April 1, 2016

Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium: “Art & International Human Rights”

JUNCTURE: Explorations in Art and Human Rights
Georgios Giannopoulos, Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece, 2015. Photograph, 5,000 × 3,337 pixels. Creative Commons Attribution—Share Alike 4.0 International.

JUNCTURE is delighted to announce “Art & International Human Rights,” this year’s Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium. JUNCTURE is a new initiative sponsored by the Schell Center at Yale Law School. The symposium will take place at Yale Law School on April 7 and 8. The event is free and open to the public. The conversations will also be broadcast via a live-stream on the initiative’s website. A detailed schedule is available

The symposium will feature conversations with visiting artists currently collaborating with Yale law and graduate students on research projects. These will include discussions with Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani on the archive and its role in advocacy; Dipika Guha on form, drama, and justice; and Amalia Pica on eloquent objects, empathy, and dignity. The symposium will also include conversations with international artists, advocates, and curators whose work engages with timely human rights issues. Isabel Gahren and Cesy Leonard of the Center for Political Beauty will discuss artistic responses to the influx of refugees to Europe, whilst Sara El Adl, Assistant Curator at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, will speak to the pressures currently bearing on artists and art institutions in Egypt.

We will also be joined by Ramzi Kassem, Associate Professor of Law at City University of New York, Caroline Levine, Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hope Metcalf, Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, and Sharon Sliwinski, Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies at Western Ontario University.

The symposium will culminate in a town hall discussion that takes the concept of efficacy in art as its focus. How can we conceptualize the “efficacy” of an artwork or artistic intervention? How would we measure efficacy at the level of the individual, group, or state?

The symposium will feature a keynote address and reading by poet and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché.


JUNCTURE engages artists, curators, scholars, students and human rights practitioners in a yearlong exploration of the rich intersections between art, artistic practices and international human rights. The initiative is sponsored by the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, in cooperation with the Yale School of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery.

The initiative encompasses research collaborations with three artists and a playwright, fellowships for Yale MFA students, a multidisciplinary graduate seminar, publications, public lectures, and the Robert L. Bernstein Symposium.

In the fall of 2015, JUNCTURE’s multidisciplinary graduate seminar brought together JD, MFA, MA, and PhD students from across Yale, who studied human rights, aesthetics, law, art history, and critical theory. In parallel, seminar students, organized in small teams, are collaborating with visiting artists on yearlong, open-ended research projects toward the creation of new work.

In addition, JUNCTURE awarded five fellowships for travel and research to MFA students at the Yale School of Art. The fellowship recipients are Eddie Aparicio, Mauricio Cortes, Eli Durst, Tomashi Jackson, and Masha Vlasova. Their projects range across issues of gang violence in Los Angeles and rubber production in Central America; immigration at the US-Mexico border; colour theory, race, and police violence; and contemporary politics and protest cultures in Russia.

In March 2016, Eli Durst was awarded the 2016 Aperture Portfolio Prize for his work on Asmara, Eritrea.

JUNCTURE is also organizing a series of public lectures with prominent artists, scholars, and activists. In February 2016, Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar spoke about his understanding of the artist as creating models for “thinking the world.” In the fall of 2016, JUNCTURE will welcome Anne Pasternak, Doris Salcedo, Thierry de Duve, Andreas Huyssen, and Laurie Jo Reynolds, among others.

James Silk, clinical professor of law and director of the Schell Center, is the director of JUNCTURE. David Kim (JD, ’17) is the curator and deputy director of JUNCTURE. The initiative is generously supported by the Robina Foundation and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School.


JUNCTURE presents the Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium: "Art & International Human Rights"

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