Academics' experiences

What's it really like working with the Scottish Parliament? Find out below from a variety of academics who share their experiences of engaging with SPICe.

Dr Kirsteen Shields

"I have a PhD from the University of London and hold a lectureship at the University of Dundee. I teach and research a broad range of subjects; human rights, constitutional reform, food security, global governance. Most of all, I am motivated by teaching and research that creates meaningful change. 

In 2015 I was invited to give evidence on human rights and land reform to the Committee on Rural Affairs, Environment and Climate Change after writing a paper on the subject for the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s journal. Through consultation on the Bill, I was able to influence the direction of the Land Reform Bill - for a legal academic, this one at least, it doesn’t get more exciting.

Subsequently, I was invited to pilot the Scottish Parliament Academic Fellowship Scheme. I was asked to prepare a SPICe briefing paper on human rights to be shared amongst the MSPs and Parliamentary staff and also to be publicly available. I was pleased to be asked to contribute to this and work with SPICe researchers at such a critical time for human rights, Scotland and Europe.

My experience at SPICe has surpassed all expectations, and I had high expectations. My role involves lots of stakeholder engagement and cross-disciplinary dialogue and there are opportunities for training. For example, I went to Doughty Street Chambers in London to engage in capacity building around the UN Concluding Observations on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Walking to work through Holyrood Park is not bad either."

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