Clinical Legal Education: Human Rights, and Arts and Crafts Cafés
This practice report provides an account of two outreach projects that enabled different community groups, members of staff at Royal Holloway, University of London, and students at Royal Holloway’s Legal Advice Centre, to discuss human rights in an accessible and relatable way, which empowered the delegates, and encouraged open dialogue.
At the first event, Royal Holloway and the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association collaborated to host an online Being Human café as part of the Being Human 2020: a Festival of Humanities programme organised and set up annually by the School of Advanced Study, University of London and funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The café “Afghan Women Small Spaces Café: Sewing Pathways to Human Rights” took place via Zoom. Meeting over Afghan tea and cake, participants - from the public, generally from the Afghan diaspora community and researchers - used mixed participatory methods including artwork, sewing and conversation to explore what everyday habits and material objects tell us about ourselves and each other. Working with these, and other culturally specific lived experiences, Marshall linked her research, on human rights law’s purpose of ensuring universal dignity, equality and rights, to French writer Georges Perec.
Following this style of Café, the authors created the Autism Legal Rights Café, in partnership with the Sycamore Trust U.K. At this second event, Marshall’s research on everyday spaces was developed into a short talk about law, everyday spaces, objects and being human at a focused arts and crafts workshop for young women with autism. Particularly during Covid-19 lockdown, it was explored how and why our objects took on a new meaning. This talk included an analysis of Species of Spaces where Perec traced what is truly daily, those everyday habits and material objects of which our lives consist, what goes without saying. Perec claims, although these do not seem to pose any problems, we need to ask what they may tell us about what is important in life, what makes it worth living.
Copyright (c) 2022 Nicola Beeton, Professor
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