In 2019 I interviewed high-level civil servants in Antigua and Barbuda about their experiences working with international development partners. They spoke about their acts of everyday resistance to transform global knowledge hierarchies. I commissioned the fantastic
to create the portraits. Saffa Khan
“A lot of times we have consultants come, and they’re experts, but they come from a different context… so what they learn in developed countries they come and they try and replicate here. But the systems and the social networks are totally different.”
“I think we have given away our power before, because I guess we were colonial and that was our history. But now, we say we have our own power, we know what works here and we can ask people who live in similar conditions what works, as opposed to going with what somebody else has said.”
“When the final report is given by the consultant, we don’t necessarily have to accept it wholesale, because we know the local situation, and a consultant just guides us where we want to go. We can take what we want from it….But consultants are changing, we had [consultants] from Barbados, Jamaica, mostly Caribbean but different territories.”
“Studying internationally exposes you to new technology. And obviously, when a government sends you overseas to study, they’re hoping that you can bring back knowledge of new technologies to apply here in Antigua. But that ideology and everything, it doesn’t always fit into our system.”
“ “ We are very independent people, we’re very resilient people. And we will bounce back [from Hurricane Irma], but you know, in today’s world we would have bounced back further if we didn’t have to fight the central government.
Saffa is a multi-talented artist based in Glasgow. Check out her
and website instagram
Sou,(2021). G. Aid micropolitics: southern resistance to racialized & geographical assumptions of expertise. Environment & Planning C: Politics and Space.