact of social media and networking in recent conflicts/emergencies. This work has resulted in the publication of three papers, an extensive annotated bibliography, an issues paper on social media, social networking and complex emergencies, as well as a comprehensive resource guide for communication practitioners. These three publications can be viewed at: https://www.acmc.gov.au/publications/communication-and-complex-emergencies-project/
- Entertainment-Education, mass media and development: my work on mainstream terrestrial ICTs and specifically on entertainment-education has been influential in developing both an ethnographic analysis on audience impact, while also analysing the intriguing politics of drama production. Within the mainstream literature on drama and soap opera studies, there is a dearth of data focusing on production, and the same is true for drama for development. The value and innovation in following the circuit of production, as well as of consumption, is that it provides insight into the meanings producers and dramatists invest in their outputs, including how and why specific messages are formed. This enables analysis of the ‘slippage’ of meaning that occurs between producers and consumers over various development issues. While focusing on the behaviour change dimensions of drama for development, my work also highlights how drama can peddle dominant (western) worldviews and promote public diplomacy. The Sage Publications volume Drama for Development (2011), for which I was lead editor and a significant contributor, represents a key output in this area and reflects a close partnership between the University of Adelaide, The Open University, SOAS and University of Amsterdam. This book was a major output of the ‘Tuning-in: Research Diasporas at the BBC World Service’ project of the Diasporas Migration and Identities Research Program, United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council. Details may be viewed at: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/cam/drama-for-development/book236788.
- ICTs, poverty and empowerment: my work on information and communication technologies, poverty and empowerment has helped to advance our understanding of contemporary poverty issues. This body of work examines how poor people integrate themselves into networks (either technological or social) and are able to make use of critical information flows that impact upon the sustainability of their livelihoods. My paper Information communication technologies, poverty and empowerment (2000) was one of the first analyses of poverty and ICTs by a major bilateral donor (DFID) and has been well cited (31), but has exerted more influence at an organisation level, with numerous other donors and development-focused organisations making reference to it, or offering it for download on their websites. This paper helped to inform sections of the UK Government White Paper on Development (2000) and is referenced in that White Paper as a key source. In addition to this significant impact, my work in South Africa has been influential in helping both academic and practitioner audiences understand how poor people access and use mobile telecommunications. This work emerged from collaboration with LSE, UCL and QUT and has yielded a number of well-cited, high quality, journal articles in A and A*-rated journals (according to the Excellence in Research for Australia [ERA] rankings) that reveal the importance of mobile telecommunications in maintaining social networks and mitigating aspects of poverty in a context in which the history of rural-urban labour migration runs deep. Subsequent to this, work on ARC Linkage projects with partners such as UNESCO, UNDP and Equal Access, has yielded influential analyses of poverty, ICTs and digital exclusion in South Asia that has been used up by a number of development organisations, as well as analysis of the complexity of information and communication networks at the local level. See: http://betterevaluation.org/sites/default/files/EA_PM%26E_toolkit_front_pages%26introduction_for_publication.pdf
- Media sector strengthening: My work in the field of media sector strengthening has supported initiatives such as the AusAID-funded ABC International Development Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) and the AusAID/USAID-funded MTV EXIT anti-human trafficking campaign. Such initiatives work in partnership with local media organisations, especially state media, to improve their practice and professionalism. Such improvements, especially around news reporting, supports better governance by increasing accountability and transparency. In this respect, my work has had a clear focus on media sector assessment and has informed discussion of sectoral benchmarking (for media freedoms and diversity), monitoring and evaluation processes, and gender mainstreaming. An example of my work around media strengthening for increased accountability work can be found http://www.pacmas.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/MDI-SANA-final.pdf
- Social and behavioural change: much the work that I have engaged in throughout my career has concerned aspects of social and behavioural change. Development is essentially a process of directed change and there has always been a concern within both its policy and practice to empower individuals and communities with information, with tools, with access to services, justice and so on. My work has helped to advance our understanding of how normative culture can constrain behaviour change at individual and community levels and block social change. Using a range of methodological tools, my work has revealed how ethnographic investments in formative and ongoing research can yield insights that help C4D practitioners better-understand how to target their key messages, i.e. around heath, conflict reduction and so on, at key risk groups. In addition to revealing an academic understanding of social and behavioural change, my work has informed communication for development practice in a very concrete way through my work in areas such as heath, media strengthening and human trafficking with organisations such as the ABC International Development, Philippines National TB Control Program, Government of Tonga, MTV EXIT and WHO. Most recently I have developed an extensive toolkit for UNICEF (New York) that enables UNICEF staff and other communication practitioners to rapidly develop communication strategies for use during emergencies. UNICEF is currently formatting the Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit for publication. My work with MTV on the End Trafficking and Exploitation Program (EXIT) yielded a number of outputs including a comprehensive Phase IV Project Document and review. See: http://dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/Documents/mtv-exit-iii-review-report.pdf
- Methodological tools and program evaluation: my work has advanced the development of a range of methodological tools that have supported the ability of C4D practitioners to collect and analyse data. My work on ARC Linkage grants concerned both academic and methodological dimensions, and especially how methods can give poor people an opportunity to participate, as well as to capture aspects of social change. Notably, my work has helped to extend initial work on the Ethnographic Action Research methodology through the addition of a much stronger focus on participatory methods and tools. This methodology provides a dedicated ICT-focused set of tools that help to inform program development and evaluation principally at the community level. Details of some of this work can be found at: http://ear.findingavoice.org
|2015||Greenland, N. & Skuse, A. J. (2015). Remediating modernity: youth, role models and behaviour change in ‘new Nepal’. Communication, Politics & Culture, 48, 2, 59-77.|
|2015||Wilmore, M., Rodger, D., Humphreys, S., Clifton, V., Dalton, J., Flabouris, M. & Skuse, A. (2015). How midwives tailor health information used in antenatal care. Midwifery, 31, 1, 74-79.
|2014||Dalton, J., Rodger, D., Wilmore, M., Skuse, A., Humphreys, S., Flabouris, M. & Clifton, V. (2014). "Who's afraid?": attitudes of midwives to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for delivery of pregnancy-related health information. Women and Birth, 27, 3, 168-173.
|2013||Rodger, D., Skuse, A., Wilmore, M., Humphreys, S., Dalton, J., Flabouris, M. & Clifton, V. (2013). Pregnant women's use of information and communications technologies to access pregnancy-related health information in South Australia. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 19, 4, 308-312.
|2013||Brimacombe, T. & Skuse, A. (2013). Gender, ICTs, and indicators: measuring inequality and change. Gender, Technology and Development, 17, 2, 131-157.
|2013||Skuse, A., Rodger, D., Power, G., Friguglietti, D. & Brimacombe, T. (2013). Communication for development interventions in fragile states: a systematic review. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 11, 3, 1-190.
|2011||Skuse, A. (2011). Radio sound and social realism: In the terrain of drama for development production. Gazette (Print Edition), 73, 7, 595-609.
|2011||Skuse, A., Rodger, D., Power, G., Taurakoto, M. & MBus, D. (2011). Communication for Development Interventions in Fragile States: a systematic review.. JBI Libr Syst Rev, 9, 64 Suppl, 1-15.|
|2011||Skuse, A. & Gillespie, M. (2011). Designs, devices & development: audience research as creative resource in the making of an Afghan radio drama. Participations: journal of audience and reception studies, 8, 1, 132-153.|
|2010||Skuse, A. (2010). Sweet tales of the Sarangi: creative strategies and 'cosmopolitan' radio drama in Nepal. South Asian Diaspora, 2, 1, 95-108.
|2008||Skuse, A. & Cousins, T. (2008). Getting connected: the social dynamics of urban telecommunications access and use in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. New Media & Society, 10, 1, 9-26.
|2007||Skuse, A. & Cousins, T. (2007). Managing distance: Rural poverty and the promise of communication in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 42, 2, 185-207.
|2007||du Toit, A., Skuse, A. & Cousins, T. (2007). The political economy of social capital: Chronic poverty, remoteness and gender in the rural Eastern Cape. Social Identities, 13, 4, 521-540.
|2007||Skuse, A. & Cousins, T. (2007). Spaces of resistance: Informal settlement communication and community organisation in a Cape Town township. Urban Studies, 44, 5-6, 979-995.
|2007||Skuse, A. & Cousins, T. (2007). Spaces of Resistance: Informal Settlement, Communication and Community Organisation in a Cape Town Township. Urban Studies, 44, 5-6, 979-995.|
|2007||Skuse, A. (2007). 'Misreading romance' The BBC World Service Afghan radio soap opera and the politics of production and consumption. Southern Review, 39, 3, 52-69.|
|2005||Skuse, A. (2005). Enlivened objects - The social life, death and rebirth of radio as commodity in Afghanistan. Journal of Material Culture, 10, 2, 123-137.
|2005||Skuse, A. (2005). Voices of freedom - Afghan politics in radio soap opera. Ethnography, 6, 2, 159-181.
|2002||Skuse, A. (2002). Radio, politics and trust in Afghanistan. Gazette (Print Edition), 64, 3, 267-279.
|2002||Skuse, A. (2002). Vagueness, familiarity and social realism: making meaning of radio soap opera in south-east Afghanistan. Media Culture & Society, 24, 3, 409-427.
|2014||Skuse, A. J., Brimacombe, T. & Rodger, D. (2014). Communication and complex emergencies: a resource guide. Australian Government.|
|2014||Skuse, A. J. & Brimacombe, T. (2014). Social networking, social media and complex emergencies: issues paper. Australian Government.|
|2013||Skuse, A. J. & Brimacombe, T. (2013). Social networking, social media and complex emergencies: an annotated bibliography. Australian Government.|
|2011||A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.) (2011). Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change. United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2007||Skuse, A., Fildes, J., Tacchi, J., Martin, K. & Baulch, E. (2007). Poverty and digitial inclusion - Preliminary findings of Finding a Voice Project. India: UNESCO Publishing.|
|2006||Nair, S., Jennaway, M. & Skuse, A. (2006). Local information networks: Social and technological considerations. New Delhi, India: UNESCO Publishing.|
|2017||Rodger, D., Skuse, A. & Wilmore, M. (2017). `Passing time': a qualitative study of health promotion practices in an antenatal clinic waiting room. In A. Luce, V. Hundley & E. van Teijlingen (Eds.), Midwifery, Childbirth and the Media (pp. 79-96). Springer.|
|2013||Skuse, A. (2013). Communication for development and public diplomacy: Insights from an Afghan radio drama. In M. Gillespie & A. Webb (Eds.), Diasporas and Diplomacy: Cosmopolitan contact zones at the BBC World Service (1932-2012) (pp. 193-210). United Kingdom: Routledge.
|2011||Skuse, A. (2011). Re-framing Drama for Development. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. 1-22). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2011||Skuse, A. & Gillespie, M. (2011). Broadcasting 'The State': Tribe, Citizenship and the Politics of Radio Drama Production in Afghanistan. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. 135-157). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2011||Skuse, A. & Wilmore, M. (2011). Dramatising 'New Nepal'. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. 158-177). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2011||Skuse, A. & Gillespie, M. (2011). Gossiping for Change: Dramatising 'Blood Debt' in Afghanistan. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. 273-294). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2011||Skuse, A. (2011). 'Creative Tensions': Audience Research and the Representational Challenge of Dramatising Opium Substitution in Afghanistan. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. 71-90). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2011||Skuse, A., Gillespie, M. & Power, G. (2011). Introduction: Drama for Development - Cultural Translation and Social Change. In A. Skuse, M. Gillespie & G. Power (Eds.), Drama for Development: Cultural Translation and Social Change (pp. ix-xi). United Kingdom: Sage Publishing/Sage Publications.|
|2009||Lennie, J., Skuse, A. & Koirala, B. (2009). Developing a participatory impact assessment approach and action research culture within a communication for social change organisation in Nepal. Perspectives on Impact Evaluation: Approaches to Assessing Development Effectiveness International Conference. Cairo.|
|2008||Lennie, J., Skuse, A., Tacchi, J. & Wilmore, M. (2008). Challenges, issues and contradictions in a participatory impact assessment project in Nepal. AES International Conferences. Perth.|
|2008||Skuse, A., Gillespie, M. & Saville, E. (2008). New home new life: Integrating people's stories in radio drama in Afghanistan. International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference. Canada.|
|2008||Skuse, A. & Gillespie, M. (2008). Drama for development in Afghanistan: knowledge, power and participatory citizenship?. Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) Annual Conference. UK.|
|2007||Skuse, A. & Fildes, J. (2007). The value of socio-cultural animators in poverty reduction technological knowledge and ICT's. Symposia on Communication for Social Development. Hyderabad, India.|
|2013||Rodger, D., Skuse, A., Wilmore, M., Humphreys, A., Clifton, V. & Dalton, J. (2013). Google’s My Mate: Information Seeking Habits of Pregnant Women in South Australia. Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) 17th Annual Congress. Adelaide, Australia..|
|2013||Dalton, J., Clifton, V., Rodger, D., Skuse, A., Wilmore, M., Humphreys, A. & Flabouris, M. (2013). Who’s Afraid of ICTs? The Attitudes of Midwives in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to Deliver Pregnancy-Related Health Information in South Australia. Collaboration 2013: Women’s Healthcare Australasia. Gold Coast, Australia..|
|2013||Rodger, D., Dalton, J., Wilmore, M., Humphreys, A., Clifton, V. & Skuse, A. (2013). Google’s my mate: information seeking habits of pregnant women in South Australia. 17th Annual Congress of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ 2013). Adelaide, South Australia.
|2012||Rodger, D. & Skuse, A. (2012). Smart Phone ‘Apps’ and their Role in Supporting Improved Health Outcomes. ANZCA 2012: Communicating Change and Changing Communication in the 21st Century. Adelaide, Australia..|
|2017||Skuse, A., (2017). Communication pour le développement en cas d’Urgence: Guide de ressources et formation pour Madagascar,|
|2017||Skuse, A. J., Brimacombe, T. & Wakelam, J., (2017). Information Communication Technologies, Innovation and Social Enterprise in Timor-Leste,|
|2015||Skuse, A. J., (2015). Communication for development and emergencies: a review of existing approaches and tools, UNICEF and University of Adelaide,|
|2015||Skuse, A. J., (2015). Herramientas de Comunicación para la Acción Humanitaria,|
|2012||Skuse, A. J. & Downman, S., (2012). MTV EXIT ASIA III : A campaign to increase awareness and prevention of trafficking in persons (Independent Review), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT),|
|2012||Skuse, A. J., (2012). MTV EXIT Asia Phase IV Design Document, MTV EXIT,|
|2011||Skuse, A. J., (2011). Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Journalism Training Study,|
|2011||Lennie, J, , Tacchi, J., Koirala, B., Wilmore, M. & Skuse, A. J., (2011). Equal Access Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit: Helping communication for development organisations to demonstrate impact, listen and learn, and improve their practices,|
|2011||Skuse, A. J., (2011). Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Program Design Document 2011-12 to 2014-15, ABC International Development,|
|2010||Skuse, A. J., (2010). Pacific Media Benchmarks (2005),|
|2006||Skuse, A. J., (2006). Voices of change: strategic radio support for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Department for International Development (DFID),|
|2005||Skuse, A. J. & Power, F., (2005). AIDS communication, Department for International Development,|
|2005||Miller, D., Skuse, A. J., Slater, D., Tacchi, J., Chandola, T., Cousins, T. ... Kwami, J., (2005). Information Society: Emergent Technologies and Development Communities in the South (Final Report), Information Society Research Group (ISRG),|
|2004||Skuse, A. J., Butler, N., Power, F. & Woods, N., (2004). Radio broadcasting for health: a decision maker's guide, Department for International Development, London,|
|2000||Skuse, A. J., (2000). Working with the media in conflicts and other emergencies, UK Department for International Development,|
|2015||Skuse, A. J.; (2015); Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit;|
|2006||Du Toit, A., Skuse, A. J. & Cousins, T.; (2006); The political economy of social capital: chronic poverty, remoteness and gender in rural Eastern Cape;|
|2001||Skuse, A. J.; (2001); Information communication technologies, poverty and empowerment;|
|2016||Skuse, A. J.; (2016); Emergency Communication Resources Online;|
|2007||Skuse, A. J., Tacchi, J., Fildes, J, & Baulch, E.; (2007); Ethnographic Action Research Training Handbook;|
|2015||Skuse, A. J., Clifton, V., Wilmore, M., Rodger, D., Dalton, J. & Humphreys, S.; (2015); Health-e Baby App;|
- University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Grant 2015 (Skuse co-investigator). Maximizing the potential of online behaviour change interventions: Determining the antecedents of user engagement. Collaboration between Medicine, Psychology, Social Sciences and Adelaide Business School. Research Team: C. Short, A. Skuse, P. Quester and M. Dry. Value A$20,000;
- Australian Civil-Military Centre 2013-14 (Skuse lead investigator). Communication and Complex Emergencies. Collaboration between ACMC and University of Adelaide. Research Team: A. Skuse, T. Brimacombe & R. Rodger. Value A$123,000;
- Australian Research Council Linkage 2011-13 (Skuse lead investigator). E-health communication strategy and design. Collaboration between University of Adelaide, the Lyell McEwin Hospital, and Health SA. Research Team: A. Skuse, V. Clifton, M. Wilmore, S. Humphreys & D. Bruton. Value A$ 300,000;
- AusAID Systematic Review 2011-2012 (Skuse lead investigator). Communication for Development Interventions in Fragile States: a Systematic Review. Collaboration between the University of Adelaide, ABC International Developement, InterMedia Europe and WanSmal Bag (Vanuatu). Research Team: A. Skuse, G. Power, D. Friguglietti, & M. Taurakoto. Value A$87,000;
- UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 2007-2010 (Skuse co-investigator). Tuning In: Diasporic Contact Zones at the BBC World Service. Collaboration between the University of Adelaide, Open University, School of Oriental and African Studies and University of Amsterdam. Research Team: M. Gillespie, A. Skuse, M. Srebreny, J. Toynbee, K. Woodward & G. Bauman. Value UK£496,000
- Australian Research Council Linkage 2007-2010 (Skuse co-investigator). Assessing Communication for Social Change. Collaboration between Queensland University of Technology, University of Adelaide and Equal Access (Nepal). Research Team: J. Tacchi, A. Skuse & M. Wilmore.Value A$393,000;
- Australian Research Council Linkage 2005-2007 (Skuse co-investigator). Finding a Voice: Making Technological Change Socially Effective and Culturally Empowering. Collaboration between the University of Adelaide, Queensland University of Technology, UNESCO (New Delhi) and UNDP (Jakarta). Research Team: J. Tacchi, A. Skuse, S. Cunningham & H. Pillay. Value A$590,000;
- UK Department for International Development 2003-2005 (Skuse lead investigator). Social Sciences Research Grant. Information Society a comparative study of ICTs, poverty and development. Collaboration between University of Adelaide, Queensland University of Technology, University College London and London School of Economics. Research Team: A. Skuse, J. Tacchi, D. Miller & D. Slater.Value UK£250,000.
I currently teach the following undergraduate courses and more detail can be found by following the attached links:
ANTH 2036 - Anthropology of Conflict and Crisis
The course addresses the issues of conflict and complex political and ecological emergencies from a comparative anthropological perspective. Case studies are drawn from countries such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Northern Ireland. This course introduces students to some of the methodological issues surrounding doing fieldwork in dangerous locations and addresses a number of core themes that include: food and famine; violence and evil; terror, fear and suffering; war and visual culture, media culture and spiritualism; and conflict, global governance and the global economy.
DEVT 2100 - Poverty and Social Development
Among the biggest challenges facing the global community today are the eradication of poverty and inequality, and the needs of social development. This course introduces students to the history of the concept of poverty, the culture of poverty, the causes of poverty and its effects. Intersections between poverty and health, human rights and education will be explored in a variety of international contexts. Policies designed to reduce poverty will be analysed at both the global or international level and from community perspectives. Case studies of poverty assessments and poverty reduction projects will be a major feature of course content. The course also introduces social development, with emphasis on understanding and planning for socially sensitive development. Global attention to social development, such as the World Bank's plan and the World Summit on social development will be explored.
I currently supervise eight PhD students undertaking research in the following areas:
- Public Art in Adelaide
- The anthropology of Adelaide Zoo
- Gender and new information and communication technologies in the Pacific
- Homelessness, gender and vulnerability in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Public and activist art in Athens, Greece
- Migration adpation amongst Afrikaners in Australia
- New digital music cultures
- Subcultural expressions
In addition, I supervise students at Honours level and a number of students undertaking internships.