NEW! Human Rights Education 2021 Research Webinar Series


Human Rights Education Review is pleased to announce the World Education Research Association (WERA) International Research Network on Human Rights Education 2021 Webinar Series.

The WERA IRN on Human Rights Education was established in Spring 2019 and launched in London in June 2019. The coordinators are Professor Audrey Osler (USN, Norway) and Professor Hugh Starkey (IOE UCL, UK). The two pillars of the IRN are Human Rights Education Review and the ICEDC conference. 

The 2021 Research Webinar Seminar Series 1 will run from January -June 2021. Although we anticipate that IRN face-to-face activities are likely to be restricted in the coming months, we aim to create an opportunity for supportive but critical debate of key questions in the field of HRE.

The webinars are planned on Wednesdays 17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London GMT); 11.30 -12.30 (New York EST); 08.30-09.30 (Seattle PST)

This page will be updated as sessions are confirmed.  


Webinars for the autumn series will be announced when ready.





20 January 2021

Tackling sexual harassment at school using a human rights framework

Beate Goldschmidt-Gjerløw and Irene Trysnes, University of Agder, Norway

The inaugural session of the WERA IRN HRE 2021 webinar series addresses #MeToo in school. Based on a case study of verbal sexual harassment experienced by a young female teacher and her 17-year-old student in a Norwegian upper secondary school, the researchers discuss the challenges and strengths of drawing upon negative experiences of ‘lived injustice’ in class, arguing that such experiences can serve as a resource for education about, through and for human rights. Complementing this case study, they discuss a survey they conducted among secondary school students, concerning how young learners report being sexually harassed and how often they experience that an adult intervenes in the situation. Combining the theoretical framework of human rights education (HRE) and the concepts of intersectionality and recognition, they consider the pedagogical potential of drawing upon teachers’ and young learners’ experiences of verbal sexual harassment. The presenters’ full paper can be read here


10 February 2021

HRE in humanitarian settings: opportunities and challenges

Megan Devonald and Silvia Guglielmi, Overseas Development Institute, UK 

In this session the presenters discuss how, and to what extent, non-formal programmes targeting adolescent refugees address education about, through and for human rights. HRE in humanitarian settings provides an opportunity for adolescent refugees to understand and exercise their human rights, respect the rights of others, and gain active citizenship skills. Yet in this mixed method study, the researchers find stark differences in how human rights are reflected in programming for refugees. In Jordan, the Makani programme for Syrian refugees integrates human rights across subjects and teacher pedagogy, and fosters skills for active citizenship. By contrast, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, a lack of basic rights hinders the delivery of meaningful human rights education for Rohingya adolescents. The researchers conclude that human rights education should be a core pillar of humanitarian responses, but that it needs significant adaptations to meet learners’ needs in specific contexts.  The presenters’ full paper can be read


Human rights education’s curriculum problem

Walter C. Parker, University of Washington, Seattle, USA 

Does human rights education have a social justice mission? And if so, how much does knowledge matter in realising justice through education? In this session, Walter Parker articulates what he identifies as human rights education’s curriculum problem in schools and suggests strategies to solve it.  Employing a theoretical perspective from the critical sociology of education, he suggests the main problem is HRE’s lack of an episteme—a disciplinary structure created in specialist communities—and, related to this, the flight of scholars from the field of curriculum practice, redefining it away from subject matter. Parker asserts that the HRE curriculum remains scattered, ill-defined, and too variable to be robust. HRE advocacy is important but insufficient. He argues that a more robust HRE in schools will require a curriculum that teachers can adapt to local needs, constraints, and students. Knowledge matters. In this session he identifies a key challenge for researchers and policymakers: without knowledge work of this sort, it is difficult to claim that HRE has a social justice mission. Walter Parker’s full paper can be read here


The role of law and legal knowledge for a transformative HRE: adressing violations of children's rights in school

  • Laura Lundy, Queen's University Belfast, UK
  • Gabriela Martínez Sainz, Dublin City University, Ireland

Human rights education emphasises the significance of children learning about, through and for human rights through their lived experiences. Such experiential learning, however, is often limited to instances of enjoyment of rights and disregards experiences of injustice, exclusion or discrimination. By neglecting the ‘negative’ experiences, including breaches of their human rights, HRE fails in one of its fundamental aims: empowering individuals to exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others.  Drawing on a range of legal sources, this article identifies a number of violations of the human rights of children in schools, categorised under five themes: access to school; the curriculum; testing and assessment; discipline; and respect for children’s views. It argues that for HRE to achieve its core purpose, it must enable children to identify and challenge breaches of rights in school and elsewhere. To do so, knowledge of law, both domestic and international, has a fundamental role to play. The presenters’ full paper can be read here



12 May 2021

Decolonial human rights education: Changing the terms and content of conversations on human rights

Anne Becker and Cornelia Roux, Stellenbosch University, South Africa  

Who is included in the ‘Human’ of human rights education? This webinar draws on data from the research project Human rights literacy: Quest for meaning, led by Cornelia Roux and on a paper by Anne Becker to be published in HRER Volume 5(2). The presenters invite us to reflect on the terms and content of human rights education, and to consider what a decolonial HRE might look like. They will consider the terms of our conversations and reflect on principles, assumptions and rules of knowing. These terms and HRE content are interrelated and sustained by continual movement between them. Decoloniality resists global coloniality of power, ontologies and epistemologies which are consequences of colonisation. The session will examine the Eurocentric assumptions and principles which frequently serve as premise for human rights and human rights education, arguing that researchers and educators need to explore pluriversal knowledges of human rights and problematising the Human of human rights. They will conclude with some thoughts on decolonising human rights education. Anne Becker's paper can be read here