MIASA Organises 2023 Writing Workshop for 18 Mentees

 A group photo of participants at the Workshop

The Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) held a five-day writing workshop from April 25 to 29, 2023 at the University of Ghana. 

The workshop sought to improve the academic writing abilities of African early career scholars, boost their success rate in submitting to high-impact journals, and develop a network of African-based scholars working on the themes of Democracy, Peace, and Climate Change. 

The five-day workshop included a roundtable session where mentors and mentees deliberated on topics such as,What makes a strong paper?’, The world of publishing and ‘From submission to Publication.’ 

Dr. Susann Baller, German Director of MIASA, in addressing the gathering during the opening ceremony, revealed that the writing workshop is based on three main themes: peace and conflict, democracy, and sustainability transformation, as well as a number of intersecting topics such as migration and human rights. She noted that, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which funds the work of the Institute, has several primary objectives, with its primary theme being sustainable governance  

Dr. Grace Diabah, Ghanaian Director of MIASA, indicated that one of the key motivations for organising the writing workshop was MIASA's commitment to advancing early to mid-career researchers in Africa and beyond.   

“MIASA is committed to seeing the progress of early to mid-career scholars in Africa and beyond, which is part of the main reason for organising the writing workshop”, Dr. Diabah noted.  

She also mentioned that MIASA has a comparable programme called the Publishing Workshop, which was developed by the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg. The Publishing Workshop includes the editors of two well-known African journals. Africa Spectrum, one of the African journals, is located at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs and collaborates with the modern journals in African Studies at the University of Ghana. The goal of the Publishing Workshop is to assist in the facilitation of submissions to journals with a focus on Africa.

One of the mentors, Prof. Akosua Keseboa Darkwah, Associate Professor of Sociology and Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, UG, moderated the event. She introduced herself as one of the five editors of Feminist Africa. Prof. Darkwah is an expert in both Gender Studies and Sociology of Development and has a significant body of work in both internationally edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals such as International Development Planning Review, Journal of Gender Studies and Frontiers in Psychology.  

In an exclusive interview with the UG Public Affairs Media Team, Prof. Darkwah remarked, “what we are seeking to do here, is to ensure that Africans are on the map in terms of the contribution to knowledge production. We are working towards helping to bridge that gap by ensuring that younger scholars are able to publish in well-established journals so that our voices can be heard better across the continent.”

Other mentors included Professor Nana Akua Anyidoho, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), UG; Professor John M. Bob-Milliar, Director, Centre for Cultural and African Studies (CeCAST), KNUST; Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, Human Geographer, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Statistics and Survey Division at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), UG; Professor Seidu Alidu, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, UG; Professor Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management

At the end of the workshop, the mentors helped their mentees through the process of developing their papers over the course of five days, from developing the abstract to the referencing.