Disaster Capitalism: A night with Australian award winning film maker Antony Loewenstein, and panel discussion with UQ's own Professor Peter Greste and Dr Heloise Weber.

26 April 2018

Around 80 students from the Development Practice postgraduate cohort, alongside undergraduate development students, and joined by staff and the general public, gathered to share food and drink, and watch the provocatively named 'Disaster Capitalism'. This documentary captures the capacious form of violence capitalism that so often swoops into post disaster zones. Whether it be in the conflict zone of Afghanistan, post natural disaster in Haiti, or in the wake of extractivist mining development, the story told about the consequences of disaster capitalism are the same: local communities are exploited for western capitalist gain. While local communities often bare the brunt of capitalist aid agendas, it is in local communities that hope also lies. Indeed, this film shines a light on the power of local communities - including women and young people, in driving a positive social change agenda.

After the screening, Antony told the full lecture theatre of his experiences first hand in visiting these post disaster zones, and the risks and challenges of engaging in this kind of couragous documentary film making. He was joined by Peter, who also shared his experiences in speaking truth to power, and exposing the complexities of aid, development and global injustice. Heloise brought the politics of development to the analysis of aid and conflict, all of which made for a rich and lively discussion.

Feedback from students indicated this was a lively and engaging evening, which provided a unique opportunity to think critically about the opportunities and constraints of approaches to development. The event also showed clearly that the issues we think through in lectures and workshops are also the issues that profoundly shape the lived experience of some of the most vulnerable communities on the planet.

Many thanks to the Faculty of HASS for supporting this event. This was a wonderful opportunity to think in new ways about the challenges of working in development practice.

Below are photos from the event, provided by a Master of Development Practice student, Chudamani Poudel:

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