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Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events

We work with those involved in the planning and staging of major events to advance inclusivity, sustainability and human rights-based agendas related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We take a human-centred, critical and solutions-focused approach that balances social outcomes, pro-environmental objectives, and economic performance.

HaRM is the UK’s official academic ‘Olympic Studies Centre’ endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and British Olympic Association (Team GB). The observatory is affiliated with the Centre for Well-Being and Sustainability in the Visitor Economy (SWELL) and is part of the Department of Hospitality and Events, ranked 1st in UK and Europe and 2nd globally in our field (Shanghai Global Ranking, 2022).

Research focus

HaRM’s research, policy and industry work focuses on the following ‘Projects’:

A key part of our work is to understand how digital and technological innovation can be used to evaluate events and offer new ways to tackle human rights challenges. Through our collaboration with the Centre for Digital Transformation in the Digital Economy (DIGMY), our work across Project 1, 2 and 3 includes a digital thread to explore these opportunities.

All three projects sit at the heart of the Institute for Business and Human Rights’ issues detailed across the Mega Sport Event Lifecycle, the ‘Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy’ (PDF), and more broadly the United Nations Human Rights: Office of the High Commissioner list of human rights issues.




Upcoming events

The Surrey-UCF ‘Social Justice in Events Series’ will explore four specific human rights issues related to human trafficking, labour exploitation, diversity and inclusivity, and accessibility in events. The event series will take place in January 2022. Booking information coming soon. 

Find an expert


Elizabeth Ashcroft profile image

Elizabeth Ashcroft

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer

Giulia Berlusconi profile image

Dr Giulia Berlusconi

Lecturer, Department of Sociology

Emma Delaney profile image

Dr Emma Delaney

Senior Teaching Fellow

Xavier Font profile image

Professor Xavier Font

Professor of Sustainability Marketing

Dr Christy Hehir profile image

Christy Hehir

Lecturer in Tourism and Events

Yanning Li profile image

Dr Yanning Li

Senior Lecturer in Events Management

Nigel Morgan profile image

Professor Nigel Morgan

Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Jonathan Skinner profile image

Dr Jonathan Skinner

Reader in the Anthropology of Events

Nikolas Thomopoulos profile image

Dr Nikolas Thomopoulos

Associate Professor in Transport

Jill Timms profile image

Dr Jill Timms

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Postgraduate research students

Abdullah Alnabati

Postgraduate Research Student

Hoyoung (Rachel) Chang profile image

Rachel Chang

Postgraduate research student

Wanwisa Khampanya profile image

Wanwisa Khampanya

Postgraduate Research Student

Youngsoo Kim profile image

Dr Youngsoo Kim

PhD researcher

Darina Svobodova profile image

Darina Svobodova

PhD Researcher

Visiting fellows

Melvin Benn

Managing Director, Festival Republic

Chris Bryant

Chris Bryant

Head of Tournament Delivery, The Football Association

Paul Bush

Paul Bush

Director of Events, VisitScotland

Shona McCarthy

Shona McCarthy

CEO, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Adam Moffat

Director of OSB Events, CSM Sports & Entertainment

Lucinda Spokes

Lucinda Spokes

Head of Public Engagement, University of Cambridge

Rick Stainton

Rick Stainton

Founder and Group Executive Director, Smyle

Sarah Louise de Carvalho

Sarah Louise de Carvalho MBE

CEO, It's a Penalty

Study a PhD with us

We are rapidly expanding our PhD community at HaRM. We are delighted to invite self-funded applications to join our PhD programme for the new 2021/2022 academic year, starting September 2021, for the 2022-23 onwards too.

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is globally recognized as one of the leading schools in its area with over 35 world-renowned faculty from over 17 countries. We run the largest PhD in Hospitality, Tourism, Events and/or Transport Management programme in the world. Our School is also the editorial home of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, previously Annals of Tourism Research and as of 2021-22 the leading journal in the study and analysis of events and festivals: Event Management.

We are looking for high quality applicants who seek to advance events research looking at the relationship between human rights and major events, from sporting to cultural to business events, across the following three projects and sub-project themes:

N.B. we are happy to accept proposals that do not specifically apply to one of the projects, but it must be linked to one of the three projects or human rights and major events outlined above.


Please email Director of HaRM, Dr Mike Duignan for general enquiries and to have an informal conversation and discuss a potential application. Information about the Surrey Hospitality and Tourism Management PhD, entry requirements, as well as the application process is available on the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management PhD webpage.

Contact us

Find us


School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Austin Pearce Building (AP)
University of Surrey