This past spring, long-time EAS participant, advisory board member, and artist, Ramon Blanco-Barrera co-led, developed, and facilitated the International Arts & Human Rights Symposium with Principal Investigator, Oonagh E. Fitzgerald (international lawyer and artist) at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) of the University of Ottawa. EAS was honored to gather online with several dozen colleagues from around the globe and reflect together on human rights and the role of the arts in today’s world. The EAS team continues to value and draw from the lively dialogue and exchange, provocative presentations and performances, rich ideas, resources and connections that we experienced throughout the symposium. Ramon generously agreed to write a short piece with links to the newly minted symposium website, enabling us to share it with you here.
The Second International Arts and Human Rights Symposium was held and promoted by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) of the University of Ottawa, timed (April 12-13, 2022) to celebrate World Art Day (April 15) and developed in the context of the 40th anniversary of HRREC and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Artists, human rights advocates and activists, philosophers, teachers, sociologists, historians, and many others from around the world, across diverse fields and backgrounds, met to discuss the topic ‘Building Positive Relations: The Arts, New Materialism, Posthumanism & Human Rights.’ The Symposium was structured around six roundtables where guest speakers presented their work on the following themes:
- - New Materialism, Post Humanism and Human rights
- - 4 Decades and 40 Years of Art, Philosophy and Human Rights In celebration of HRREC’s 40th anniversary
- - Globalization, Human Rights and Art
- - Sustainability, Equity and Justice in Teaching Human Rights and Art
- - Anti-Coloniality, Intersectionality, and Identity
- - Healing from Human rights and Anthropocene Trauma through Art\Creation
An additional forum emerged ‘Articulating a Manifesto on Human Rights and the Arts for our Times.’
Altogether the symposium highlighted contrasting and high-level communications and performances, enriching a diversity of perspectives and ideas on wide-ranging subjects that include: our collective existence; the connections between us and our surroundings; the un\sub\trans\posthuman and the use of new technologies; techno-capitalism; materiality and the bodies entangled with our production and consumption; the capacity of art to convey meaning in a mobilizing manner; human needs; social justice; the pandemic; climate change, socio-economic inequality; the abstract symbols of words and letters that make communication more difficult; the inequitable hierarchies that still persist in our world; the role of resisting and moving forward; the imagination of other futures; the face of the unfaced\invisible\absent; our ethical relationships with life and the universe in all forms; hope and much more. All these ideas represent interconnected imaginaries of our current world with the intent to raise awareness, inspire others and generate new healthy experiences in harmony with everything.
Visit the symposium website for detailed information and resources,
including Day 1 videos and Day 2 videos.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramon Blanco-Barrera is a Social Catalyst & Artist who sends social and political messages intended to inspire people to reflect on their communities, both local and universal. Ph.D. (2021). Currently he is a Faculty Member of Fine Arts at the University of Seville (Spain) teaching new media-based courses.