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Taking a Relational Approach to Multidimensional Wellbeing

Webinar with Sarah C. White and Shreya Jha
5 July, Monday, 10:30 - 12:00 BST (GMT+1) / 11:30 - 13:00 (CEST/GMT +2)

Description: The Capability Approach has long taken a person-centred approach to wellbeing, emphasising what people in practice can do and be, and to some extent how they think and feel. Relational Wellbeing aligns with this, but stresses the relational character of human being, such that people’s relationships with others critically affect the opportunities they have and the choices they make. Linking personal, societal and ecological change, Relational Wellbeing looks beyond individual psychology or behaviour to the underlying conditions that promote healthy environments and happy lives. While many models of wellbeing rely on the notion of domains to represent its multidimensional character, Relational Wellbeing draws attention instead to the flows, connections and obstructions between different aspects of life, and between the diverse factors that help to generate or undermine wellbeing.

In this seminar we will introduce the relational approach to wellbeing and describe how we are applying it in development practice. We look forward to a lively discussion concerning its similarities to and differences from the Capability Approach, and its implications for multidimensional wellbeing measurement.

Recording available here


Sarah White is co-founder of Relational Wellbeing (RWB) Collaborative, which links personal, societal and ecological change to develop sustainable wellbeing strategies. Her approach to wellbeing draws on thirty years’ experience of research and consultancy work on the social dimensions of global development. This includes work on gender, participation, child rights, race, religion, masculinities, and of course wellbeing, with a primary focus on Bangladesh, India and Zambia. Before founding the Collaborative in 2020, she was professor of international development and wellbeing at the University of Bath, UK.


Shreya Jha is co-founder of the Relational Wellbeing Collaborative which works on promoting sustainable wellbeing through strategies for systemic change. Shreya’s thinking on wellbeing builds on a foundational training in inclusive mental health and has evolved through 20 years of programmatic interventions and research on wellbeing, mental health, disability, gender, children’s lives, and poverty and disaster reconstruction. Since 2009 she has been working with Sarah on developing the relational approach to wellbeing through research primarily in India and Zambia.



April - August 2021 Webinar Series

Multidimensional Well-Being:
Concepts, Measurement, & Applications

Questions/Suggestions? E-mail us at: 2021multidimensional [at] gmail.com

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.


General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.


The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.