Friday in Focus: Laura Hilly
When I finished up my position as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Deputy Direction of the OxHRH in 2015, I remember reflecting on the A.A. Milne quote: ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard’. But what I have found, over two years later, is that the intellectually enriching, inclusive and supportive community that underpins the OxHRH is not something that I had to say goodbye to – but something that I could continue to be a part of, no matter where I would find myself in the world.
After all, this type of inclusion was always the plan.
In the early days of setting up the OxHRH we sought to address a central question: how do we create a truly global community of human rights lawyers, no matter where they are in the world, or what sphere of law they operate in – be it as academics, practitioners, policy makers, activists…or a mix of all or any of these ways of ‘being’ a lawyer.
Digital technology was the key.
Looking back now, as one of the founding members of the OxHRH Blog, the success of that digital publication is astounding. In a world of prohibitive paywalls, being freely accessible and high quality makes it an important source of legal information and analysis for lawyers around the globe. It’s democratic contributions policy means that the voices it showcases are, in my opinion, of a diverse range and high quality barely rivalled anywhere else.
RightsUp was a later addition to the OxHRH’s suite of digital sharing. With the re-vitalisation of audio as a means of information sharing in the podcast generation, I was thrilled to be part of the team that developed and produced the initial pilot series of the RightsUp podcasts. Three years later, the series continues under the skilful stewardship of the OxHRH Communications Director, Dr Kira Allman. As I did the long drive down the Hume Highway between Canberra to Melbourne this Christmas I was both entertained and informed by Kira and her guests – engaged by their analysis of important topics such as equality in Northern Ireland after Brexit, transgender laws in the United States and environmental justice.
The OxHRH has continued to push the digital frontiers – social media, webinars, a new ‘Learning from Litigators’ online course, global conferences that are recorded and put online for all to share and, of course, cutting edge research underpinning all that they do. This preparedness to innovate with technology has been key to the OxHRH’s inclusivity.
I now work as a barrister in Melbourne, specialising in anti-discrimination, human rights and public law. I am so very grateful to remain part of the OxHRH global community and to have this enormous resource to drawn upon to inform my practice.