Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research

Forthcoming events

Rights Research Series

The Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research Seminar Series includes a range of events, including external speakers, work in progress seminars, brainstorming sessions, and doctoral debates.

In-person events are subject to us being able to book a room (rooms haven’t been released yet). Everyone is welcome - in whatever format is most convenient for you.

Spring 2022 Rights Research Series

Wednesday 23 Feb 2022, Book Launch! Dr Giorgia Baldi Un-Veiling Dichotomies: European Secularism and Women's Veiling 

Book Launch, Dr Giorgia Baldi Un-Veiling Dichotomies: European Secularism and Women's Veiling

Date: Wednesday 23 Feb 2022

Time: 12:30 to 2pm

Speaker: Dr Giorgia Baldi

Venue: Book via Eventbrite page here

The zoom link will be distributed ahead of the event. 

About the book: This book analyzes the implication of secular/liberal values in Western and human rights law and its impact on Muslim women. It offers an innovative reading of the tension between the religious and secular spheres. The author does not view the two as binary opposites. Rather, she believes they are twin categories that define specific forms of lives as well as a specific notion of womanhood. This divergence from the usual dichotomy opens the doors for a reinterpretation of secularism in contemporary Europe. This method also helps readers to view the study of religion vs. secularism in a new light. It allows for a better understanding of the challenges that contemporary Europe now faces regarding the accommodation of different religious identities. For instance, one entire section of the book concerns the practice of veiling and explores the contentious headscarf debate. It features case studies from Germany, France, and the UK. In addition, the analysis combines a wide range of disciplines and employs an integrated, comparative, and inter-disciplinary approach. The author successfully brings together arguments from different fields with a comparative legal and political analysis of Western and Islamic law and politics. This innovative study appeals to students and researchers while offering an important contribution to the debate over the role of religion in contemporary secular Europe and its impact on women’s rights and gender equality. More details available here

About the Author: Dr Giorgia Baldi is Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex, UK. Between 2013-17 she worked at Birkbeck, University of London, School of Law, as Associate Lecturer, teaching a variety of law related modules. Previously, she has worked for several years in the field of International Cooperation and Development, playing leading roles in women’s rights related programmes in the Middle East (2004-2011). Her research interests are state-religion relations, Gender and Religion, Women’s Rights and Human Rights, political theory, feminist theory etc.

Hosted by: Sussex Law School Research Seminar Series

Wednesday 23 March 2022, Dr Francesca Romana Ammaturo, Mediocrity as Method and Resistance: Human Rights, Sexual Citizenship and the Limits of Deservingness and Respectability

Dr. Francesca Romana Ammaturo, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Human Rights, University of Roehampton

Date: Wednesday 23 March 2022

Time: 2pm to 3:30pm

Venue: Online only - Sign up via Eventbrite here

Mediocrity as Method and Resistance: Human Rights, Sexual Citizenship and the Limits of Deservingness and Respectability


As a theoretical concept, ‘mediocrity’ is highly under conceptualised. And yet, it is a ubiquitous feature of both human and non-human forms of life (Milo 2020). Scholars across disciplines which interrogate the concept of mediocrity usually confer to the term a negative connotation. A life that does not strive for ‘excellence’ remains at the margins of capitalist societies as well as the polity. Whilst the concept of ‘deserving citizenship’ (Bassel 2021) is increasingly discussed, citizenship studies have yet to grapple with the concept of ‘mediocrity’ as a structuring feature of social and political participation. Queer scholars, particularly those working on the anti-social turn of queer theory, have instead acknowledged that failure is an escapable, yet devalued, part of human (and queer) experience.

This paper analyses from a theoretical perspective the potential that the concept of ‘mediocrity’ harbours in relation to Human Rights and Sexual Citizenship. It does so by discussing how deploying the concept of ‘mediocrity’ can both act as a ‘method’ deployed to normalise individuals along lines of respectability in intersectional terms (creating domesticated homonormative subjects along lines of ‘race’, class, as well as sexual behaviours); as well as be appropriated by queer subjects themselves as a practice of resistance to resist the capitalist narratives of ‘excellence’ and ‘deservingness’ associated with the attribution of the privileges of belonging to the polity or the nation.

Autumn 2021 Rights Research Series

Wednesday 20th October 2021,  'Facilitating Minority- Refugees' Access to Refugee Rights: An intersectional Approach'

Date: Wednesday 20th October 2021

Time: 2pm to 3pm

Title: 'Facilitating Minority-Refugees' Access to Refugee Rights: An Intersectional Approach’

Speaker: Isilay Taban, University of Brighton

Venue: Freeman F40 and online 

Venue: Book via Eventbrite here

The zoom link will be distributed ahead of the event. 


Host States are under an obligation to allow refugees to enjoy basic refugee rights equally without discrimination under international human rights law. In the implementation of these rights, however, they often adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach that has the potential to undermine this obligation. This approach perceives refugees as a homogenous group, failing to acknowledge the unique forms of disadvantage that they experience as a result of the intersection of their distinct identity groups. This paper illustrates the negative consequences of this approach through the example of minority-refugees. Drawing on intersectionality, it highlights the specific challenges that minority-refugees face in the enjoyment of their rights as a result of the intersection of their minority and refugee status. By failing to appreciate this intersection, host States run the risk of not only discriminating against them in their enjoyment of the right to housing and the right to health, but also violating the principle of non-refoulement. This paper argues that if host States are to achieve their commitment under international human rights law to ensure that refugee rights are accessible to all refugees, including minority-refugees, and enjoyed equally, it is essential that they adopt an intersectional approach to the implementation of these rights.

To watch a recording of the talk click here

Wednesday 27th Oct 2021, Intersections in Research: Coffee and Chat

Date: Wednesday 27th October 2021

Time: 12:30pm to 2pm

Title: Intersections in Research: Coffee and chat, joint session with the Critical Theory Research Cluster

Wednesday 3rd November 2021, 'Domestic Abuse during the COVID-19 Pandemic - International Human Rights Responses'

Date: Wednesday 3rd November 2021

Time: 1pm to 2pm

Title: 'Domestic Abuse during the COVID-19 Pandemic - International Human Rights Responses'

Speaker: Ronagh McQuigg, School of Law, QUB

Event: Book via Eventbrite page

To watch a recording of the talk click here

Friday 12th November 2021, 'Fragmentation in the Field of Cultural Rights: Ways Forward'

Date: Friday 12th November 2021

Time: 2pm to 3:30pm

Title: 'Fragmentation in the Field of Cultural Rights: Ways Foward'

Speaker: Alexandra Xanthaki, Brunel Law School

Event: Online and in-person

To watch a recording of the talk click here

Friday 19th November 2021,  PhD work in progress

Date: Friday 19th November 2021

Time: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Event: Online

Speaker: Cecilia Manzotti, Sussex Law School,

Title: 'The role and relevance of nationality status determination in asylum procedures under the CEAS and the potential impact of the “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”’

Speaker: Isabella Leroy, Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law

Title: ‘Exceptionalism in action? The legal impacts of the COVID pandemic on the Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes of Melilla.

Tuesday 30th November 2021 Co-sponsored Event with the Co-Chairs of  "The People's Review of Prevent" and Dr Thomas Martin of the Open University

Date: Tuesday 30th November 2021

Time: 5pm to 6pm

Event: Online

Speakers: Dr Layla Aitlhadj is the Director and Senior Caseworker at Prevent Watch where she supports people adversely impacted by the Prevent Duty. Layla has published extensively on Prevent and the broader Counter-Terrorism legislation across multiple platforms. She has edited lengthier academic reports and led more in-depth advocacy-based research.

Prof John Holmwood is Professor Emeritus in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. Professor Holmwood has served as expert witness for the defence of the teachers accused in the Birmingham – ‘The Trojan Horse Affair’.

Dr Thomas Martin is a Lecturer in International Studies at the Open University. He researches UK security policy and practice, and he has published widely on the ‘Prevent’ policy, including a book with Manchester University Press, Counter-Radicalisation Policy and the Securing of British Identity: The Politics of Prevent.

Event Description:

‘Prevent’ - a government programme aimed at preventing ‘radicalisation’ of ‘vulnerable’ individuals and the risks of them becoming ‘drawn into terrorism’ has been an integral part of UK counter-terrorism policy for over a decade. During this time, it has come under serious critique by critical academic scholarship on political violence and counter-terrorism, by civil society, and by citizens themselves (differentially) affected by its ever-expanding operations in political, civic and private life. Such has been the concern over ‘Prevent’ that The Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act of 2019 acknowledged the need for an ‘independent review’ of it. Intense controversy over the figures appointed to lead it (first Lord Carlile, then William Shawcross), has led to its boycott by civil society organisations and calls for a ‘People’s Review of Prevent’, now underway.

The Co-Chairs of the ‘People’s Review’ join us for a session to discuss the failings of reviews and other forms of scrutiny and the parameters and aims of their call as an alternative to the Government’s own process. The session will include a Q&A.

The event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Rights and Anti-Colonial Justice, the Sussex Critical Theory Research Group, and the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research.

Cancelled- to be rescheduled for the new year - Wednesday 1st December 2021, 'Looking Beyond Internalisation: European Minority Rights in Question'

Date: Wednesday 1st December 2021 - Cancelled to be rescheduled for the new year

Time: 1pm to 2pm 

Event: Online and in-person

Speaker: Elizabeth Craig, Sussex Law School

Title: ‘Looking Beyond Internalisation: European Minority Rights in Question’

Tuesday 7th December 2021 - SOGICA Book Launch and end of term celebration

Stephanie Berry is delighted to announce that on 7th December 11am-1pm, the Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research will host a book launch for SOGICA.

Time: 11am to 1pm

The event will be hybrid

Online: Register here via Eventbrite

In person: Arts C233, refreshments provided

If you would like to attend in person please let Stephanie Berry know via email: to ensure room size and catering is appropriate.

The SOGICA project carefully studied the legal and social experiences of people claiming international protection in Europe on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) between 2016 and 2020. The project’s main outcome has been a two-volume open-access book published by Springer in 2021. The book offers a theoretically and empirically-grounded analysis that shows how European asylum systems might and should treat asylum claims based on people’s SOGI in a fairer, more humane way. Through a combined comparative, interdisciplinary (socio-legal), human rights, feminist, queer and intersectional approach, the authors analyse how SOGI-related claims are adjudicated in different European frameworks (European Union, Council of Europe, Germany, Italy and UK) and offer detailed recommendations to adequately address the intersectional experiences of individuals seeking asylum.

In this book launch, the authors will discuss the book with several stakeholders from across the three country case studies adopted in the SOGICA project and consider what the future holds in this field:

• Dr Francesca Ammaturo (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Human Rights, University of Roehampton London, UK)
• Marsha Ennis (Human Rights Activist and S.O.G.I.C.A Immigrant, Germany)
• Dr. Petra Sußner (Co-Investigator & Post Doc Researcher, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
• Denise Venturi (Reporting Associate, UNHCR Italy)
• Leila Zadeh (Executive Director, Rainbow Migration, UK)

Please join us to celebrate the achievements of Carmelo, Moira, Nuno and Nina!