Accessibility statement

Taking the Long View: Civil Society Resistance and Resilience

Monday 4 November 2019, 9.30AM to Tue 5 Nov 4.30pm

In an era characterised by the rapidity of change, communications and idea generation, there is often too little time or effort spent learning and applying lessons from the past for today’s contexts. There is also the danger that we lose sight of very real historical advances and successes, in a present characterised by crisis. Attention in the human rights movement has shifted from documenting shrinking space to thinking through strategies to push back, from reactive to more proactive responses. In this context, the workshop will ‘take the long view’ on the latter concerns, and support efforts to ‘reclaim the positive’ by focusing on 1) empirical, evidence-based studies of civil society resistance and resilience, and 2) historical precedents, lessons and insights of relevance to current situations.
In thinking about resilience and resistance, we will encourage participants to distinguish between 'working the system' - working within and around restrictions and oppression - and 'working to subvert or replace the system' - strategies which more explicitly challenge restrictive and oppressive frameworks, and suggest or model alternatives. We are also keen to ‘externalise’ this critical self-reflection and learning. A critique of the human rights movement is that we have lost sight of ‘the people’, and as such we will be reflecting on what long-term struggles of resistance and resilience have meant to communities beyond the human rights movement. How did resilience and resistance lead to wider transformational change that benefited - and was recognised by - society?

If you are interested in attending the workshop please email

Location: King's Manor, York