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Durham University

Department of Geography

News Archive

Prestigious Royal Geographical Research Grant Awarded to Undergraduate Student

(2 June 2016)

Rudra plans to undertake overseas dissertation research in Dharavi, Mumbai, India during July and September of 2016 for a total of nine weeks as part of her dissertation project. In partnership with a local nongovernmental organisation, she plans to examine how representations of Dharavi as a slum neighbourhood contrast with residents’ perceptions of the impact and importance of local entrepreneurial schemes. She plans to use a combination of qualitative methods, including semi-structured and photo elicitation interviews, focus groups, and participant observation of entrepreneurial activities in the community to allow her to examine how residents understand and contest external representations of the slum neighbourhood, and the consequences of different representations for wider processes of urban development and the development of new political spaces.

Dr Kate Coddington enthused about Rudra's project explaining how it was original in two important ways: "It examines the local perspectives of a population that are well-studied from the outside, but often contribute little of their own perspective to scholarship. Also, it provides concrete data about the role of entrepreneurial projects within local residents' understandings of themselves and their place in the world - too often, such development initiatives are conducted without such detailed follow-up as to their effectiveness and impact. As such, the project offers key potential contributions to development geography".

The Henrietta Hutton Memorial Fund offers research grants to students who intend to undertake field research overseas as an individual or as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Two grants of £500 each are awarded annually. The intention is that one grant should go to an undergraduate and the other to a postgraduate student. The grants are given in memory of Henrietta Hutton, a young Oxford graduate who died in 1963. She was a founder member of the Oxford University Women’s Exploration Club and a widely respected ornithologist.