The UICHR solicits proposals from UI faculty for funded scholarly projects or initiatives related to human rights concerns. Since 2012, the UICHR has sought to increase its presence on campus and to become a resource for UI faculty. The funding program for faculty working groups aimed to provide resources and support for scholars interested in undertaking interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research and creative production. Examples of funded working groups include:
- “Human Rights in Performance,” co-lead by Jen Sherer (UI Labor Center, UICHR advisory board) and Janet Schlapkohl ( UI MFA playwright). Working with UI MFA playwright Janet Schlapkohl and leaders of the Center for Worker Justice, the group is utilizing participatory research to develop a short play based on stories and survey data collected from Iowa low-wage and immigrant workers who have experienced wage theft. The play’s May, 2015 premiere illustrated the power of live performance to serve as a tool for social change, connecting audience members with human stories that transcend differences of nationality, race, language, or immigration status, and sparking rich community discussion about collective responses to the problems depicted in the play. After incorporating input from workers and audience members, the piece will be further revised and presented in other community venues over the coming years.
- “Transitional (In)justice: The Power Politics of New Human Rights Institutions in Post-Conflict Contexts,” lead by Paul Greenough (UI History Department). The group held several dialogues with the goal of coming to a better understanding of the political and cultural contexts in which human rights tribunals and commissions arise and how and whether these institutions actually realize human rights.
- “Rights, Justice, and International Development,” lead by Sujatha Sosale (UI Journalism and Mass Communication Department). This working group was conceptualized as an opportunity for faculty members from less-represented areas in UICHR, from social science areas like Sociology, Social Work, Political Science, etc., to engage in discussions of rights, justice, and international development.
- “The Iowa Human Rights Network,” led by Brian Farrell (UICHR assistant director, UI College of Law). The goal of this group was to bring together faculty members from private and public colleges and universities in Iowa to establish an ongoing, sustainable network of academics interested in human rights teaching, scholarship, and service, or who are interested in learning about human rights.