LAW 589

Human Rights Advocacy & Storytelling


Public Interest Law

Human rights organizations and movements spend a significant amount of time and resources to develop strong advocacy strategies to advance the protection of human rights. Advocacy can be made (or broken) by the way a problem analysis is conducted, or in the way smart and achievable objectives are identified or advocacy targets are selected. Above all, advocacy work relies on the ability to tell a powerful story that can trigger empathy, urgency, and inspire tangible change.  
 
In a collaboration between the Law School and Television, Film and Theatre (TFT) School, this multidisciplinary course will bring students behind the scenes of how NGOs design and develop advocacy strategies and public campaigns, with a particular focus on how they can be supported by communications, storytelling and film making. The course will be 9 weeks long, open to both students from the Law school and TFT, and include direct collaboration with world-leading human rights organizations. Each week, classes will alternate between the format of seminars and workshops.  
• During the seminars, students will be introduced key principles, methodologies and discuss case studies focusing on the intersection between human rights, the law and storytelling. Students will discuss key dilemmas faced by practitioners in their day-to-day work: how can we meaningfully engage the public without undermining key human rights law principles? How can we change underlying social norms and “change hearts and minds” to secure support for human rights laws and policies? 
• During the workshops, students will be divided into groups, each with representatives from both Law school and TFT, and have the unique opportunity to work directly with leading global human rights organizations to support the development of a real-life advocacy strategy. In particular, law students will carry out in-depth research on the issue at hand and provide advice on advocacy targets and influencing opportunities. TFT students will work on one (or more) short films to support the partner organization’s campaign. NGO partnerships that are being explored at the moment include global leaders in the field of human rights such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. 
 
By the end of the semester students will gain an understanding of the different steps and methodologies available to develop advocacy strategies and support social impact filmmakers to protect or strengthen human rights norms and principles.  

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