As part of LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2011, Professor Conor Gearty began a collaborative writing project which presented a new way of thinking, talking and writing about human rights, their past, their current health and their future prospects.
Having started with his RIGHTS' MANIFESTO on October 6, Gearty released a series of weekly essays onto the web which probed the history of human rights, addressing their present state in the world and mapping out some of the possible futures that await this morally important but highly contested phrase. Gearty has a particular view of his subject, believing human rights to be the only potentially radical and genuinely universal idea available to us in this post-socialist world of fear, money and lost souls. Too important to be left to lawyers but too subversive to be handed over to the politicians alone, human rights need the intellectuals, the workers and the streets if their model of a new kind of society has any chance of beginning to be built.
Each week an essay appeared online, alongside regular longer items and occasional brief remarks on current affairs, each post being open for comment from the general public. The result has been a series of essays, discussion and critical engagements addressing issues such as the meaning of human rights, the relationship between human rights and political action, and the role of religion in human rights. See the full project: The Rights' Future.
The project was launched at an event on Wednesday 6 October 2010 at 6.30pm with Professor Costas Douzinas, Professor Conor Gearty, Professor Francesca Klug and David Lammy MP, see podcast and video online The Rights' Future.
The project ended with a debate on the future of Human Rights at the LSE Literary Festival 2011 in February 2011 with Professor Gearty and David Davis MP, see podcast and video online, This House Believes that the Future of Rights is Left not Right.