HRER/WERA New YouTube Channel and HRE International Research Network Webinar Series


The Editors of Human Rights Education Review and the Convenors of the WERA International Research Network on Human Rights Education are pleased to announce that the second series of our 2021 Research Webinars will run from September to November 2021 on Wednesdays 17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin).


17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin).

Registration now open here

10 November 2021

Revisiting the past: human rights education and epistemic justice

Rebecca Adami, Stockholm University, Sweden

 In this webinar, Rebecca Adami invites us to look afresh at history and at the historical narratives surrounding the founding of the United Nations and the modern human rights project. She highlights a colonial historical trajectory of human rights that rests on accounts of western agency, with scholarship and teaching leading many to assume that the human rights project is exclusively western in its origins. Such historical narratives overshadow the legacy of Indian and Pakistani freedom fighters and Latin American feminists who negotiated human rights against colonial, patriarchal and racist discourses after World War II. By ignoring their contribution, the UN human rights concept risked reduction to a western trajectory on the ‘Rights of Man’, representing monistic universalism. In the webinar, Adami revisits United Nations history, unearthing historical counternarratives of what a pluralistic universalism of human rights might mean. She presents fresh knowledge and recounts the struggles of postcolonial feminist subjects who brought alternative understandings of rights and means of challenging injustice. Adami’s full paper can be read here

 A recording will feature on our new YouTube Channel later this autumn. Our past webinars can now also be found there.

Past webinars

If you haven’t yet seen our YouTube Channel do check it out.  You will find these past webinars:  


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  here here


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


15 September 2021 

Human rights education in Iceland: transformative pedagogies and upper secondary school teachers’ stories 

Susan Gollifer, University of Iceland, Iceland

Although we witness human rights violations daily, and the right to human rights education is articulated in human rights instruments, HRE is not a recognised field of social justice education in Iceland, but assumed in multicultural, sustainability and citizenship learning. Susan Gollifer draws on the life stories of upper secondary school teachers to consider how their stories might inform and extend our understandings of transformative HRE. She illustrates how teachers’ reported practices are reflective of learning through rights rather than about and for human rights. Human rights risk being trivialised. Yet teachers’ reasons for working with human rights, and their perceptions of systemic challenges, can be used to inform teacher education. Sue Gollifer concludes it is problematic to discuss HRE as transformative pedagogy in the context of conservative upper secondary schools. She considers how teacher education might sustain human rights cultures, raising questions of significance for teacher education internationally.


13 October 2021

Talking about rights without talking about rights: on the absence of knowledge in classroom discussions

Lee Jerome, Middlesex University, UK, Anna Liddle, University of Leeds, UK and Helen Young, London South Bank University, UK.

In this webinar, the presenters report on research in secondary schools where students were engaged in deliberative discussion of controversial issues and rights-based dilemmas.  Building on the premise that educators need to be more explicit about the human rights knowledge underpinning the school curriculum, they argue that HRE necessarily requires the development of political understanding, which moves beyond individual empathy; educators need to value the process of deliberative discussions and avoid a push for conclusive answers; and students need support to draw on knowledge from a range of disciplines. They assert that if these issues are not addressed, some students are able to engage in rights-based discussions with little knowledge and understanding of rights. The presenters’ full paper can be read here