Introducing WHY SLAVERY co-producer: The Open University

October 24, 2018

Photo by Neus Herrera
By Cecília Tümler

THE WHY and The Open University joined forces for the production of the WHY SLAVERY? Campaign, to shed light on the 40.3 million people living in the shadow of enslavement.

The Open University Broadcast & Partnerships Team has been a vital part of ensuring the academic thoroughness of the six documentaries that are a part of the final series. Two OU experts have served as academic consultants of the series: Dr Avi Boukli, Lecturer in Criminology, and Professor Helen Yanacopulos, Discipline Convenor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. They have extensive knowledge on social (in)justice, security and human rights. We at THE WHY are experts at producing and distributing films; The Open University has expertise on modern slavery. Together, our two organisations have complemented each other in the making of the WHY SLAVERY? series.

Dr Avi Boukli says: “The ever-expanding notion of slavery tests our legislation, and it is fascinating to see how notions of freedom and slavery are being redefined and for what political purposes. You may agree or disagree with the series, but you will find the ways in which the series questions what ‘slavery’ is today thought provoking”.

The Open University is a public distance learning and research university. Their free learning tool “OpenLearn” aims “to break the barriers to education by reaching millions of learners around the world, providing free educational resources and inviting all to sample courses that our registered students take”. Our organisations share the same goal: to diminish the knowledge gap. THE WHY works towards this by sharing access to informative documentaries, while The Open University aims for the same goal by sharing access to educational tools. 

In addition to providing THE WHY with factual expertise on slavery, The Open University offers free distance courses on, amongst other things, “Modern Slavery”,Human Rights and Law”, and “Criminology beyond crime”. By offering courses that are open and available to everyone, THE OU are lowering the barriers for people to partake in the conversation on the eradication of modern slavery. We believe it is crucial to have these kinds of collaborations with academic institutions, as well as with policy makers and other non-profits, since the systemic issue of modern slavery is too broad and multifaceted to tackle alone. We are pleased to have a close working relationship with The Open University, without whom this series could not have been produced.

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