I am an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer / Hoofddocent) at the Institute of Development Policy at Antwerp University. My work lies at the intersection of political science, development – and area – studies, and relies heavily on field research.
I’m the author of ‘Rebel Lives. Photographs from inside the Lord’s Resistance Army’ (Hannibal Books), and Negotiating Public Services in the Congo (edited with Tom De Herdt, Zed Books), in addition to articles for publications such as African Affairs, the Washington Post, International Affairs and many others.
I focus on governance- and conflict- dynamics in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I study the ways in which the state interacts with a range of non-state actors at a variety of scales and with a variety of actors: rebel groups, international donors, local non-state actors, and so on.
I am fascinated by the use of visual material, both as a research method, as a way to make academic output available to a broader audience, and for its aesthetic value in itself. My book and exhibition Rebel Lives – in collaboration with Georges Senga, Rein Deslé and others – is an important example.
I obtained my PhD at the Conflict Research Group, Ghent University, in 2007. I was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2013-2014, at the Department of International Development. I have worked, and continue to work, closely with a number of Universities in the DRC and Uganda, through VLIR-UOS partnerships.
I am a regular contributor to a variety of media-platforms, such as Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, Al Jazeera English, African Arguments, and many others.
I regularly engage with policy, in a number of ways. I for example was an expert witness at the International Criminal Court at the case of ex-LRA commander Dominic Ongwen; or my spotlight briefing for the UNDP Borderlands Centre, where I wrote about informal cross-border trade along the Uganda-DRC border.
I live with my family in Antwerp, and spend a lot of time on Antwerp’s playgrounds with our sons. I’m pretty obsessed with photography – a few of my favorite recent photo books are from Michele Sibilone, Bieke Depoorter, Vincent Delbrouck and Philippe Dutouit – podcasts, cooking, and music (recent favorite albums here, here, and here).
Contact: [email protected]
My article “Who depends on whom? Uganda’s refugee ‘success story’, corruption and the international community“, was recently published in Third World Quarterly.
The article, which can be accessed here, explores the co-dependency of the international community – and UNHCR in particular – on Uganda’s ‘refugee success story’, and how this provided a fertile breeding ground for corruption, and negatively impacted accountability. For the article, I followed for several years how the ‘refugee corruption’ scandal was followed-up, through interviews with a variety of actors in the broader field of refugee policy. In the meantime – after the article went to press – several new developments happened, in particular in relation to the position of the OPM refugee commissioner. I will soon publish an update on this.
The ‘Rebel Lives’ exhibition was recently on display in Cultureel Centrum De Steiger, Menen, from the 13th of November until the 19th of December 2021. The exhibition was originally shown in FOMU in 2019, and was adjusted by FOMU curator and scenographer (Rein Deslé and Lotte Dierckx) to this new space.