Prof. Livia Holden is the Principal Investigator of Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for? - EURO-EXPERT, project funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant September 2016 to September 2021.

EURO-EXPERT was based at the University of Oxford from the 1st October 2017 to 29 February 2020 and moved to Paris Nanterre on the 1st March 2020.

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SABRINA CIOLFI (3 June - 30 August 2019)

Sabrina Ciolfi (PhD – University of Turin) is a Sociologist specialising in South Asian Studies. Her research interests are in the areas of Women Studies and South Asian Cinema. She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Milan, and a Research Assistant for the ERC funded project Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it Useful For? – EURO-EXPERT.

During her stay at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies – CSLS, Law Faculty, University of Oxford she will work with Prof. Livia Holden, preparing an MSCA individual fellowship proposal on her project Best Practices for a Gender Sensitive Filmmaking. Cultural Expertise Applied to Indian Cinema. This project features an innovative multidisciplinarity in that combines Cinema and Media Studies with Gender, Socio-Legal Studies and International Human Rights in the engagement against gender-based violence and for the promotion of best practices for gender equality in South Asia.

In particular, during her stay at CSLS she will:

- develop the concept of Cultural Expertise applied to cinema for formulating best practices for gender sensitisation

- design the map Cultural Expertise for a Gender Sensitive Filmmaking.

JOHN R CAMPBELL (1 March - 31 August 2019)

John R Campbell is an Emeritus Reader in the Anthropology of Law and Africa at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London. His interest in legal anthropology/law is began by accepting instructions from refugee lawyers to write ‘expert reports’ to assist Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers. He conducted fieldwork in the UK and in Ethiopia which examined how the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war (1998-2000) displaced and created hundreds of thousands of refugees who sought refuge elsewhere in the world (Nationalism, Law and Statelessness, Routledge, 2014) and was followed by an in-depth ethnography of the British asylum system (Bureaucracy, Law and Dystopia in the UK’s Asylum System, Routledge, 2017). More recently he has undertaken fieldwork in magistrates’ courts across London (‘Can law achieve happiness? Critical reflections on criminal justice’, Journal of Comparative Law vol. 13: 2). He is completing a book manuscript looking at the quality of justice in magistrates’ courts and depositing 200 expert reports to EURO-EXPERT's database. 

CHORSWANG NGIN (1 January- 30 June 2019)

Prof. Ngin joined the Cal State Los Angeles faculty in 1993. She has done extensive ethnographic and consulting work in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern California. Her research interests include the relationship between race, ethnicity and culture as they are expressed in Asian and Asian American issues. Prof. Ngin has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation to examine the connections between Asian Studies and Asian American Studies. She is also instrumental in completing a proposal for the B.A. Degree program in Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS) at CSLA. The proposal is awaiting the approval of the Chancellor’s Office.

Using this broad-based knowledge about Asia and Asian America, and a specialization on the anthropological understanding of race, culture and ethnicity, she recently consulted on three asylum applications from Southeast Asia. Two of the women won their asylum to remain in the United States; the verdict on a third is pending. In the community, she has been a Board Member of the Orange County Human Relations Council since 1992 and a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Community Coalition since 1998. At EURO-EXPERT she is writing a chapter on cultural expertise, race and ethcnicty for a textbook on cultural expertise 

BEATRIZ BARREIRO  (5th - 21st July 2018)

Beatriz Barreiro Carril has a  Ph.D in Human Rights (Carlos III University, Madrid),and a  Master in Law of the European Union (Free University of Brussels). She is Lecturer of International Law Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid. Beatriz is interested in the links between International Law and other Social Sciences and Humanities as well as in applied research with a particular focus on human rights – especially cultural rights–. She has specialized in International Law of Culture, with a special focus in Cultural Diversity -including the debate Culture/Commerce- and Tangible and Intangible Heritage, as well as in Indigenous Communities Rights and the Right to Development. She was a guest researcher of the Department of Law & Anthropology (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle), visiting researcher at the Institute of Public International and European Law (University of Gottingen) and at the Centre of Ethics of the University of Toronto. She is an observer of the UNESCO Committee of Cultural Diversity and member of the Observatory Diversity and Cultural Rights (Fribourg University). She has taught in many master and doctoral programs (Toulouse Capitole University, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidad Tecnologica de Bolivar, Cartagena de Indias).  She has participated in relevant international conferences including UNESCO Conferences. She currently directs the project A Tunisian-Spanish bridge for counteracting violent extremism and xenophobia through the right to take part in cultural life which is financed by the European Cultural Foundation and is being carried out in the context of the association ConArte International. She also coordinates a research on biodiversity and cultural life for the OEI.

Recent publications include How Can China Influence the Transatlantic Governance of Cultural Products in the Digital Age? The Journal of World Investment & Trade, Vol 19, 2018, Conversations About Indigenous Peoples and Adjudication Interviews with G. Bennet, and S. Corry Erasmus Law Review, Vol. 11, No.01, 2018, and a contribution to The Wroclaw Commentaries: Culture and Human Rights.(De Gruyter, 2016),


Besides my participation in Cultural Expertise in Ancient and Modern History I plan to:

1. Further develop a research I am working on concerning cultural indicators. I would like to see how this research on how to measure cultural development, cultural policies and cultural rights in the context of International Law from one part and the approaches of EURO-EXPERT from another could beneficially interact. I am aware that the enthusiasm of the stakeholders involved in the creation and usage of indicators is justified, since by showing the possibilities of measuring culture, they try to bring light to the fact that cultural claims are, in fact, as legitimate as other social and human rights claims. However, the construction of cultural indicators must be done with caution, so that indicators do not end up jeopardizing the very objectives they seek to measure. In my research these days with EURO-EXPERT I will focus on indicators and cultural rights, and more specially on the issue of cultural rights in courts. I would like to discuss with the team of EURO-EXPERT some trends of cultural indicators before courts and try to establish a list of practices to avoid and practices which are valuable.

2. In relation also with the issue of cultural rights I plan to enrich and complete a paper on the conceptions of culture used by judges by examining a specific case where the participation with an anthropologist was quite controversial. I put in relation the intervention of anthropologists in courts with the conceptions of cultural rights given by the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights of United Nations.

STANISLAW BURDZIEJ (11 June 2018 – 24 June 2018)

Stanislaw Burdziej is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. His recent research focuses on procedural fairness and perceived legitimacy of courts in Poland. In 2010, he helped found Court Watch Poland Foundation, an NGO promoting public engagement in court monitoring and legal education.  One of the Foundation’s research project involved a study of legal experts in Poland, identifying a number of weaknesses of the current system of expertise in general. He stayed briefly at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in November 2013 and June 2018.

Recent publications include: ‘Fairness at Trial: The Impact of Procedural Justice and Other Experiential Factors on Criminal Defendants' Perceptions of Court Legitimacy in Poland’, Law & Social Inquiry, April 2018, S. Burdziej, K. Guzik and B. Pilitowski; and a book Sprawiedliwość i prawomocność. O społecznej legitymizacji władzy sądowniczej [Justice and Legitimacy: On the Social Authority of Judicial Power], Torun: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, pp. 283. 


During my stay at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, my plan is to:

1. Present and discuss results of desk research on cultural expertise in the Polish courts with the EURO-EXPERT team. While the Polish society (and hence, the legal system) is relatively homogenous, cultural issues do arise before the courts and become ever more significant. One area of study will be cases brought to administrative courts by migrants denied asylum by the Polish Office for Foreigners, another – various cultural issues discussed before common courts. During the stay I also hope to discuss possible methodologies of a further study of cultural expertise in Poland, as well as prepare a draft of a paper discussing the situation in Poland.         

2. Complete the work on a paper summarizing research on procedural fairness in civil courts in Poland. In a recent study (resulting from my earlier, 2013, stay at the CSLS) I focused on whether procedural fairness matters for Polish criminal defendants. Results confirmed the salience of fair treatment, but also underscored differences in relation to findings from common law countries. The new study is based on 210 interviews with civil litigants, to see how stakes involved in the court case (often higher in civil than in misdemeanor proceedings) mediate the impact of procedural justice upon perceived court legitimacy. This work could also result in a methodology of the study of cultural expertise that includes the procedural justice component.

3. Lay grounds for a possible future ERC Consolidator Grant application, focusing on the hypothetical link between cultural expertise and procedural fairness. The project would ask if presence of cultural experts – in cases with at least one litigant coming from a different cultural background - enhances parties’ perception that their hearing was fair, i.e. that they were able to fully voice their concerns, were treated fairly, respectfully and neutrally.    

TAINA COOKE (1 October 2017 - 31 December 2017)         

Taina Cooke is a doctoral student at the Department of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oulu, Finland. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her research interests in legal anthropology address cultural minorities and the ethnographic study of the law. Taina’s doctoral research, funded by Eudaimonia Institute, addresses the ways in which ‘culture’ is constructed and wielded in Finnish courts in criminal cases involving members of cultural minorities. Previously, she has worked as a research assistant in the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network, and in the Society Programme at the Finnish Institute in London. At present, Taina is working alongside Professor Livia Holden and the EURO-EXPERT project at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford.          


During the two-month visit at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, my plan is to work alongside Professor Holden in a mutually beneficial manner, sharing observations and analytical frameworks from our respective projects. In practice, my plan is to focus on two main task:

1. Lay the groundwork for a research paper making use of the dataset acquired with the support of EURO-EXPERT. It consists of around 200 cases from Finnish courts dealing with people smuggling. In addition to going through the dataset with the help of NVivo, I look to expand on my knowledge in relation to mixed methods research. I will explore the ways in which the mixed methods approach could be utilised in analysing court data and how it could be applied to point towards indications of ‘culture’.

2. Continue building a network of scientific and institutional collaboration between Scandinavian scholarship and the EURO-EXPERT project. Assist in laying the groundwork for a workshop on cultural expertise and indigenous minorities. This could include mapping out a list of relevant contacts in the fields of anthropology and socio-legal studies, among other tasks.

Additionally, I plan to take part in any relevant workshops and seminars at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and present my research to the Oxford academic community, where appropriate.  


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