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Visualizing Human Rights 2010 Program

Friday, Nov 5  
7:00pm Screening of “The Yes Men: Fix the World” followed by discussion.
Saturday, Nov 6  
10:00am Coffee Meet and Greet followed by a live recording of Dick Gordon’s The Story with John Conroy.
12:00pm Lunch from Vimala’s Curry Blossom Cafe
  Collaborative Human Rights Art Wall Creation
  On-Demand Human Rights Tshirt printing (provided below cost - $10)
  Artisanal Woodblock Printing with 10,000 Villages
1:30pm Breakout Studios and Salons:
  Ethics of Photography Salon
  Arts Nonprofit Salon: Reaching Sustainability
  Hidden Voices Studio: Performance for Change
3:00pm Closing Reception, Discussion & Revealing the Art Wall

Screening- “The Yes Men: Fix the World”

Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, the Yes Men lie their way into business conferences and parody their corporate targets in ever more extreme ways - basically doing everything that they can to wake up their audiences to the danger of letting greed run our world. Discussion to follow led by Mark Gibney Professor of Political Science at UNC-Asheville and Safia Swimelar Assistant Professor of Political Science at Elon University.

Mark Gibney is the Belk Distinguished Professor at UNC-Asheville. His most recent book publications include the edited volume Universal Human Rights and Extraterritorial Obligations (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), the e-book The Global Refugee Crisis (ABC-CLIO, 2010), and Sabine Carey, Mark Gibney and Steven Poe, The Politics of Human Rights: The Quest for Dignity (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Since 1984, Gibney has directed the Political Terror Scale (PTS), which measures levels of political violence in more than 185 countries (www.politicalterrorscale.org).

Safia Swimelar is asst. professor of political science at Elon University where she teaches courses in international studies and human rights. She has a particular research and teaching interest in the intersection of human rights, politics, and images/film. A recent short essay on the topic can be found at: http://global-ejournal.org/2009/11

Keynote interview: Dick Gordon’s The Story with John Conroy

Dick Gordon was a foreign correspondent and regular fill-in host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s national radio program, This Morning. He was also a Parliamentary reporter, and correspondent in Moscow and South Asia. Before coming to The Story, Dick was host of The Connection.

John Conroy was recently featured in the Colombia Journalism Review. He is best known for his two books (Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture and Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life) and for his extensive and ground-breaking coverage of the Chicago police torture scandal, which involved more than 100 victims. Conroy’s articles were cited in cases argued before the Illinois Supreme Court and the the U.S. Court of Appeals and ultimately helped to free four men who had been resident on death row in Illinois. The four, pardoned by Governor George Ryan in January 2003, sued the city of Chicago, alleging that they had been tortured into confessing to murders they had not committed, and in early 2008, the city settled the suits for $19.8 million. In the wake of the settlement, the New York Times quoted the mother of one of the victims saying she thought her son would be dead but for Conroy’s articles.

John Conroy’s work has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and his reports on criminal justice issues can also be heard on Chicago Public Radio. He is a frequent lecturer on college and university campuses and has also written speeches, reports, and editorials for private clients. He was recently hired as senior investigator for the Better Government Association, a Chicago-based, privately-funded, nonpartisan agency that investigates political corruption and government malfeasance in Illinois.

Ethics of Photography Salon

Seasoned photojournalists, documentarians, and human rights scholars invite you to a conversation on the moral and social impacts of photographic choices. Explore questions of making issues visible and representing others that touch everyone from professional photographers to everyday hobbyists and vacationers.


Jonathan Drake was a foreign correspondent and photographer based in East Asia for two decades. He has covered stories as varied as natural disasters, conflicts, sports and politics, while his travels have taken him from Afghanistan to Japan and from Australia to Argentina. After working for wire agencies in Hong Kong and Singapore for many years, he set out on his own to freelance, and recently relocated back to his hometown of Chapel Hill with his wife and two daughters.


Richard Ellis worked as a staff photographer for 10 years. He served as chief photographer for South Asia, covered the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize twice for his coverage of Tiananmen Square and the first Gulf War. Ellis left Reuters in 1994 after exposing faked pictures shot by Russian photographers for an American news magazine. Returning to Washington DC, Ellis started the first Internet-based news photo agency called Newsmakers that was acquired for the Getty Images News Service where Ellis played senior roles until 2007. He is currently working as a photographer and consultant to the photo industry.


Katie Hyde teaches visual sociology at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, where she also directs the Literacy Through Photography program. She has a PhD in sociology from North Carolina State University.


Robin Kirk directs the Duke Human Rights Center and is the author of three books, including More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia (PublicAffairs) and The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru(University of Massachusetts Press). She is the coeditor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University) and helps edit Duke University Press’s World Readers series. An award-winning poet, Kirk’s essay, “Best Ever Dog,” was featured in the Summer 2010 Oxford American’s Best of the South” issue. Kirk also won the 2005 Glamour magazine non-fiction contest with her essay on the death penalty, available in the November 2005 issue. Kirk directs DukeEngage’s Duke in Belfast program. She is the associate director of Duke’s International Comparative Studies program.

Arts Nonprofit Salon: Reaching Sustainability

Shay Grabowski is an artist and a freelance motion graphics designer in NYC, creating work for MTV and Nickelodeon. Shay is also the founder of Alegría, which means “joy” in Spanish. It’s a grassroots, nonprofit organization focused on empowering children living in orphanage communities in South America through mentor-based creative workshops. Creativity allows children to re-imagine what's possible.

Tony Patterson currently serves as Senior Associate Director of Student Life and Activities at the Carolina Union. He works with students and student organizations to provide enriching opportunities at Carolina, specifically trying to bolster educational, social, and cultural outlets for students on campus.


Hidden Voices Studio: Performance for Change

Join an exhilarating hands-on workshop introducing Hidden Voices’ community engagement through performance. Meet project participants and explore some exercises. Meet the Women from "What She Said," the new Hidden Voices talk show with project participants from Home Is Not One Story.

Hidden Voices is an arts nonprofit that brings life-changing stories from the underrepresented into a public dialogue to create change in the community. These stories provide insight about identity, place, and access. They help us understand the unrecognized, the unfamiliar, the displaced and forgotten among us. Hidden Voices humanizes the faceless and serves as a platform for the voiceless in order to create a stronger, more understanding community. Hidden Voices’ participants tell their stories through the written and spoken word, photography and visual art, movement and song. Hidden Voices projects provide the professional support and infrastructure to focus on the richness in participants lives, to highlight the challenges they have overcome, and to envision a path forward that includes the broader community.

Collaborative Human Rights Art Wall

Human rights are a topic that encompasses a myriad of difficult world issues. When exposed to news reports, magazine articles, looming statistics, and conferences on these problems, it’s often hard to see yourself as part of the solution. The problems are egregious, but what can you do to fix it? This wall is a response to that question.

Attendees will be invited to engage with a 16 foot blank wall covered with quotes and statistics on human rights violations around the world. Individuals will take one of these quotes and trade it for a small cue— a 3x3 inch card with abstract image that they then expand and recreate on a larger scale – 1 foot x 1 foot. This finished tile becomes a piece of the final wall design, revealing the situation and its message to all.

Some are able to serve in-person, offering their time and physical help and resources. Some cannot serve in-person, but are able to offer financial assistance so that others can. Both means aid in identifying, clarifying, and solving a large problem by the help of individual people. At the wall, one can serve in-person by creating part of the larger picture themselves, or one can offer their finances so that others can create their part of the picture. Both means of assistance aid in identifying, clarifying, and perhaps solving the larger picture. Your efforts, talents, and resources can turn the tide in the universal fight for human rights.

Participating Local Businesses:

Barehanded Press

Flytrap Studios

Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe

VHR 2010 Media

  • Dick Gordon interviews John Conroy for The Story.  Click to hear the full show.

VHR Art Wall Time Lapse Video

Local music by Chris Wimberley and Sarah Goss. Download the song “Visiting Hours.”

  • Read the Daily Tar Heel article

  • VHR 2010 photo gallery

  • VHR Audio Sculpture

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The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, read in multiple languages, was crafted into an audio sculpture by CGI Workstudy Student, Nick Mendler for the first Visualizing Human Rights event.

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