Marsh Award for Human Rights Activism

This Award is run with Amnesty International UK to support activist groups in funding a proposal that will grow activism and awareness of human rights in their local communities. The projects will reach new and diverse audiences and positively impact people’s understanding of human rights in a creative and innovative way.

Amnesty International UK local, student and youth groups are invited to enter the Awards. Nominations can be made through Amnesty International UK’s website.

In their previous format, which ran until 2016, the Awards recognised a local Amnesty group for their outstanding work in campaigning, raising awareness, fundraising or education.

Shimna Integrated College Amnesty Group, Edinburgh University Amnesty Group and Manchester Amnesty Group 2019

Youth Group: Shimna Integrated College
Shimna Integrated College’s Amnesty International group is a collection of committed human rights activists who organise a variety of events throughout the year. In June 2018, during Refugee Week, they organised a competition which saw 23 mobile phones purchased, 8 boxes of supplies collected, and countless letters of support written for refugee families arriving in Northern Ireland.
The group would like to spend a year making a video documentary tracking the experience of refugees arriving in Northern Ireland and analysing how the refugee crisis in this area has changed over recent years. This would be made into a classroom resource to be distributed to schools throughout the province. The documentary will reach a wide range of students and open up conversations about refugee rights. It will also allow for the development of relationships with the British Red Cross, who work with incoming refugees in Northern Ireland.

Student Group: Edinburgh University Amnesty International Student Group
This group of activists from Edinburgh University are proposing to hold a large-scale culture-sharing pop-up festival on the university’s campus, which will help to promote the rights of refugees in Scotland by exchanging languages, cultures, food, art and the history of refugees from a variety of nations and minority communities.
The event will challenge the preconceptions that students may have about refugees and will introduce them to human rights in the context of refugees, improve their understanding of the wider issues, and thus bring them closer to the cultures of their new neighbours. It is hoped that this style of event will attract an audience who would not usually be involved in these campaigns, thus making a large pool of students aware of the human rights issues experienced by refugees.

Local Group: Manchester Amnesty Group
Manchester Amnesty Group will be marking the 200th Anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre through a spoken word event with the People’s History Museum, as part of the Museum’s ‘The Past, Present and Future of Protest’ programme. The event will include workshops and performances by young people from Young Identity, an arts organisation and charity for young people across the city, focusing on the idea of protest poetry which will be performed alongside the works of Ahmed Mansoor, the human rights defender currently imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates.
Involving young people will help raise their awareness of human rights and encourage them to take an active role in supporting the defence of human rights around the world. By taking part in the Peterloo commemorations, the group will be able to draw links between the experiences of people at this well-known part of Manchester’s history and the experiences of human rights defenders throughout the world today.

Previous Winners

Sedbergh School, Aberdeen University and Liverpool Amnesty Group

Youth Group: Sedbergh School Amnesty Group

This group propose to run an event over the course of the two days at their boarding school which will raise awareness of human rights through a range of workshops and events – including poetry performance, creating banners and placards, an AmnesTea picnic to which members of the community and speakers will be invited and a FundRaver evening event, where school music groups will be encouraged to perform.

Student Group: Aberdeen University Amnesty Group

The group aims to run a Run for Refugees event to bring local people together and raise funds for the ‘Shine Light Scholarship’ at the University of Aberdeen, aimed at making higher education accessible for refugees. The event will be advertised through social media, local newspapers, campus leafleting and aims to engage 40 participants and raise £3,000.

Local Group:  Liverpool Amnesty Group

The group plans to set up a story telling group bringing together poets, musicians and artists who will carry out performances based on human rights themes. These will include the stories of named defenders, prisoners of conscience, refugees and asylum seekers, all taken from the work of Amnesty International. The group plan to run workshops around the city on storytelling as well as storytelling events for the public.

Clyst Vale, Royal Holloway University and Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Amnesty Group

Youth Group: Clyst Vale Amnesty Group

The Clyst Vale Community College Amnesty Group in Devon proposed to work more closely in collaboration with local primary schools to promote their human rights work and encourage students to become human rights ambassadors for their schools. They want to do this through creative and engaging activities, including a mural to be displayed at the front of the college.

Student Group: Royal Holloway University Amnesty Group

The Royal Holloway University Amnesty Group proposed to run a ‘Picnic in a Box’ event to raise awareness of human rights, and also Amnesty’s ‘I Welcome Refugees’ campaign. The event would be held on the main campus, with live music, games and a stall selling food and refreshments, along with promotional material for Amnesty International being featured around the event as well as in the boxes being sold to the students.

Local Group: Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Amnesty Group

The Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Amnesty Group made an innovative proposal to raise awareness of human rights among the general public using ‘selfie-frames’. The frames will carry a message relating to the work of Amnesty International and the public will be encouraged to have their photo taken holding the frame which can then be shared on social media.

Chiltern Edge School, Kingston University and Hull Amnesty Group

Youth Group: Chiltern Edge School Amnesty Group

The Chiltern Edge School Amnesty Group in Reading proposed to expand their school’s Amnesty Ambassadors scheme, a programme whereby young ambassadors learn about women’s rights and deliver information sessions to their peers, to other schools in the area by training up more students and teachers and providing them the resources to run the sessions.

Student Group: Kingston University Amnesty Group

The Kingston University Amnesty Group proposed to run a theatre production which raises awareness of human rights, particularly relating to the situation in Yemen. They hoped to perform the interactive production, which encourages audience participation, at the university and local theatres and festivals.

Local Group: Hull Amnesty Group

Hull Amnesty Group proposed to further their project of activities which raise awareness about the life and work of local suffragette Mary Murdoch (1864-1916). The group also hoped to work with education organisations and local schools to encourage an increase in education about human rights as part of the curriculum in schools.

Reading Amnesty Group and Ely Amnesty Group

Reading Amnesty Group

The Reading Amnesty Group delivered an excellent ‘Stop Torture’ campaign which engaged families, young people and children at the local Womad Festival. 335 festival-goers showed their support for the campaign through a drawing activity, signing over 1,000 postcards. The group ran a number of regular events, including street collections, concerts and speakers at public events.

Ely Amnesty Group

The Ely Amnesty Group carried out a wide range of human rights campaigns throughout 2014 including a jazz concert which raised £2,000. They also hosted the East Anglia Regional Conference, their 5th Annual Lecture given by Perico Rodriguez of Freedom from Torture and ran a number of events and talks to engage the local community.

Penzance Amnesty Group and Scarborough Amnesty Group

Penzance Amnesty Group

The Penzance Amnesty Group is an exceptional group of members, spread across the towns and villages of Penwith, who despite the rural transport links are a vibrant society carrying out impressive work to raise awareness of human rights. Throughout 2013, they organised over 40 separate events campaigning for human rights and sent over 1,000 campaigning letters, thanks to the introduction of their ‘Monthly Letter Writing Events’.

Scarborough Amnesty Group

The Scarborough Amnesty Group carries out extensive community activities which have a great impact on raising awareness of human rights issues. In 2013, the group increased their membership and organised a range of events, including International Women’s Day celebrations, a poetry society with human rights themed readings, local music performances and media workshops in schools.