Dr Danielle Beswick

Dr Danielle Beswick

International Development Department
Associate Professor

Contact details

IDD - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Danielle Beswick is a Associate Professor  in the International Development Department. Her current research interests are primarily centred on contemporary UK development policy, including parliamentary scrutiny of this, UK Africa Relations, and knowledge exchange between universities and legislatures. Her teaching focuses on Conflict and Development, including both on campus and distance-learning modules.


  • ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring (2017)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2013)
  • PhD in Politics (2007) University of Manchester
  • MRes in International Relations (2004) Lancaster University
  • BA in International Relations and Strategic Studies (2003) Lancaster University


Danielle has been a Senior Lecturer and Director of Research in the International Development Department since 2014. Prior to this she was a Lecturer in the same department from 2008.

Danielle's PhD and early career research focused primarily on post-genocide Rwanda, particularly exploring political identity, relations with donors, and foreign policy, including Rwanda’s significant contributions to UN and African Union peacekeeping. She retains an interest in these topics.

Danielle's more recent work has focused on UK development policy and UK Africa relations. In 2017 she secured funding from REACH, a University fund designed to promote collaboration with non-academic partners, to study the impacts of UK Conservative Party members' volunteering in Africa on the Party since 2007. The research, undertaken with Dr Mattias Hjort, was published in BJPIR in 2019 and informed a chapter in an edited collection on wider contemporary UK Africa relations.

Building on this work, and previous publications on African agency in international politics, Danielle was Principal Investigator for an ESRC Seminar Series on UK Africa policy post 2010. The series partnered with Chatham House, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the British Institute in Eastern Africa (Nairobi), Universities of Sheffield, Warwick and Oxford Brookes.  An edited collection based on this series was published by Manchester University Press in 2019.

Danielle’s latest research has explored the UK side of development policy, particularly parliamentary scrutiny of this. With funding from the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account (IAA), she was a Parliamentary Academic Fellow, seconded part-time to the House of Commons International Development Committee from 2018-2020. During this posting she researched knowledge production and advised on witness diversity, focusing on how the Committee can get beyond its ‘usual suspects’ when taking evidence.

This has led to two further projects in 2019-20. The first, in collaboration with Dr Marc Geddes from the University of Edinburgh, is an IAA funded project on knowledge exchange between Universities and legislatures in the UK. The second is funded by the UK Parliament and aims to provide insights into barriers to public participation in Committee activities and how these might be overcome.


Danielle convenes two postgraduate modules:

  • Conflict and Development (on campus)
  • Conflict and Development (Distance Learning)

Danielle also contributes to modules in other departments:

  • Education as an International Issue (PG Education)
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (PG Philosophy, Politics and Religion)
  • War Torn States and Post Conflict Reconstruction in the South (UG POLSIS)

Postgraduate supervision

Danielle was nominated for an 'Excellence in PhD Supervision Award' in 2017 and in 2019. She is currently supervising doctoral research in the following areas:

•   Taxation and the governance dividend in Rwanda

•   The role of 'Africa' in UK Prime Minister's speeches 1990-2017

•   Children's voices in transitional justice: the case of Rwanda (AHRC scholarship, interdisciplinary law and development study co-supervised with Professor Aoife Nolan, University of Nottingham)

•   Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector

•   Peace Education in Colombia (ESRC 1+3)

•   Traditional/New donors and African Agency (ESRC 1+3)

•   Resilience and livelihoods of fisherfolk in conflict affected areas: DR Congo/Tanzania case study

•   Transnational advocacy communities on the Myanmar/Thai border

Danielle is interested in supervising PhD research on: UK development policy, including parliamentary scrutiny and public engagement in this; UK Africa relations; the UK Conservative Party and development; Rwandan politics/foreign policy; and knowledge exchange between universities and legislatures.


Research interests

  • Contemporary UK Africa relations
  • UK development policy, including parliamentary scrutiny
  • International development volunteering by UK political party members
  • Knowledge exchange between Universities and legislatures

Current projects

  • ESRC IAA Knowledge Exchange Project ‘Evaluating academic engagement with UK legislatures: Exchanging knowledge on knowledge exchange’ (2019-20) with Dr Marc Geddes, University of Edinburgh. Read more in Danielle’s blog
  • UK Parliament Select Committee Engagement Team ‘Public engagement with select committees: Understanding and overcoming barriers’ (2019-20)
  • ESRC IAA funded Parliamentary Academic Fellowship (2018-20) ‘Can I get a witness? Getting beyond the usual suspects in select committee evidence’ (See Parliamentary Affairs article and read further in the fellowship report)

Recent Projects

  • REACH funded collaborative project, with Conservative Friends of International Development (CIFD), exploring impacts of overseas volunteering on party members and the UK Conservative Party with Dr Mattias Hjort (Completed 2018).
  • ESRC Seminar Series – UK Africa Policy after Labour (completed 2016). View the edited collection

Other activities

  • Coach (ILM Level 5), University of Birmingham Coaching Academy
  • Treasurer, British International Studies Association (2018-2021)
  • IDD co-Director of Postgraduate Research (2018-present)
  • Member, IAA Management Group, University of Birmingham
  • ESRC DTP Pathway lead for University of Birmingham (Area Studies)
  • IDD Director of Research (2013-2017)
  • External Examiner for African Leadership Centre, Kings College London (2013-17)
  • Graduate, University of Birmingham Research Leaders Programme (2016-17)


Beswick, D and S Elstub (2019) ‘Between diversity, representation and ‘best evidence’: Rethinking Select Committee evidence-gathering practices’ Parliamentary Affairs 72(4): 945-964.

Beswick D (2019) ‘More than ‘brand-detoxification’? The Conservative Party’s relationship with Africa and international development’ in D Beswick, J Fisher, G Harrison and S Hurt (eds) Britain and Africa: Between Ambition and Pragmatism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Beswick D., N Dasandi, D Hudson and J vanHeerde-Hudson (2019) ‘International development NGOs, representations in fundraising appeals and public attitudes in UK-Africa relations’ in D Beswick, J Fisher, G Harrison and S Hurt (eds) Britain and Africa: Between Ambition and Pragmatism Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Beswick, D., J Fisher, G Harrison and S Hurt (eds) (2019) Britain and Africa: Between Ambition and Pragmatism Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Beswick D and Hjort M (2019) ‘A missing link in understanding party policy change? Conservative Party international volunteering projects and UK development policy (2007-2017)’ British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 21(3): 559-575

Beswick, D (2017) ‘Hybrid approaches to peace and justice: The case of post-genocide Rwanda’, in R Freedman and N Lemay-Hebert (eds), Hybridity: Law, Culture and Development, London: Routledge 

Beswick, D and J Fisher (2017) ‘The African State and Special Procedures: Agency, Leverage and Legitimacy’ in A Nolan, R Freedman and T murphy (eds) The United Nations Special Procedures System, Brill/Martinus Nijhoff

Beswick, D (2014) ‘Political risk and the building of African national military capacity: Analysing the lessons of contemporary Rwanda,’ African Affairs 113(451): 212-231

Beswick, D and P Jackson (2014) Conflict Security and Development: An Introduction, Second Edition, London Routledge.

Beswick, D and A Hammerstad (2013) ‘African agency in a changing security environment: Sources, opportunities and challenges.’ Conflict, Security and Development, 13(5): 471-486.

Beswick, D (2013) ‘From weak state to savvy international player? Rwanda’s multi-level strategy for maximising agency’ in S Harman and W Brown (eds.) African Agency and International Politics. Routledge.

Beswick, D (2011) ‘Aiding statebuilding but sacrificing peacebuilding? UK-Rwanda relations 1994-2011,’ Third World Quarterly 32(10): 1911-1030.

Beswick, D (2011) ‘Genocide and the politics of exclusion: the case of the Batwa in Rwanda,’ Democratisation, 18(2): 490-511.

Beswick, D (2010) ‘Peacekeeping, regime security, ‘African solutions to African problems’: Exploring Rwanda’s involvement in Darfur,’ Third World Quarterly,31(5):739-754.

Beswick, D (2010) ‘Managing dissent in a post genocide environment: the challenge of political space in Rwanda,’ Development and Change41(2): 225-251

View all publications in research portal


The relationship between security and development, specifically focusing on UK security relationships with African states and the UK’s relationship with Rwanda since the 1994 genocide; Rwandan politics since 1994, especially limitations of Rwandan democracy; Great Lakes security

Media experience

Inside Story - Rwanda reinvented (Al Jazeera): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsYN2ndDev0

Talk for A4ID course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC7TSLw3feM

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office