Summer Schools

Human Rights

Essex Human Rights Online Summer School

Monday 27 June - Friday 8 July 2022
 

The Essex Human Rights Centre presents our popular summer school on Human Rights, taught by a faculty of leading academics and practitioners. 

The Human Rights Summer School will be held virtually in 2022. We will be delivering our course in an online live, interactive format, split over two weeks, from 27 June to 8 July. 

Applications for our 2022 Human Rights Online Summer School are now open!
To secure your place, book now

For enquiries, please contact: hrcsummerschool@essex.ac.uk



Human Rights Centre on social media:

“It is remarkable to have the opportunity to hear from practitioners how different research methods can make an impact in their work and real people’s lives.”
Ana Maria Essex human rights summer school participant, 2019

Overview

The Essex Human Rights Summer School will cover a range of topics related to professional practice in human rights. Taught by an international faculty of leading experts in the field, the Summer School will examine human rights research methods, advocacy and campaigning strategies, and aspects of professional development. The programme includes sessions that address growing challenges faced by human rights professionals and highlights opportunities to overcome them. The Summer School curriculum is designed to build the capacity of both mid-career human rights professionals and postgraduate students to be successful human rights defenders and researchers. 

Three books in a stack on a desk
"These are exactly the types of skills needed by researchers in NGOs and in the UN and other international organisations. Knowing the Human Rights Centre, I am confident that it will deliver a summer school that is not only strong in academic content but very relevant and applicable to practical contexts."
Ian Martin former secretary General of amnesty international and head of un human rights missions and peace operations in Rwanda, east timor, Nepal and libya
     

Teaching programme

Following the high demand and excellent feedback received for the sessions that were delivered in 2021, the teaching programme this year largely retains the sessions that were offered in 2021, covering a range of research methods and skills necessary for successful human rights practice and professional development. In addition to modules covering a diverse range of research methods, the curriculum includes sessions on advocacy, organisational management, coping strategies and practitioner case studies.

The sessions offered include the following: 

Key Debates and Challenges in Human Rights Promotion

This session will provide an introductory overview of the key debates and developments around human rights promotion and how they affect the work of human rights defenders. 

Operational Challenges and Opportunities: A Field Perspective

Drawing on decades of expertise of working on refugee-related issues, this session will provide practical perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of promoting human rights in one of the most pressing human rights concerns of our time.

Round Table on Professional Challenges: Participant Perspectives 

This session is designed to facilitate self-reflective learning through a guided discussion to exchange experiences and expertise of participants, and to support networking amongst participants.

Research Design: Legal and Qualitative Single Case Study

The session will focus on how to carry out legal and qualitative single case studies, its effects and impact. Participants will be invited to consider the design and findings of a comparative (both country and thematic) funded research project. The purpose will be to prompt participants to suggest how a single case study could have been more illuminating and to identify what have been lost in a single case study. Attention will then shift to a single case study to assess the richness it can offer, and the selection justification it requires. The session will end with writing case-selection justification exercise and the evaluation of these justifications. 

Use of Qualitative Data Methods 

An essential session for human rights researchers, this seminar will cover different tasks related to qualitative data analysis: how to transcribe interviews; how to identify patterns in the data; and how to make sense of research material using discourse analysis.

Quantitative Methods: Statistics, Indicators and Human Rights

This session examines the use of socio-economic and administrative statistics, which involves using existing or creating new indicators for governmental activity that has a bearing on human rights, including input, process, output, outcome, and impact indicators. The United Nations has developed a framework for incorporating these kinds of measures into the work of treaty bodies, as well as other kinds of human rights project work. 

Quantitative Methods: Databases, Survey-based and Standards-based Indicators

Some databases attempt to track human rights outcomes on the ground, while others seek to identify, classify, and quantify implementation of human rights obligations. This session will provide a review of existing human rights databases, explore the types of questions that databases can help us answer, and highlight critiques of the use of databases. It will also examine the use of ‘standards-based’ measures of human rights practices that code country performance on ordinal scales for comparative analysis and survey-based measures based on perceptions and experiences of human rights practices. For both types of measures, discussion will focus on sources of information, types of samples, external and internal validity, and the limitations of each style of measurement and assessment. 

Experiments in Social Science Research

Experimental methods are a field of growing importance in the social sciences and policy/impact evaluation. Experiments enable social scientists and applied researchers to draw valid inferences about cause and effect. This session will provide an introduction to experimental methods. It will discuss different experimental methods including field, survey, and lab experiments using applications from the study of human rights.

Litigation

Our expanded focus on human rights practice includes a session on litigation. It will examine strategic choices taken in seeking to enforce human rights and how challenges that arise in the use of litigation to protect human rights can be addressed. 

International Advocacy: Multilateral and Transnational

Amidst rising challenges to human rights, the importance of acquiring expertise in human rights advocacy cannot be overstated. Participants will learn about different ways in which human rights advocacy can be advanced in a range of settings, covering the UN’s diverse human rights mechanisms as well as regional and country contexts.

Strategic Communications and Framing

The power of human rights advocacy greatly depends on strategic communications and framing. Campaigning and advocacy are stronger when they show awareness of the power of words, because power is constituted through accepted forms of knowledge and understandings of what’s true and what’s right. This session will focus on the importance of understanding not only what a target audience thinks, but also how they think. Human rights advocacy needs messages that stick and resonate with people’s minds, messages that meet them where they are. The seminar will look at what it is said, how it is said, and who says it: Who is speaking on behalf of human rights?

Campaigning and Theory of Change 

While good research is essential, this seminar will explore what makes good research impactful. Combining Social Movement Theory with practical examples, this session will introduce the idea of Theory of Change as a key component of campaign development. It will discuss the timeliness of political opportunities, and how to recognise them as they unfold. The seminar will discuss the importance of assessing what can be reasonably achieved with existing mobilising structures. As words and cognitive cues can make a difference, participants will identify how framing processes can shape the outcome of a campaign. 

Governance of Human Rights NGOs 

This year we have also included sessions to cover skills related to management and organisational development. This session will highlight the strategies and practices of a range of human rights NGOs in the identification of priorities and in the allocation of their resources; and the potential for increasing effectiveness and efficiency.

Psychoanalysis of Groups and Organisations

This session will explore how a psychoanalytic approach can illuminate the dynamics of groups and organisations, including insights into how an individual positions themselves in groups and the group dynamics that affects that role. 

Working in Repressive States

Human rights research is most needed where it is often the most challenging to undertake them. This session will cover the challenges and opportunities for undertaking human rights research in countries lacking in the rule of law. It will address working with sources for primary research, the interaction of the researcher with authorities; the balance between legal analysis and empirical findings; dealing with bias; and security during in country research. 

Building Resilience for Human Rights Work

Human rights defenders are especially susceptible to burn-out. Field-wide problems, such as a pervasive lack of adequate funding and ever increasing workloads, often interact with individual circumstances such as personal trauma, poor coping mechanisms and a lack of healthy role models, to create a perfect storm of conditions that make the field of human rights advocacy one of the most difficult to work in. In addition, human rights defenders are often tasked with working with victims and gathering evidence of violations, which exposes them to the trauma of others and the risk of secondary or vicarious trauma themselves. Building resilience in the field of human rights advocacy requires several different approaches, from institutional reform to personal training. In this session, we will look at why resilience awareness and training are so important and what human rights organisations can do to make sure their employees have the right tools to protect themselves while working in these difficult conditions. 

Working with HR Defenders

Human Rights Defenders are increasingly under pressure around the world. This session will examine the challenges faced by human rights defenders in different contexts and the various opportunities and strategies that can be used to overcome them. It will focus on specific work undertaken by international monitors committed to supporting human rights defenders.

Maximising Impact: Working with International Monitors

Continuing the engagement with international human rights protection mechanisms, this session will provide case studies on effective NGO engagement with the UN’s special procedures including research, networking and advocacy. Drawing on case studies on the UN Special Procedures system, the session will cover the experiences of both a country-specific mandate and a thematic mandate, and offer insights on maximising impact.

Teaching team

  • Judith Bueno de Mesquita, Senior Lecturer, School of Law & Deputy Director, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
  • Dr Koldo Casla, Lecturer, School of Law, and Director, Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic, University of Essex
  • Dr Barbora Cernusakova, Consultant on digital rights of workers & Researcher at Amnesty International
  • Dr Cosette Creamer, Benjamin E. Lippincott Chair in Political Economy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota
  • Dr Aoife Duffy, Lecturer, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
  • Dominik Duell, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Innsbruck 
  • Dr Andrew Fagan, Director of Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
  • Professor Carla Ferstman, School of Law & Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, Former Director of REDRESS
  • Daniel Genberg, Consultant on not-for-profit organisations, former Director of Governance at Amnesty International
  • Professor Nazila Ghanea, Associate Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub and Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford
  • Professor Geoff Gilbert, School of Law and Chair of the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network of the Global Compact on Refugees, University of Essex 
  • Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
  • Marc Limon, Executive Director, Universal Rights Group, Geneva
  • Rose Richter, Executive Director, Impact Iran and Freedom of Religion or Belief Unit, Ralph Bunche Institute, City University of New York.
  • Professor Rosin Ryan-Flood, Department of Sociology, University of Essex
  • Dr Ahmed Shaheed, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
  • Dr Chris Tanner, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic and Studies, University of Essex
  • Dr Patricia Palacios Zuloaga, Lecturer, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Learning outcomes

In taking this course, participants will: 

  • Acquire a strong understanding of the several methods used in human rights research covering qualitative and quantitative methods as well as emerging methods such as the use of experiments in the social sciences
  • Understand how to do research in different country contexts including in closed and challenging societies
  • Learn to design research projects with a strong methodology to have optimal impact on policy and practice
  • Gain a strong appreciation of a range of advocacy tools including litigation, international advocacy as well as of strategies on running campaigns to achieve change
  • Acquire insights into effective governance of human rights NGOs including group dynamics
  • Learn ways to build resilience and support the well-being of human rights advocates in the face of their constant or extraordinary exposure to various forms and types of trauma in their line of work
  • Gain insights into various aspects of field practice from a number of practitioners on promoting human rights in international contexts

Eligibility

It is an ideal course for postgraduate students, academics, lawyers and human rights professionals working in NGOs, government and international organisations.

We will conduct sessions via the video conferencing software Zoom. Participants must have access to appropriate computing facilities as well as a reliable internet connection to enable full participation in the online sessions. In addition, many of our sessions will be able to offer recordings that will be available to those enrolled.

We will ensure that each participant has access to the necessary software to participate in their course, along with other materials, as part of your course fees. 

For best learning success, participants should have the background knowledge necessary to follow a course by reading through the provided course instructions and reading lists. 

The summer school will be delivered in English.

Anyone who is uncertain about whether the Summer School is suitable for their needs or their background should contact the Human Rights Summer School team for advice: hrcsummerschool@essex.ac.uk

Fees and application details

Applications for our 2022 Summer School are now open! To secure your place, book now

The fees for 2022 are: 

Fee type Early bird (until 31/05/2022)  Standard (01/06/2022 - 20/06/2022)
Full fee £750 £900
Essex student discount £562.50 £675
Essex staff / alumni £600 £720
Non-Essex student £600 £720
Non-Essex academics £637.50 £765
Public sector / NGO / charity £637.50 £765

To take advantage of our Early Bird Discount, please complete your application and submit payment before 31 May 2022. 

Please get in touch for details of further discounts that are available for the following:

  • Participants at partner organisations
  • Participants from the DAC list of countries and territories eligible to receive official development assistance 
  • YERUN, CHASE or SeNSS
  • Doctoral Training Partnerships (Primarily in Humanities or Social Sciences and are based in the South East) 
  • Returning participants

Applying to the Summer School

Applications for our 2022 summer school are now open!

Applicants should complete the online application form.

Your application will then be reviewed by a member of  the Human Rights Summer School team and you will be contacted if you are successful.

You will then be sent a link to pay as well as details on how to complete the next steps of the registration process. Once you have paid you will receive confirmation of your place. Full payment for the course must be received by 31 May 2022 in order to claim the early bird discount. Applications will need to be finalised by 20 June 2022 in order for you to be given necessary access. 

For any payment issues or queries, please contact hrcsumsc@essex.ac.uk

Please note, to take part in the summer school virtually you will need access to a laptop/computer and have a reliable internet connection.

Webshop

You can pay for your place online via our Webshop which you will be sent a link to after completing the application form. The University bank will accept Visa, Mastercard, and Eurocard.

Paying by Proficio

Essex Research students need to enrol via Proficio in addition to the online application. If you are paying for your course fee using University of Essex Proficio funds, you will need to use the University of Essex Proficio platform.

Paying by invoice

If you specifically require payment via an invoice, please email us: hrcsummerschool@essex.ac.uk

After payment

Once you've paid, we will send you our welcome pack with instructions on how to finalise your place. 

Get in touch
Get in touch
Sophie Conlon Senior Administrator - Events and Communications
Essex Law School