Newcastle Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice


The Newcastle Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice (NHRSJ) 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 Groups, 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:

  • Through the organisation of events such as seminars and lectures with prominent speakers on specific issues, which reflect the teaching and research interests of each member of the Group, the Group hopes to facilitate dissemination of knowledge of the latest developments on human rights and related issues.
  • Through the production of high quality teaching and research, reflecting the interests of its members, the Group hopes to support critical thinking, academic initiative and freedom of thought.
  • Through the formulation of common teaching and research ideas, intended to be materialised with the support of external funding, the Group hopes to organise events which will assist in achieving its aims.


Seminar Series 2014-15, Semester Two Programme

All seminars will be held at 1pm in SR5, Newcastle Law School (Windsor Terrace) unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday 11th February 2015

A joint seminar from Professors Liz Todd and Janice McClaughlin as part of our children and young people-focused sub-theme

Professor Janice McClaughlin (Professor of Sociology, PEALS) ‘Creative and embodied practice in research examining disabled young people’s narratives’

Professor Liz Todd (Centre for Learning and Teaching, Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, SOLE Central): ‘What are the limits to youth participation in academic research? How about a systematic literature review?

Chair: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Dr Lars Waldorf (Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York): ‘Legal Empowerment after Violence

Chair: Dr Elena Katselli

Wednesday 4th March 2015

Professor Richard Collier (Newcastle Law School): 'Wellbeing the Legal Profession (or, what do we talk about, when we talk about wellbeing?')

Chair: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth


Seminar Series 2014-15, Semester One Programme

All are welcome to the seminars, which will take place between 1-2pm in seminar room five (on the right hand side as you come into the law school reception). Lunch will be provided. Please can you let Suzanne Johnson ( know if you wish to attend (for catering purposes) and if you have any dietary requirements

For any questions about the seminar series please contact the Director of the Forum Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth (

1pm Wednesday 22nd October - Seminar Room 5 Newcastle Law School
Professor Peter Hopkins (GPS) ‘Reflecting on researching young people’s everyday geopolitics: faith, ethnicity and place’ Chair: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth

1pm Wednesday 26th November - Seminar Room 5 Newcastle Law School
Dr Emilie Cloatre (Kent Law School) ‘Regulation, disobedience and the socio-legal construction of condoms in Ireland 1935 ¬-1993’ Chair: Aisling McMahon

1pm Wednesday 10th December - Seminar Room 5 Newcastle Law School
Dr Jane Ball (NULS) ‘Ghosts: A short history of the thinning of tenure rights in the European space’ Chair: Professor TT Arvind

Abstracts available here

Seminar Series 'What is Social Justice?'

All seminars to be held in the Mooting Room of Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University unless otherwise stated. All Welcome. Lunch provided. External guests to the university are very welcome but please confirm attendance by emailing A programme of seminars can be found here.

Squeezing the Social: Economic and Political Arguments in the Right to Housing
Presenter: Dr Jessie Hohmann
Date: 1pm on Friday 7th February 2014
Chair of Session: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth
Abstract available here.

Re-Imagining Justice for Girls
Presenter: Dr Gilly Sharpe
Date: 1pm Wednesday 19th February 2014
Chair of Session: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth

Achieving Social Justice in Ownership Disputes over the Family Home: The Case for ‘Structured’ Judicial Discretion
Presenter: Dr Andy Hayward
Date: 1pm Wednesday 12th March 2014
Chair of Session: Dr Alison Dunn

Title TBC
Presenter: Professor Maggie O’Neill
Date: 1pm on Wednesday 26th March 2014
Chair of Session: Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth

‘Orwell, 'Our Age', and the Regulatory Imagination’
Presenter: Professor Richard Mullender
Date: 12pm on Wednesday 30th April 2014
Chair of Session: Professor TT Arvind

For further information contact Kevin Brown at

Other Recent Events

• Newcastle Law School Hosts Conference on the Future of Anti-Social Behaviour Management - September 2012 

Conference Delegates

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

Conference Panel

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:

  • Dr Rob Dickinson (NULS)
  • Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth (NULS)
  • Dr Elena Katselli (NULS)
  • Mr Colin Murray (NULS)
  • Professor Kathryn Haynes (NUBS)
  • Dr Neelam Srivastava (School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics)
  • Dr Ben Houston (School of Historical Studies)
  • Ms J Smith Finley (School of Modern Languages)
  • Dr Romola Sanyal (SAPL)
  • Dr Jane Midgley (SAPL)
  • Dr Suzanne Speak (SAPL)
  • Dr Carolyn Pedwell (School of Arts and Culture)
  • Dr Jane Ball (NULS)
  • Dr Sylvia de Mars (NULS)
  • Prof TT Arvind (NULS)
  • Dr Nikki Godden (NULS)

Associate Members:

  • Dr Aoife O’Donoghue (Durham Law School)
  • Ms Emilia Mickiewicz (Doctoral Candidate, NULS)
  • Mr Roger Masterman (Durham Law School)
  • Dr Gleider I Hernandez (Durham Law School)
  • Birju Kotecha (Northumbria Law School)
  • Ellie Smith
  • Mairead Enright (Kent Law School)
  • Mohamed Badar (Northumbria University)
  • Dr Kevin Brown (QUB)

If you are interested in joining our Forum or our mailing list, please contact Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth.