HRE International Research Network 2022 Webinar Series


The Editors of Human Rights Education Review and the Convenors of the WERA International Research Network on Human Rights Education are pleased to announce that our 2022 Research Webinars runs from March – June 2022 on Wednesdays 17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin).


Past Webinars


16 March 2022

17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin)

The rhetoric and reality of human rights education: policy frameworks and teacher perspectives

Audrey Osler, University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway and University of Leeds, UK

Jon Arne Skarra, University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway

What happens when school curricula equate human rights principles with a particular religious or cultural tradition? Audrey Osler and Jon Arne Skarra consider education policy discourses in Norway, noting human rights as a key feature of national identity, said to underpin schooling. They illustrate how education policy maintains distinctions between those who embody national values and migrant others who need to learn them. They look closely at the human rights-related competences students are expected to have on completing 10th grade, examining social studies and religious education curricula and teacher interview data. Teachers have a lot of autonomy in selecting the knowledge though which these competences will be taught. The presenters consider whether the curriculum supports transformative human rights education (HRE), empowering learners to defend others’ rights and build solidarity across difference. Data suggest that HRE is frequently implicit, restricted, and dependent on teachers’ individual perceptions of rights. Teachers may lack legal knowledge and are unsure how to tackle everyday injustice or racism. Osler and Skarra conclude that a multicultural society and curriculum that equates Christian and humanist values with human rights denies pluralism, placing human rights culture at risk. They recommend education policy explicitly address shared HRE principles and recognise racial injustice. The authors’ full paper can be read here



6 April 2022

17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin)

Examining relationships and sex education through a child rights lens: an intersectional approach

Francesca Zanatta, Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London, UK.

In this presentation, Francesca Zanatta examines how teaching and learning about rights in an intersectional way can inform the topic of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), drawing on her experiences of teaching an undergraduate child rights module. The module, designed for future educators, intersects elements of children’s rights education with the theoretical positions of queer studies and critical pedagogy. Drawing on data from two focus groups, consisting of students following the programme, she analyses students’ views and attitudes to RSE, using Foucault’s overarching concept of problematisation and the concept of sites of struggle. Data analysis reveals tensions and potential clashes between the students’ professional selves, their personal values, and elements of the theoretical framework adopted in the course. These tensions are nevertheless constructive, highlighting the potential of children’s rights education to contribute to transformative human development. The author’s full paper can be accessed here



27 April 2022

17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin)

Human rights education as a framework for transmitting religion as cultural heritage

Eva Lindhardt, University College Copenhagen, Denmark

The child’s right to freedom of religion and belief and fundamental principles such as equality and non-discrimination constitute an international frame for religious education (RE). However, these rights risk being undermined when RE is allocated a major role in transmitting the majority religion as national cultural heritage and national identity. In this presentation Eva Lindhardt will explore and discuss this question. She will draw on her analysis of the transmission of Christianity as cultural heritage in the national RE curriculum for primary and lower secondary schools in Denmark. She argues that human rights education principles could provide a basis for an alternative pluralistic, objective, and critical approach to RE, thus enabling the classroom to function as a community of disagreement. The author’s full paper can be read here



29 June 2022

17.30-18.30 (Berlin CET); 16.30 – 17.30 (London/Dublin)

Register here

Developing political compassion through narrative imagination in human rights education

Iida PYY, University of Helsinki, Finland

In this presentation, Iida Pyy explores the work of Martha Nussbaum, arguing that political compassion is a necessary disposition for engaging with human rights principles and combatting social injustices such as racial discrimination. Drawing from Nussbaum’s theory of political emotions, she explores the need to understand compassion as connected to cognition and practical reasoning. Iida Pyy offers suggestions of how to educate towards political compassion in human rights education (HRE) through Nussbaum’s notion of narrative imagination. In order to address ways in which human rights education may be partial and counteract this tendency with alternative perspectives, the presenter draws on the work of critical HRE scholars and emphasises the importance of counter-narratives and reflective interpretation of narratives. She suggests that Nussbaum’s work on compassion and narrative imagination, informed by such critical considerations, opens up opportunities to look afresh at HRE theory and practice and inform thinking about rights, emotions and social justice. 


All past webinars can be found there on our YouTube Channel