Catalyst is a student-run online platform created in January 2019 as an initiative of the International Development Studies Student Association (IDSSA) at McGill University under the leadership of the Vice-President of Publications, Charline Côté-Lessard. Catalyst has served as a place of learning, conversation, and growth for students within and outside of the International Development program at McGill since its inception.
Originally operating on a submission basis with just a few editors, Catalyst shifted to staff writers starting in the 2019-2020 academic year. The executive board was comprised of three members: Alanna Sereboff (IDSSA VP Publications and EIC), Juliana Riverin and Delphine Polidori (Co-Managing Editors). Published content started to increase in scope, including interviews with important international development studies scholars from McGill and beyond.
Under Robin Vochelet (IDSSA VP Publications and EIC), the 2020-2021 publishing year saw a major restructuring of the editing process and grew its staff writers team. The executive board also included Kai Scott (Managing Editor), Sena Lee and Hanna Agro taking over the newly-established positions of Creative Director and Social Media Director, respectively. Catalyst expanded its presence on social media, with a feature on Instagram that showcased new media projects aimed at increasing audience interactions with the content published online. In January 2021, Catalyst spearheaded a Francophone Section under the supervision of Naya Moser, as well as a Media Team co-managed by the Creative Director and the Social Media Director. Out of this new team emerged Catalyst’s very first podcast series, Candid, hosted by Alexander Taurozzi.
The platform seeks to provide an inclusive and respectful space for students to share their opinions, experiences, and ideas relating to the field of international development. This publication also seeks to make information about international development easily accessible and to the McGill and broader community.
Catalyst is acutely aware of the complex relationship between colonialism, oppressive structures, and international “development” projects. We also understand the crucial role that writing itself has played in these projects. As a result, Catalyst is dedicated to disrupting the harmful narratives associated with international development and the Global South by producing historically, politically, and culturally-informed work that challenges oppressive systems at home and abroad.