“My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.”

— Louis Riel

art and human rights

In recognition of the Arts as an integral medium of learning and expression, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) has launched The Arts and Human Rights Program (A+HR Programme). The objective of this powerful new initiative is to raise awareness and engage individuals in a multidisciplinary interrogation of human rights issues that is framed through various forms of creative artistic expression such as visual, performance, media, cinematographic, musical and literary arts.

The A+HR Programme is divided into three interrelated components: educational outreach, teaching and research.

Follow us on Twitter: @uOttawaHRREC

Building Positive Relations: A Manifesto for the Arts, New Materialism, Posthumanism & Human Rights

This arts and human rights project led by HRREC Senior Fellow Oonagh E. Fitzgerald as principal investigator and co-chaired by HRREC Community Member233 | Ramon Blanco-Barrera, was developed as the 2nd Arts + Human Rights Symposium of the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC).  

In January 2022 there were two preparatory workshops:

  1. What are Human Rights in the Posthuman Age of the Anthropocene?
  2. The Arts and Human Rights in the Context of Being Cyborgs, Living Speculative Futures

These led to a two-day Symposium in April 2022 on the theme of Building Positive Relations: The Arts, New Materialism, Posthumanism and Human Rights.

Artistic works, experiences and ideas shared among participants enriched our understanding of how to build positive relations between the arts, new materialism, posthumanism, and human rights. Over the summer participants provided feedback on an initial draft of ideas for a manifesto, which were incorporated in a finalized version, provided in English, French and Spanish.

Participants included human rights, philosophy and arts teachers and advocates and artists, story tellers, dancers, and musicians from around the world, generously sharing their insights, understanding and vision. Video recordings of the symposium, the Manifesto and the reports of the workshops and symposium including brief biographical information about participants can be found here.

In partnership between HRREC, Concordia University’s Milieux and LeParc, Universidad de Sevilla, and Emergent Art Space (EAS), a multimedia exposition will be held from May 29 to June 10. 2023 at Video Performance Studio (EV-10-760) Concordia Engineering And Visual Arts (EV) — Building 1515 | Saint-Catherine St West | Montreal. This will allow a further exploration of the linkages between the arts and human rights and the ideas in the Manifesto. In addition, young artists are invited to submit visual art works to the Emergent Art Space Call. EAS will present up to 30 artists’ works in both a virtual exhibition on their website and in the live exhibition in Montreal.

Images of Justice 2021: The Right to Housing

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) is pleased to participate, in partnership with CONTEKSTTHE SHIFT, the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, the Ryerson Lincoln Alexander School of Law, and The Law Foundation of Ontario, in the third edition of IMAGES of JUSTICE: The Right to Housing

The Right to Housing

Images of Justice 2020: Children & Human Rights

Children & Human Rights



An Image of Justice 2019: Genocide, Truth & Reconciliation

Genocide, Truth & Reconciliation

Summer School on the Arts + Human Rights

Please note that the Summer School on The Arts and Human Rights will not be offered in 2020.

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) offered three Summer School on The Arts and Human Rights (AHR) under the theme Indigenous Arts and Culture between 2016 and 2018.

The goal of this course was to explore issues around the Art as a manifestation of human rights and as an instrument for the promotion of human rights. The course was open to students (for credit or not) as well as academics, government employees, NGO and IO staff, indigenous and community representatives, artists, activists and cultural workers. The course featured leading scholars, practitioners and artists and the curriculum blended traditional and artistic pedagogical methods.

THE UNIVERSAL GAME - One Flag to Connect Us All

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) is delighted to present THE UNIVERSAL GAME. One flag to connect us all, an outreach art project from the Centre conceived and produced in 2015 by 233, Visiting Artist from the University of Seville.

See the teaser for THE UNIVERSAL GAME - One Flag to Connect Us All.

Conversation about the project with Viviana Fernandez and Artist 233.

The motivation for this project came from a desire to mark International Human Rights Day (December 10) through art. The concept entailed putting together pieces of flags reflecting the nationalities of uOttawa students in a large banner (canvas) displayed in a central location within campus. Elements of this jigsaw will included parts of flags and universal symbols such as the dove, the flame, the balance, etc.

In order to create the canvas, HRREC invited the uOttawa community to participate in a Jigsaw Day, Let’s Play!, a collective art performance. Once the game was finished, the resulting design was photographed and printed onto a vinyl banner. Pieces of the jigsaw were previously created in an art workshop also open to the public. The banner was unveiled to the uOttawa community on December 10, 2015.

The message is one of union, diversity and rich global exchange and inclusivity.

Important dates:

Contact the artist : [email protected]

This initiative was supported by the uOttawa Community Life Service, the uOttawa Department of Visual Arts, and the University of Seville. It was also registered within a call for action from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

One Flag to Connect Us All