human rights centre

Research and practice

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Cutting-edge academic and policy research

The Human Rights Centre is internationally recognised for the breadth and depth of its research projects.

The projects hosted by the centre operate at the interface between the theory and practice of human rights, bringing together experts from different disciplines and making concrete differences at the international, national, and local level.

Our research addresses a comprehensive range of pressing and important human rights challenges, including the right to health; freedom of religion; armed conflict and humanitarian issues; business and human rights; transitional justice; digital verifications and big data; local human rights challenges; issues surrounding mental health and autonomy.

Director of the Human Rights Centre, Andrew Fagan, has emphasized how crucial human rights are in the global challenges our world is facing and stresses how vital our role in research, practice and education is going to be in the coming years.


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Explore our research hubs, networks, clusters, and projects

"This is a very famous university that has been involved in the fight for human rights around the world"
Nelson Mandela on campus, 1997

Interdisciplinary research clusters

These interdisciplinary research clusters enable academic research staff with shared research interests, but working across different departments and faculties, to come together to share and receive feedback on research, as well as to develop shared research activities.

The clusters aim to support:

  • inter-disciplinary research collaborations, including funding proposals
  • inter-disciplinary research exchange activities, e.g. workshops to receive/provide feedback on work

Learn more about our interdisciplinary research clusters

Research clusters provide new opportunities for a greater number of Human Rights Centre members to come together and benefit from engagements. The clusters will engage members from across the University. Currently, the Human Rights Centre has 128 members across 15 departments at the University of Essex.

Research themes

The clusters focus on selected themes which a significant number of our members have research interests in, but where we do not have existing extensive collaborative networks, such as the projects and units.

How will they be run?

Each cluster will be run by coordinating committees. This will be composed of academics with expertise in the cluster theme, as well as Human Rights Centre core team members. The coordinating committees will determine the activities of the clusters around their broad purposes. Each cluster will hold 1-2 open research exchange and activity/coordination meetings per term; engage in ongoing coordination around sharing information about other events and opportunities, and develop inter-disciplinary funding applications.

Establishing research

The clusters, including through funding applications, may lead to the establishment of new projects within the Human Rights Centre, focused on more specific research questions than the broad focus of each cluster, but the clusters would continue to operate if projects are established. The clusters can also provide opportunities to coordinate and share expertise in terms of teaching on the relevant theme.

Research projects

The Human Rights Centre is proud to be home to a variety of incredible research projects. Our inspiring and dedicated academics cover a breadth of human rights issues from investigating in situations of armed conflict, to the role of national human rights institutions.

Explore our current research projects and past research projects below, including those within our Human Rights Clinic.

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Bringing together diverse voices from all over the world, the Human Rights Centre podcast, 'RightsCast' applies a human rights lens to better understand current events, to discuss key and emerging issues, and to explore how to achieve social change.

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Research publications

The research publications produced by our members significantly influence the theory and practice of human rights across the globe. New books and journal articles are being continuously produced within our interdisciplinary academic community. Below is a selection of some of the most recently published books by our members.

Highlighted recent publications

  • Professor Peter Beresford – (School of Health and Social Care)

  • Participatory Ideology: From exclusion to involvement, (Bristol, Policy Press, 2021)

    The COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement and renewed action against climate change all highlight the increasing gulf between narrowly based dominant political ideologies and popular demands for social justice, global health, environmentalism and human rights. This book examines for the first time the exclusionary nature of prevailing political ideologies. Bringing together theory, practice and the relationship between participation, political ideology and social welfare, it offers a detailed critique of how the crucial move to more participatory approaches may be achieved.


  • Professor Renos Papadopoulos (Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies)
  • Renos Papadopoulos, Involuntary Dislocation: Home Trauma, Resilience and Adversely Activated Development (Routledge, 2021)

    In this highly critically-acclaimed book, Renos Papadopoulos clearly and sensitively explores the experiences of people who reluctantly abandon their homes, searching for safer lives elsewhere, and provides a detailed guide to the complex experiences of involuntary dislocation.


  • Dr Anna Di Ronco (Department of Sociology)

Nina Peršak and Anna Di Ronco (eds.) Harm and Disorder in the Urban Space: Social Control, Sense and Sensibility (Routledge, 2021)

Rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship, this book considers a range of urban issues, focussing specifically on their sensory, emotive, power and structural dimensions. The visual, audio and olfactory components that offend or harm are inspected, including how urban social control agencies respond to violations of imposed sensory regimes.


  • Professor Clara Sandoval (School of Law)
  • Cristian Correa, Shuichi Furuya and Clara Sandoval, Reparation for Victims of Armed Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

    Are victims of armed conflict entitled to reparation, which legal rules govern the question, and how can reparation be implemented? These key questions of transitional justice are examined by three scholars whose professional, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds and outlooks differ greatly. 

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