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Schulich Law Professor Wins Nova Scotia Human Rights Award

Posted by Amanda Kirby-Sheppard on December 11, 2023 in News, Health Law Institute, Awards, Awards
Sheila Wildeman (Provided Photo)
Sheila Wildeman (Provided Photo)

Congratulations to Schulich Law Associate Professor Sheila Wildeman who was the recipient of an Individual Nova Scotia Human Rights Award on December 8, 2023.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission presents the awards annually on or around International Human Rights Day (December 10) to recipients nominated by their peers. Wildeman was recognized for her advocacy for the human rights of incarcerated people and people with disabilities.

“The principles enshrined in human rights law have the power to unite us in our pursuit of equity and the protection of one another’s inherent dignity,” says Joseph Fraser, Director and CEO, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. “Today’s award recipients exemplify a commitment to empowering people that all Nova Scotians should aspire toward.”

The Individual Award is presented to a person who demonstrates leadership and whose work has contributed to change in their community by advancing equity, inclusion, and the value in promoting and protecting human rights.

In addition to teaching at the law school, Wildeman is also the Associate Director of the Dalhousie Health Justice Institute (DHJI) and Co-Chair (with Schulich Law grad Harry Critchley) of East Coast Prison Justice Society.

Her research and publications, like her community work, explore how law may be used to advance the justice aspirations of persons marginalized by legal as well as health and social service systems.

With a focus on the justice claims of disabled people and prisoners, her work draws on human rights law, critical disability theory and critical carceral studies to ground claims for positive supports for agency and equal community membership reflective of intersectional substantive equality. 

Wildeman received the award while in Belgium with My Home, My Rights, an action research collective which mounted a multi-media art exhibit and hosted a roundtable on inclusive research and advocacy at a conference marking the 75th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

“This award recognizes work I have done that has taken an increasingly focused and collaborative form in the last 10 years or so, alongside a vibrant community of social justice advocates, researchers, and survivors of incarceration and institutionalization in Nova Scotia and beyond,” says Wildeman.

“The award is less about me, and more about how I have used my university position to direct my time and resources to initiatives amplifying the wisdom and strategic priorities of community-embedded experts in the prison justice and disability justice movements. This is an opportunity to celebrate the potential of universities to be sites of community engagement, activating our own and others’ civic responsibilities.”

To see the full list of the 2023 Nova Scotia Human Rights Award recipients, please visit the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission website.