Identity on the agenda at human rights festival

Tuesday, 06 March 2018

OxHRF21108

Students and staff at Oxford Brookes will present a programme of films, performances, talks and workshops exploring what makes us who we are for the Oxford Human Rights Festival 2018.

In its 16th year the festival will run from 12-17 March, and explore topical issues around identity including gender, mental health, disability, conflict and race and poverty.

A performance by rock band Delta 7 will kick off the festival. The band members from Eastbourne all have different learning disabilities and formed the group to express themselves and challenge stereotypes.

They rose to fame after a documentary about them won the Picturehouse Short Film Competition last year and this led to the release of their first single ‘The Jungle’.

Commenting ahead of their performance the band said: "We feel strongly that everyone has the right to be identified as they choose, not to be labelled. The film that was made about the band, focussed on the sense of belonging that we have as a band. We are all really different as individuals, with different personalities, different challenges and different talents but we come together to make music and that gives Delta 7 a very positive and powerful sense of identity.

"We can't wait to be part of the Oxford Human Rights Festival and we plan to open it with a big loud bang!"

Delta7

Another festival highlight will be a live performance of the highly acclaimed Borderline, (pictured below) a satire of the Calais Jungle devised and performed by an ensemble of European and refugee artists.

Fresh from a sell-out UK tour, the cast of is made up of 13 members, seven of whom are refugees and asylum seekers who met while in the Calais camps. The play, directed by Sophie Besse, gives the refugees and asylum seekers a way to express comedy as a way to contrast their tragedy.

I have enjoyed being behind the scenes of the festival, seeing how committee members communicate and work together to produce such a powerful week full of information, performances and speakers.

Miriam Slaymaker, studying MA Development and Emergency Practice

The Oxford Human Rights Festival is organised by students from Oxford Brookes’ Development and Emergency Practice and Applied Architectural Design masters programmes as well as students on other courses at the University.

Miriam Slaymaker, studying MA Development and Emergency Practice said: “Human rights and personal identity is incredibly important. One's right to a personal identity begins with the right to life. We know that it is only through existing that one can cultivate their personal identity.

“We have speakers and panel members from as far afield as Tibet, Palestine, and Syria, and we are also showcasing the research and work being done here at Oxford Brookes in our lunchtime seminars series.

“I have enjoyed being behind the scenes of the festival, seeing how committee members communicate and work together to produce such a powerful week full of information, performances and speakers.”

Each year the festival features an art exhibition; currently on display until 23 March, is Troubled Eyes, with photography by Andrew McNeill, a humanitarian photographer focusing on the human condition.

He began his work in 2014 on a digital documentary entitled Under the Bridge exploring the urban population of his hometown Cardiff. He has also worked with non-government organisations throughout Asia and in some of India’s worse slums.

The Oxford Human Rights Festival will take place at the University’s Headington Campus and is open to all. The majority of the events are free however booking may be required for some.

A full programme of events can be found on the website www.oxfordhumanrightsfestival.net

Borderline