While we describe ourselves as a new creative hub, The Rights Studio is, in fact, an invitation. An invitation into a new way of thinking and doing, one which begins with questioning everything we take for granted. In particular, how we contribute – or think we contribute – to a better world. We will not have all the answers, but we want to ask better questions.
We don’t want to add to the noise and antagonism that we see permeating so many spaces and want this to be a space for new thinking and new conversations.
In doing so we want to try a different approach, one which focuses on two concepts: human rights and art. But we intend to adopt these two concepts in broad terms.
First of all, we are mindful of the environmental and climate crisis that all life on this planet is facing. We therefore seek to understand how our contribution to the protection of human rights fits within this broader narrative.
Secondly, as Michel Foucault said, “Art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. … Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?” So why not aspire to run the Rights Studio as an art form in and of itself?
You can read more about our journey in this process in our weekly journal.
Why Children’s Rights?
Children’s rights are human rights, this is as simple as it should be. However, it’s rarely understood or advocated in this way, at least not consistently. Rather, when it comes to children, the overwhelming approach is one of pity or charity.
Giving more rights and freedoms to groups of people who have traditionally not had them is always going to be threatening to some people, in particular those who hold more power and fear losing it, be it governments, institutions, adults or parents. However advancing freedom and equality for one group, advances freedom and equality for everyone.
A focus on children’s rights is also a way to point to the urgency and immediacy of actions that are required by society; children are humans today, with human rights today. But it is also a way to connect with our ancestors and with future generations so that our actions are grounded in work done before us and builds foundations for those who will come next.
Fighting for children’s rights is not just for children and their families, it’s not just for lawyers or NGOs or people who make the policy – it’s the foundation of an open, free and collaborative society.
Art has its roots in real life.
Metaphor and poetic figures as allegories are normally used in a very specific context unrelated to science. Always inviting other perspectives and perceptions married with a poetic sense of the world. Our intention here is to bring this artistic language into a science-social context, helping to open new communication roads. Art is a way of sensing the world which escapes classification, an emotional process that can complement the objectiveness that seems to govern society.
Art, in any form, can be understood as another kind of knowledge that needs and respects the freedom of the individual, the imagination and the capacity of creation; that is, the premises for criticism. The latter being the one that opens the door to nonconformity, this where any hope of radical change lies.