ABCs of KMDecolonising KMKM in international development

Decolonising prevailing systems of knowledge in international development

This article is part of two series of articles: decolonising KM and KM in international development.

SOAS University of London’s Dr Romina Istratii is one of the world’s most significant thought leaders in regard to the decolonisation of knowledge and knowledge systems. I’ve previously discussed her work in an article calling for the knowledge management (KM) community to play a more active role in progressing the decolonisation of KM.

Dr. Istratii recently delivered the presentation “Decolonising prevailing systems of knowledge in international development” as part of a panel session for the University of Toronto International Development Conference 2021. The panel session was titled “Decolonizing prevailing systems of knowledge production.”

The slides from Dr. Istratii’s presentation are now available1.

Her presentation includes discussion of Global North dominance in regard to both ways of knowing (epistemology) and academic publishing, and also sets out what needs to be done to change the system.

These themes are also explored in the Colonial influences section of our Open access to scholarly knowledge in the digital era series, and in two knowledge cafes facilitated by the Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev) community – Uncomfortable Truths in Development and the earlier Decolonization of Knowledge.


  1. Istratii, R. (2021). Decolonising prevailing systems of knowledge in international development. International Development Conference 2021: Decolonising Prevailing Systems of Knowledge Production Panel, 12-13 February 2021, University of Toronto Scarborough (virtual).

Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine ( and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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