The Human Rights Creatives
About this webinar
The fifth webinar of the series ‘The Road Less Traveled’ focused on the creatives among the graduates. There are those who may never step into the courtroom to defend human rights but are creating impact and lasting change through their artistic and cultural work. We discussed with the human rights creatives who are skillfully wielding the tools of literature, music, dance and film to advocate for human rights.
We have to think about a new, multicultural conceptualization of human rights
Laura María Calderón Cuevas
Multidisciplinary Teaching Artist, Performer, and Internationalist with a strong background in creative music, dance, singing, and human rights activism. She is a Music-Centered Workshop Senior Leader and Project Manager in Greece at Musicians For Human Rights.
I have seen how, from a very close perspective, when films are showcased in front of new audiences, how they start conversations, how they change perspectives.
Lucrecia Cisneros Rincón
Young Venezuelan filmmaker and journalist. She has specialised in human rights and violence prevention. Her first short documentary, COLATERAL, has been awarded several times in international festivals. Invisibile is her second short film.
Alumna of GC Europe
Follow her on twitter @cisnerosrincon
I think it’s crucial for content creators to be aware - and even wary - of the power that they have
Nigerian lawyer and storyteller. His debut novel Fimi sile Forever was shortlisted for the LAMBDA Literary Prize for Best Gay Fiction 2018. He is presently a communications officer at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. He is rounding off his doctoral studies exploring ‘a place for indigenous storytelling in Nigerian queer rights advocacy’. He also attends AFDA in Johannesburg where is enrolled for an Honours degree in Motion Picture Medium.
Alumnus of GC Africa
Follow him on twitter @NnannaIkpo
Human rights is for me ‘a perspective’ through which I look at the world
Has a Bachelor in Literature and a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratization for Latin America and the Caribbean. She is currently doing a Doctorate in Latin American Literature and Cultural Criticism. She studies the representations of femicides in contemporary Argentine literature. She teaches writing workshops and works in cultural management and works in the Ministry of Culture of Argentina.
Alumna of GC Latin America and the Caribbean
Follow her on Instagram @kreplings
The Human Rights Creatives
On Wednesday June 22nd, Adebayo Okeowo moderated the fifth webinar of the series The Road Less Travelled.
This 90-minute conversation gathered Human Rights Creatives. Laura María Calderón Cuevas, Lucrecia Cisneros Rincón, David Ikpo and Inés Kreplak shared the stories that led them to the human rights field, as well as the artistic passions which have informed and reinforced their work - including literature, music and photography. Hailing from different parts of the world, the speakers were united in their desire to share the stories that are often marginalised, and to intentionally centre them through art.
Laura Maria Calderon Cuevas
“We have to think about a new, multicultural conceptualization of human rights”
Laura, a multidisciplinary teaching artist, performer, and project manager at Musicians For Human Rights in Greece, spoke to participants of her experience working at the UN by day in New York, then at night going to perform with other musicians. The two worlds, she said, led her to understand how important music is to the development of the spirit, and how fundamentally important it is to nurture the exploration of music within societies. It was this duality of practices that led her to pursue the master in human rights at GC Europe, reinforcing her belief in the development of artistic talent as a human right. “Music and dance have always been a place for me to get balance,” she explained. “I understood the power of doing art - within myself and I wanted to open this space for the people that have suffered from the system the most.” This intimate appreciation of the idea of transformation, and how music can alter realities, led Laura to work alongside refugees, including with her recent Lullaby Project. “We have to give importance to connection and empowerment through creativity and expression.”
Lucrecia Cisneros Rincón
“I have seen how, from a very close perspective, when films are showcased in front of new audiences, how they start conversations, how they change perspectives.”
Lucrecia is a young, daring Venezuelan filmmaker and journalist who has specialised in human rights and violence prevention. Her first short documentary, COLATERAL, received multiple awards in international festivals, despite the immense risk the undertaking posed to her and her fellow filmmakers involved in the production of the film. This was followed by a second film, Invisibile about the first signs of domestic violence. Lucrecia spoke passionately about the ability films have to share stories, allowing them to have a global impact and open up conversations about human rights worldwide. “I’m just the medium, but it’s not my story” – this, she said, was her key. The filmmaking arena was just one way to tell stories, and merely the conduit for doing so.
“There’s hardly a protocol for the human rights filmmaker.”
A Nigerian lawyer and storyteller, David’s debut novel Fimi sile Forever was shortlisted for the LAMBDA Literary Prize for Best Gay Fiction 2018. He is currently a communications officer at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria where he explores ‘a place for Indigenous storytelling in Nigerian queer rights advocacy’ in a doctoral program. David’s interest in human rights and storytelling come from a desire to share meaning through words but also pictures and films. “I want to look at how the meaning of things can be expanded through more creative means within people,” David explained to participants. David spoke of his belief in both the place and the importance of stories, both within classrooms but also in the broader society. “Is society ready for queer rights?” he asked rhetorically. The answer, he’s found, is yes: queer music has been one telling measure of readiness, evidence queerness, like stories has a place both in classrooms and film spaces. “I think it’s crucial for content creators to be aware - and even wary - of the power that they have,” David said. “It’s not just having a content form,” David continued, speaking of the filmmaker-subject relationship. “It’s, do you understand what they’re saying, in the short term and in the long term? Do you understand what you are putting them through, and are you ready to bear that level of responsibility? If you don’t have this conversation, you are not ready.”
“I started to study the connection between literature and violence against women and queer people - and that’s how I started to think my art career, with this perspective.”
Inés felt that combining her interests: literature, gender and human rights happened in a natural way as she grew up in Argentina where there is a strong human rights culture and as she comes from a family of people engaged in politics and human rights. She started by connecting literature and gender-based violence. Holding a Bachelor in Literature and a Master in Human Rights, Inés is currently completing a PhD in Latin American Literature and Cultural Criticism where she explores the representations of femicides in contemporary Argentine literature. A prolific and thoughtful writer, she teaches writing workshops and works in cultural management in the Ministry of Culture of Argentina. She uses social media to share her poems and her podcasts on poetry. She concluded that human rights are for her ‘a perspective’ through which she looks at the world and she does everything from that perspective: when she writes or teaches for instance.