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Department of Education

Isobel Talks

Doctoral Student

College Affiliation: St Hugh's College

Isobel is a DPhil student in the Learning and New Technologies group at the Department of Education and research assistant for the ‘Climate Change Education Futures in India’ project. Alongside her academic work, Isobel is also an independent consultant and researcher for organisations including Plan International, DFID, and Save the Children.

Her thesis critically explores the ‘gender data revolution’ in international development through an in-depth case study of a smartphone-based data collection project working with young women in Bangladesh. During her time in Bangladesh Isobel was appointed ‘Visiting Researcher’ at the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Liberal Arts (ULAB) in Dhaka. She contributed to research activities at the CSD, including studies of Oxfam’s PROTIC project, which works with rural women to create smartphone-based information services on climate adaptation strategies; pro-poor technology schemes in the Teknaf peninsula; and the effect of climate change on fishing villages in the Sunderbans. Additionally, Isobel taught classes for the modules ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development’ and ‘Economic Grassroots Development’.

These experiences in Bangladesh motivated Isobel to seek out further opportunities to utilise her skills and experience to help fight the climate crisis and support the movement for climate and environmental justice. This led to her working as the research assistant for the Nuffield funded ‘Trust and Climate Change: Information for Teaching in a Digital Age’ project. This initiative brought together the Education Department and Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford with secondary schools and teachers to draft a research agenda to transform climate change teaching. She is now the research assistant for the ‘Climate Change Education Futures in India’ project, which seeks to develop and deploy a framework for Climate Change Education (CCE) in India and beyond to increase the effectiveness of large-scale online CCE programmes.

Previously Isobel was a researcher on the Goldman Sachs funded technology and educational inclusion project Go_Girl:Code+Create, which explores the ways learning to code might benefit disadvantaged young women in the UK. She holds a MSc in Gender from the London School of Economics, for which she was awarded a Distinction and the Betty Scharf prize for best dissertation. Isobel has worked as a consultant and researcher for numerous international development organisations from Plan International to CGIAR on topics such as: gender and diversity in STEM; social media and gender-based violence; gender and conflict; early marriage and pregnancy and school dropout in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); the effect of gender on early learning in LMICs.

In her free time Isobel likes to grow food and flowers, and volunteers at her local community garden and a regenerative farm. She is passionate about agroecology and food sovereignty. In the future she would like to work collaboratively with others towards the realisation of an environmentally and socially just food system, as she recognises that this is the foundation of an environmentally and socially just world.

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