Call for Expressions of Interest

Taking the Long View: Civil Society Resilience and Resistance

In an era characterised by the rapidity of change, communications and idea generation, there is often too little time or effort spent learning and applying lessons from the past for today’s contexts. There is also the danger that we lose sight of very real historical advances and successes, in a present characterised by crisis. Attention in the human rights movement has shifted from documenting shrinking space to thinking through strategies to push back, from reactive to more proactive responses. In this context, the workshop will ‘take the long view’ on the latter concerns, and support efforts to ‘reclaim the positive’ by focusing on 1) empirical, evidence-based studies of civil society resistance and resilience, and 2) historical precedents, lessons and insights of relevance to current situations.
In thinking about resilience and resistance, we encourage participants to distinguish between 'working the system' - working within and around restrictions and oppression - and 'working to subvert or replace the system' - strategies which more explicitly challenge restrictive and oppressive frameworks, and suggest or model alternatives. We are also keen to ‘externalise’ this critical self-reflection and learning. A critique of the human rights movement is that we have lost sight of ‘the people’, and as such we welcome reflections on what long-term struggles of resistance and resilience have meant to communities beyond the human rights movement. How did resilience and resistance lead to wider transformational change that benefited - and was recognised by - society?
We invite expressions of interest for a presentation, panel or other kind of input to the workshop. These could come from academics, organisations or social movements – we particularly encourage expressions of interest from early career researchers and practitioners, and innovative or non-conventional inputs (performances, interactive inputs). Please send expressions of interest of no more than 200 words, outlining who you are and what you would like to contribute to the workshop, to Pippa Cooper ( by 30 June 2019.