LSBU collaborates with Natural History Museum to host conference on Human Dignity
25 November 2014
The vital issues around what constitutes human dignity were
the subject of scrutiny at a conference held by London South Bank University
(LSBU) in collaboration with the Natural History Museum last week.
Giving their perspectives on human dignity drawn from their
respective disciplines, academics representing LSBU included Sonia Leeyou of
Urban, Environment & Leisure Studies, Dr Nick Martin of Education Studies,
Dr Anne Ridley of Psychology, Professor John Tayler of Social Sciences, plus
Andy Unger and Professor Max Weaver of Law.
Issues discussed at the conference included justice,
poverty, disability, homelessness and the trauma suffered by child victims
obliged to give evidence in the courts.
Discussions explored shared and conflicting personal
conceptions of human dignity and what the concept means and requires in terms
of human rights.
Dr Margaret Clegg of the Natural History Museum gave a talk
on evolutionary perspectives on human dignity, identifying the earliest
evidence in the archaeological record of human caring and funeral rituals.
Andrew Puddephatt OBE, Executive Director of Global Partners
Digital, concluded the conference by identifying the challenges facing human
rights in the digital age – mass surveillance as the financial model for free
online services, continuing advances in technology that capture the minutest
details of our personal lives and the potential weaponisation of the internet.
Andy Unger of LSBU's School of Law and Social Science
explained: "Our tentative conclusion was that there are many overlapping
sources religious, philosophical, evolutionary and cultural that converge in a
political expression of our shared values in fundamental human rights and our
sense of human dignity."
The conference formed part of the 2014 Being Human Festival, organised by
the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts
& Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.