This mixed-methods research aims to bring together key development concerns related to sustainable livelihoods, social vulnerability, and poverty to build an alternative account of 'insecurity and crime' in African cities where the lines between legality and illegality, formality and informality, licit and illicit work, are often blurred in practice.
We argue that the study of insecurity and crime in African cities requires a more nuanced understanding of African urbanisation patterns and historical legacies of uneven development. Situated at the nexus of population modelling, criminology, African studies, and urban geography, this project aims to challenge prevailing Euro-centric narratives of crime and victimisation through an innovative mixed-methods study. Combining statistical modelling, geovisualisation and ethnographic insights, the research aims to develop location appropriate approaches to investigate perceptions and seasonal trends of crime and victimisations in a West African city, situating the research within the broader context of African urbanisation, environment-induced seasonal migration, youth un-employment and informal economies.
The political environment in Nigeria is not always conducive to the straightforward uptake of recommendations from an academic study. The greatest impact can therefore be achieved by demonstrating the value of FCLP through a series of documentary shorts for public dissemination and a visualisation platform for a more specialist audience enabling Nigerian researchers to access the complex for their own research and policy purposes. This project therefore aims to contribute to local research capacity building in a context where our African colleagues are keen to access innovative data and analytical approaches, but often operating in under-resourced facilities. FCLP will facilitate training and capacity building in both the UK and Nigeria. It is therefore an important opportunity to resource an international team of outstanding social scientists keen to consolidate and learn from each other's respective research expertise and experience through innovative mixed methods research. FLCP will also deliver the following:
- Workshops hosted both at UCL and also ABU Zaria.
- Reciprocal researcher visits between UCL and ABU Zaria.
- A research blog detailing the fieldwork approaches and outcomes.
- A series of project reports, posted online, detailing key research findings.
We also seek to create a system of value to initiatives such as the recently opened Q-Step Centres (PI Cheshire is Deputy Director of the UCL Centre) where data and insights from FCLP would be adapted for student projects. The documentary shorts will draw on visual ethnographic methods of the research and are intended to personify and add granularity to the project deliverables. The final edited output will include ethnographic portraits and community-scapes to "bring the field home". It will also serve as an effective communication tool and archive for future related projects, events and contexts.