On 30 September 1949 a Human Rights Exhibition opened in Paris. Less than a year after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this exhibition was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to give meaning, history and content to the yet elusive document. It was also the first international event aimed at publicizing and disseminating human rights globally through its travels in Europe, Asia and Latin America. This research project, hosted by Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights, seeks to uncover, research and exhibit the insights provided by the first attempt to visualize and historicize human rights.
The fascinating story of UNESCO's Human Rights Exhibition will be explored in a new exhibition titled Visualizing Universalism at Columbia University's Buell Hall Gallery in April 2014, displaying the original traveling Human Rights Exhibition Album, documents, photographs, and audio-visuals. This will be the first time in 60 years that this material is shown publicly.
See here for more on this new exhibition.
Debating Human Rights
This project seeks to foster an interdisciplinary debate with a seminar series, workshops, and symposia. A symposium exploring the exhibition through questions of history and visual culture of human rights will accompany the opening of the Meta-Exhibit the 17th of April 2014 . There will be contributions from leading human rights scholars such as Samuel Moyn, Mark Mazower, Ariella Azoulay, Thomas Keenan, Felicity Scott, and Elazar Barkan. The symposium builds on a seminar series at Columbia last Fall.
See our past and future events here.
Opening the Archive
A central objective of this project is to create a foundation for future research. With thousands of pages of unexplored material, which will not be possible to display in the physical exhibition, we plan to make this additional material, and the story of the exhibition itself, more widely available in an online exhibition. This platform will further be open to expansions and alterations as the project evolves.
Read more about the project here.