Friday in Focus: Suzy Shepherd

admin - 26th April 2019

Hello! I’ve just joined the OxHRH as the resident videographer, to do the producing, filming, and editing for the Shaping the Future: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights project in partnership with the WHO. We’re aiming to create eight films, each 15-20 minutes long, exploring how human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used to advocate for sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. My job is to work with the OxHRH to make this happen.

I graduated from Balliol College, Oxford in 2016 with a degree in Classics. I’d been experimenting with video editing for several years before university, and at Balliol I jumped into the student film scene, learning the ropes of short-form fiction filmmaking on the side of my degree. I also did some film work for the University – among other things, I made a 20-minute documentary about how open data could transform academia. Oxford’s academics had fascinating wisdom to share on this topic, and it was here that I really learned how I could use filmmaking to communicate complex and important ideas.

I was really excited about working with the OxHRH – after spending several post-university years making promotional films and mini-documentaries for colleges, libraries, museums and the like, I was keen to put my skills into something bigger and more impactful. Shaping the Future seemed like a great fit for this.

I am new to the world of law, and still getting to grips with the project, but I’m excited about delving into this subject. Using human rights and the SDGs in advocacy is not a straightforward process,  – the issues are messy and interlinked, and often one human right can be pitted against another. There are worries that the SDGs do not capture the nuance of human rights commitments, and yet that human rights without specific goals do not easily bring about concrete change. But one thing does seem clear – both human rights and the SDGs are significant forces in the fight for sexual and reproductive health rights. Case study after case study  reveal this and these are the stories I want to tell.

I hope that creating effective, informative, and watchable resources on this subject might give some assistance to people working in the field. If we manage to empower advocates to use the language of human rights and SDGs in their fight for sexual and reproductive health rights, then I’ll count this project a success. I’m looking forward to moving forward with the OxHRH on this.

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