[Programme & Registration] Annual PhD Training 2023: Positioning Yourself as a Human Rights Scholar

Published 6 April 2023

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Each year the NNHRR organises a PhD Training aimed at 1st and 2nd year PhD students. This year’s event will take place at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on Wednesday, 31 May 2023 09:30-17:00 CEST, and is organised in collaboration with the Asser Institute of International and European Law. This year’s training will revolve around the theme ‘How to position yourself as a human rights scholar: Methods, activism and academic culture’. The aim of this training is to provide participants with the tools to develop as a human rights scholar and activist. This year’s training will include modules on various research methodologies, how to balance activism and scholarship as a researcher in human rights, and how to sustainably be a ‘happy academic’.

 Registration for the event is now closed. Below you will find this year's programme. To view the full programme, click here.

 PhD Training: How to position yourself as a human rights scholar: Methods, activism and academic culture


09:30 – 10:00 Walk-in + coffee/tea

10:00 – 10:15  Welcome and opening remarks
Prof. mr. Hemme Battjes, Dean of the VU Faculty of Law and professor of EU migration and human rights law

10:15 – 11.45 Methodologies in Human Rights Research

10:15 – 10:30
dr. Anja Eleveld, VU Faculty of Law
Introduction on combining dogmatic and empirical research methods in Human Rights Research

10:30 – 11:45
Four parallel sessions will start, all focusing on a different methodology approach and the challenges that PhD candidates may encounter using these methods for their own research.

Session 1: dr. Nieke Elbers: Quantitative research methods
Session 2: drs. Lea Zuyderhoudt, MA: The use of semi-structured interviews
Session 3: mr. dr. Anja Eleveld: Systematic case law analysis
Session 4: dr. Berber Laarman: Action research

11:45 - 13:15 Lunch Break at restaurant Oliver’s

13:15 – 14:45 Workshop: ‘What’s Wrong with Human Rights Activism?’
Prof. dr. Wouter Veraart, professor of legal philosophy, VU Faculty of Law
How far should judges and legal scholars go in their defense of human rights and legal activism? Given the fact that almost everywhere the rule of law is under threat, and that lawyers usually care for checks and balances between the different branches of power, this is an urgent question. This workshop tries to navigate a realm of legal activism in which we are witnessing historic court cases addressing climate change and other pressing issues, but also populist attacks on the 'undemocatric' judiciary, which would possess far too much power. Two divergent views of two former top judges on the role of the judge in a democracy, will serve as a starting point in the discussion.

14:45 – 15:00 Coffee/Tea break

15:00 – 17:00 Workshop: ‘The Happy Academic’
Dr. Joeri Tijdink, MD, author of the book The Happy Academic: How to Succeed and Stay Healthy in Academia (2023) and Assistant Professor at the Philosophy Department (Faculty of Humanities) and the Ethics, Law and Humanities Department (Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc).
PhD-candidates are sometimes considered the rockstars in academia. They conduct most of the research and have other important academic tasks such as teaching. However, this may also come with a high workload and some experience mental health problems. It is therefore important to learn how to navigate the academic ocean and take care of your mental health. It may enrich your academic life and will hopefully lead to being a happy academic.

17:00 – 20:30 Drinks at the VU followed by dinner at restaurant Orontes