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Practising Human Rights in Urban Areas

A practice-oriented, Amsterdam-based summer course with an international perspective. In this summer course, students will learn strategies and skills to work with groups that are in a challenging human rights situation. How? By using creative methods, a positive approach (capability approach), and by learning by doing in practice.

The summer course has been developed in collaboration with the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences.

During this two-week summer course, you will work on human rights challenges faced by the city of Amsterdam, especially concerning groups in challenging human rights situations. Examples of such challenged groups are refugees, people living in poverty, the LGBT-community, migrants and refugees.

Learning by doing is central to this summer course. Therefore you will be informed by (theoretical) introductions to the central themes and different approaches. This will be combined with visits to the neighbourhoods of Amsterdam to work with experienced practitioners and, most importantly, challenged groups.

This ‘field lab’ experience of community-based research will provide you with the tools necessary to develop skills and strategies to empower the challenged groups. In addition, you will receive support from experts on the themes of the summer course.

By actively participating in interactive and integrative field labs, you will work, learn and develop skills in practice. During the summer course, lecturers and field coaches will create an environment in which students inspire each other and get inspired by relevant stakeholders in the field of human rights.

These stakeholders can be representatives of NGO’s, hands-on practitioners, experienced and inspiring lecturers, experts and the challenged groups. The experiences you collect during the two weeks will be integrated in a creative (group) presentation of a human rights related empowerment strategy for a specific challenged group. Each student will present the underlying theory of their presentation in a short, written (individual) research report.

  • Extend your knowledge of urban issues, the ethics of human freedom, human rights advocacy strategies and groups in challenging human rights situations in urban contexts.
  • Acquire skills to work with challenged groups from a human rights perspective, by using creative methods.
  • Develop critical and creative thinking, learn about cultural awareness tools and develop the skills to apply them.
  • Experience working in an urban environment (Amsterdam as laboratory) with an interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and multicultural team.
  • Learn how to set up community-based research, and acquire the skills for developing a strategy to empower challenged groups from a strength perspective.

We provide you with a framework on the ethics of human freedom, community based research, human rights law, creative methods, and getting to know each other and the context of the city. Additionally you have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to the city of Amsterdam. Learning by doing in the city of Amsterdam. Each field lab day will start with a briefing and end with a debriefing, both focusing on content, context and process. In the meantime you will be working in practice. You will do this together with your fellow students, groups in a challenging human rights situation, lecturers and field coaches.

For help with the process of creating and developing a community-based human rights strategy, you will be able to get in touch with a team of experts on the themes of the summer course. This allows the summer course to provide tailor-made support, based on the needs of the individual student.

During the course, you will prepare a creative presentation to showcase the skills you have acquired during your two weeks in Amsterdam. Your audience will consist of your fellow students, the field coaches, practitioners, lecturers and the challenged groups you have been working with during your stay in Amsterdam.

Entry requirements 3 rd or 4 th year undergraduate students
Language English
Start/End-date Monday July 3 rd – Friday July 14 th
Study load 64 hour course, 24 hour preparation
Credits 3 ECTS
Type of diploma Certificate

Dr. Jeroen Gradener MSC (AUAS, Social Work, Amsterdam)

Elisabeth Gronning MA (HIOA, Social Sciences and Aesthetics, Oslo)

Tuition Fee For students of our partner universities, the tuition fee is € 550,-
For other students, the tuition fee is € 600,-
We have an early bird discount on the tuition fee: every student that registers before April 1st 2016 will get € 50,- off.


The contact for this Summer School course is Henk Pennings.

Location summer course

Published by  Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Law 27 June 2017