GCRF Development Award: Rights for Time

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: English Drama American and Canadian Stu


Humanitarian policy and practice is driven by the immediacy of crisis and urgency. But in contexts of protracted conflict and displacement, it is often the hidden damage that takes place over time that sets the terms for future violence, change, and possible peace. The Rights for Time/Time for Rights (RfT) Network will co-create, co-evaluate and support the dissemination of a new understanding of how time conditions war, displacement, and violence, and shifts the possibilities and frame of action for humanitarian protection and human rights.

Our focus on time responds to gaps identified by our overseas partners in the Protection in Contexts of Conflict and Displacement theme. One of the major stumbling-blocks to protection is the failure to measure and identify needs and
problems not currently obvious to external actors in policy, law, and in local contexts. Aid and protection that reacts to only the most 'recent' abuse or threat not only fails to understand the nature of injury, but limits the sustainability of possible solutions. Uncovering layers of time and hidden damage will reveal the specific needs of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised. Multiple, layered and even simultaneous experiences of violence, displacement, and generational trauma persist into future generations, creating new challenges and blocking change.

To address this, we are proposing a new global, mobile, interdisciplinary, and multi-directional approach to uncover and focus on modern conflict, violence, and uprootedness within a longer time frame. Drawing together in-country partners and academic experts from the arts and humanities, the psy-sciences, neuroscience, medical anthropology, refugee studies, gender studies, human rights, transitional justice, and humanitarian law, and protection policy, we will meet these challenges by developing interdisciplinary, peer-to-peer, case-based research. We have chosen to work both within and across specific contexts where the long periods of violence produce enduring and intractable challenges, particularly for vulnerable communities and groups, such as women and girls. Conflict in Lebanon, Rwanda, Kenya, Jordan and the Gaza Strip and West Bank, has resulted in patterns of forced displacement that span generations. Memory legacies are acute, and trauma is ever-present.

We will develop the concept of Rights for Time to build a network that can bring the hidden legacies of conflict directly into humanitarian protection and human rights policy and practice. Co-Investigators based at the universities of Birmingham, KCL, SOAS, UCL and at the Hashemite University (Jordan) and the Lebanese American University will work with a series of Project Partners, including Wangu Kanju, We Love Reading, BLAST, the African Initiative for Mankind Progress and the Kigali Center for Photography to identify, pilot and commission a series of initial case studies, followed by longer projects, to generate new evidence bases, develop new policy, practice and law in action and make the forms of injury of protracted violence culturally visible at local, national and international levels. In doing so, partner countries will have the necessary tools and an increased ability to develop effective protection solutions
for those most affected by conflict and violence, especially vulnerable groups.

This Development Award will allow us to deepen and strengthen our partnerships, particularly with NGOs, charities and community groups in the LMICs mentioned above. It will also facilitate extensive planning and the formulation of key policies, to be adopted across the Network, particularly around ethics/safeguarding and gender and inclusivity. We will also develop a communications plan for the RfT Network, including the launch of an initial project website, to raise awareness and encourage engagement with the project.


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Description The CARE Project: Building Sexual Violence Survivors' Capacity to Evidence and Research (C)rimes and (A)dvocate for Effective (Re)sponses
Amount £168,710 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/T010207/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2019 
End 12/2020
Description Time for Rights/Rights for Time: Responding to the times of violence, conflict, and displacement
Amount £1,867,627 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/T008091/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 03/2024