Alison Mathie


Alison has over 40 years’ experience in international development as practitioner, educator and writer.  Recent work in asset-based approaches to community development, political and economic citizenship, and strategies for inclusion builds on earlier work in rural livelihoods, gender analysis and participatory evaluation.  Alison lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for eight years and Nigeria for two years. Short-term overseas work as a researcher, consultant and facilitator has taken her to South Asia, South East Asia, the South Pacific, The MENA region, Brazil, and sub-Saharan Africa.

At the Coady Institute, she is primarily involved in coordinating research activities. She has been directly involved in action research and collaborative evaluation of asset-based community development in Ethiopia, as well as a new case study collection on citizen-led innovation for social and economic change in North America, co-edited with John Gaventa,  to be published in 2015. This follows  on from an earlier co-edited collection of case studies from around the world: From Clients to Citizens: Communities changing the course of their own development. She also teaches in the Development Studies program at St. Francis Xavier University and is an associate faculty member of the ABCD Institute.

Alison holds a PhD in Program Evaluation and Planning from Cornell University, USA; a MA in Sociology from the University of Guelph, Canada; and a MA in Geography (Hons.) from the University of Edinburgh, UK.
Selected Publications

Books and book chapters

Mathie, A. and Gaventa, J. (eds.)(2015). Citizen-led innovation for a new economy. Halifax, NS.: Fernwood Press

Mathie, A. and Cunningham, G. (eds.)(2009). From clients to citizens: communities changing the course of their own development.  Rugby, UK: Practical Action

Orr, J., Diochon, M., Fawcett, C., Foroughi, B., Mathie, A. & McMillan, L. J., with assistance from Christmas, E.,& Lafford, S. (2011). Social impacts of aboriginal economic development: Three case studies from Atlantic Canada. Halifax, NS: Fernwood Press.


Mathie, A. Cameron, J. and Gibson, K. (2016) Asset-based and citizen-led development: Using a diffracted power lens to analyze possibilities and challenges. Progress in Development Studies (in press).

Mathie, A. and Peters, B. (2013) Joint (ad)ventures and (in)credible journeys evaluating innovation: evaluating asset-based community development in Ethiopia. Development in Practice. Vol. 24, No.3. 

Mathie, A. and Cunningham, G. (2009). Who is driving development? Reflections on the transformative potential of Asset Based Community Development. The Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Volume XXVI, No 1.

Research Reports

Mathie, A., & Ghore, Y. (2011). Innovative types of formal member-based organizations (MBOs): Towards an analysis of trends and a guide to MBO potential. Click here to read

Hodgson, J. Knight, B. and Mathie, A. (2012) The New Generation of Community Foundations: Report on preliminary research.