Tackling adversity: The Oxford Human Rights Festival

Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Oxford Human Rights Festival logo

In its 14th year, the Oxford Human Rights Festival is back at Oxford Brookes University for 2016 raising awareness of human rights and conflict through the arts.

Taking place next week (10-13 February) the culture-packed festival brings together people of different backgrounds to highlight a diverse range of issues impacting the UK and the world.  

The festival is organised by students from Oxford Brookes’ Development and Emergency Practice and Applied Architectural Design Masters programmes as well as BA Film Studies students. It will feature a selection of films, animation, drama, music, talks and workshops.

The festival will take viewers on a journey highlighting issues of women in adversity, environmental adversity and climate change, the perils of fleeing from adversity, and adversity closer to home particularly housing and poverty issues in Britain.

Katie Reilly, Oxford Brookes student

Katie Reilly, one of the students behind this year’s festival said: “In the midst of numerous crises hitting the world in the last year, such as high-intensity conflicts, growing refugee camps and climate change, we have worked together to curate a hard-hitting and diverse programme themed around adversity.  

“The festival will take viewers on a journey highlighting issues of women in adversity, environmental adversity and climate change, the perils of fleeing from adversity, and adversity closer to home particularly housing and poverty issues in Britain.”  

The centrepiece of this year’s Oxford Human Rights Festival is an exhibition entitled Women in Adversity: contemporary and traditional crafts as a source of hope and income. It went on display in the University’s Glass Tank in January and will run until 19 February. The exhibition features handcrafted pieces made by women all over the world including The Palestinian History Tapestry, made by women in refugee camps in Gaza, and the Keiskamma Tapestry, illustrating the life of the people of the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  

Another highlight will be a screening, in partnership with the popular Oxford Brookes University Documentary Club, of He Named Me Malala. The powerful documentary tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl who was shot in the head after campaigning for the education of girls in Pakistan. Miraculously, she survived and the film documents her awe-inspiring journey. Special guest Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father, will introduce the film.

There will also be a screening of the 2015 British film Suffragette, staring Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep introduced by special guest Sarah Gavron director of the film.

The Oxford Human Rights Festival is free and open to everyone with all events taking place on the University’s Headington Campus. More information and a full programme of the events is available on the festival websiteBooking is essential for some of the events.

He Named Me Malala is being screened thanks to the Malala Fund. Worldwide, more than 60 million girls are not in school today. The Malala Fund’s goal is to enable all girls to complete 12 years of free, safe, quality education, working with partners all over the world to help empower girls and amplify their voices, by investing in local education leaders and programmes and advocating for more resources and safe schools for every child.

For more information and to get involved in visit Malala.org. The film will shortly be available on Digital HD and DVD from 29 February and will air on the National Geographic Channel on 1 March at 9.00pm.