The Newcastle Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice (NHRSJ) is a member of the Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (NIASSH) and aims to foster debate within and beyond Newcastle University about the concepts of human rights and its place within broader conceptions of social justice. As members of a HaSS Faculty Research Group, we seek to cultivate a stimulating and innovative research environment by forging inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional links.
The NHRSJ examines human rights as a foundation of wider inter-disciplinary research into social justice. We engage with contemporary discussions on the nature of human rights, the challenges faced by the human rights movement and the concept’s history and development. As such, our work has relevance across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to produce outputs that raise awareness of relevant issues, alter attitudes of public officials, shape debate, and issue in legal change.The work of the NHRSJ advances understanding of human rights and social justice, both within and beyond the United Kingdom. In our work, we collaborate with practitioners, non-governmental organisations, international organisations and government agencies, contributing to training and knowledge exchange within this important field. The NHRSJ is a member of the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI).
Achieving our Aims
These aims will be achieved in various ways:
• Newcastle Law School Hosts Conference on the Future of Anti-Social Behaviour Management - September 2012
A well-attended event discussing proposed Home Office reforms to the management of anti-social behaviour. The conference included an interesting array of speakers including Peter Alleyne, Senior Policy Advisor in the Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction Unit (CASBRU) at the Home Office. Delegates represented a broad range of professions and expertise including community safety, the police, social housing, victim support, the legal profession and academia. A number of students were also given the opportunity to attend. In his closing statement Dr Kevin J Brown, the conference organiser, thanked the speakers and delegates 'for a day of stimulating debate on a topic which is important to many residents of the North East'. The Head of Newcastle Law School, Professor Chris Rodgers, described the conference as 'a very impressive contribution to the Faculty's Societal Challenge theme on Social Renewal, and a great advertisement for our School’s engagement'.
• After Bin Laden: Counter-Terrorism Co-Operation and International Law – May 2012
This one day conference focused on the UK’s counter-terrorism partnerships and the international framework governing counter-terrorism co-operation. Plenary speakers included Professor Ian Leigh (Durham University), Dr Troy Lavers (Leicester University) and Dr Tom Hickman (Blackstone Chambers).
The papers presented at this conference will be published in a special edition of the Journal of Conflict and Security Law in 2013.
• Agamben and the Future of Law, Politics and Philosophy – March 2011
Newcastle Human Rights Research Group ran a one-day symposium on Wednesday 9 March 2011 focusing on the thought of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Agamben’s work has received a huge amount of exposure over the past decade, mostly centring on his Homo Sacer project. This symposium brought together an international panel that will focus on Agamben’s wider philosophical writings to think of the implications of Agamben’s thought for the disciplines of law, philosophy and politics.
• SYMPOSIUM: ‘Human Rights – Drop of Liberation or Fig Leaf of Legitimation?’ Jan 23rd 2010
The inspiration and indeed title for the symposium was taken from a piece written by David Kennedy - 'International Human Rights Movement: Part of the Problem?" published in (2002) 15 Harvard Human Rights Journal, 101. Professor David Kennedy of Brown University was the keynote speaker.
Also speaking at the event were Professor Keith Ewing from Kings College London, Professor David Bonner from the University of Leicester, Professor Christine Bell from the University of Ulster and Steven Wheatley from the University of Leeds.
As a result of this symposium the Human Rights Research Group has compiled an edited collection, Examining Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, published by Cambridge University Press in February 2012.
Examining Critical Perspectives on Human Rights sets out a practical and theoretical overview of the future of human rights within the United Kingdom and beyond. A number of internationally renowned scholars respond to David Kennedy's contribution 'The International Human Rights Movement: Still Part of the Problem?' from a range of different perspectives. With its combination of theory and practice of international and domestic human rights at this key juncture in the human rights project, it is relevant to all scholars and practitioners with an interest in human rights.
The book can be ordered from Cambridge University Press.
Members of the Research Group:
If you are interested in joining our Forum or our mailing list, please contact Dr Tom Frost.