The Oxford Festival of Human Rights aims to raise awareness of Human Rights issues through the arts. The festival has been running online from 11 March – 1 April 2021. The Oxford Brookes University student and staff committee and their collaborators have organised over 17 events that span the globe, and have created recordings, podcasts and interactive experiences all available to explore online.Email-Banner
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘disruption’: ‘the action of preventing something, especially a system, process, or event, from continuing as usual or as expected; the action of completely changing the traditional way that an industry or market operates by using new methods or technology.’
Elizabeth A Lasker, festival co-ordinator, writes, “Over the history of the festival this is the first time we have had to pivot the entire festival online to protect lives. The pandemic has seen us take a significant shift in taking our lives online. The silver lining is that we have been able to share our events with the online global community. There are many positive aspects to the tech shift, however the movement has also highlighted the deep and often hidden inequalities within our communities. In the UK, for example, we have seen schools transfer their teaching online and due to ‘tech poverty’, meaning little or no access due to lack of data quality, cost and equipment, some children have found themselves without access to education.
For many, the pandemic has been yet another layer over their already challenging and dire circumstances. We can turn our attention to the refugees on the Greek island of Samos, for example, the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, those that continue to work for less than a dollar a day in the garment sector, people living in war zones and those living under oppressive regimes. One stark connection is that over the last year, we have all been connected through the story and the disruption of the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues to sweep through our lives and communities we all know what it’s like to have our lives dismantled in some way and we all have a story. Our freedom to gather for worship, protest and celebrations; healthcare and exercise; freedom of movement; to education and rights to grieve in our traditional ways – the impact has been immense and life changing.”
The Oxford Human Rights Festival includes over 17 events that span the globe, and explore disruption in a wide-range of contexts, including the disruption the pandemic has brought to the lives of students at Oxford Brookes University. Check out the rest of the posts in this special edit to explore some of the festival highlights. You can find details of more events, and the festival exhibition, at the OxHRF website.