In March, clinicians Anna Crowe, Bea Lindstrom, and Aminta Ossom traveled to Charlottesville, VA to participate in the 2023 International Human Rights Clinicians’ Conference hosted by the University of Virginia.
Crowe and Lindstrom spoke on the panel, “Innovations in Clinical Human Rights Pedagogy and Practice” and shared experiences from IHRC. Lindstrom reflected on the pedagogic opportunities and challenges of structuring a clinic project around open-ended advocacy without a defined work product or research question. She focused on her experience supervising teams of students who have been designing and implementing a strategic advocacy campaign to secure remedies for lead-poisoned Roma communities in Kosovo. Crowe highlighted the Clinic’s recent experience revamping its interviewing simulation to reflect changes in the human rights field and pedagogical goals.
Speaking on the panel, “Anti-Racism and Anti-Colonial Clinical Practice,” Ossom discussed approaches for teaching anti-racist practice in an international human rights clinic seminar. She shared that teaching law students from many countries working simultaneously in many different contexts presents unique challenges in terms of course design. Ossom suggested pairing readings from the TWAIL and critical legal studies canons with background materials that give students a window into practitioners’ lived experiences. This combination situates course discussions in history while concretely demonstrating how racial inequality manifests in day-to-day human rights practice. Discussing non-binary concepts related to representation, accountability, and legitimacy facilitates conversations about bias that are globally applicable. Providing example frameworks for re-orienting power imbalances also empowers students with tools that they can use to respond to racial discrimination and inequality when it appears in their work.
IHRC clinicians were also thrilled to connect, at the conference, with HLS and Clinic alumni now working as human rights clinicians. We look forward to hosting the annual conference in Cambridge next spring, kicking off a series of events to celebrate the Clinic’s 20th anniversary across the 2024-25 academic year.