Shayna Plaut

Director of Research and Exhibition Development, Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Advisory Board Member, UA Program in Human Rights Practice

Dr. Shayna Plaut, Director of Research and Exhibition Development at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, is interested in how people represent themselves in their own media, with a particular interest in peoples who do not fit neatly within the traditional notions of the nation-state. Shayna has researched and engaged with Romani media, migrant media and Indigenous media in Canada, the US and Europe for 20 years. As a Fulbright and Vanier scholar, she has lived and worked in Hungary and the Balkans.  Shayna happily relocated to Winnipeg ( Treaty 1) in the summer of 2017 where she lives with her partner, two children and two cats.

Shayna’s work sits at the intersection of academia, journalism and advocacy.  Her academic writing has been published in Racial and Ethnic StudiesJournalism Practice, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, The European Educational Research Journal, and International Journal for Human Rights, as well as chapters in books published by Routledge, I.B. Tauris and SAGE. She served as the Human Rights Editor for Praxis Center––an online resource center for artists, academics and activists, as well as people who identify as all three––where she writes, interviews and solicits work that critically engage with question of change can be. As an educator, researcher and journalist, Shayna has served as a consultant for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and a variety of migrant and human rights organizations. Since 2014, Shayna has served as the Research Manager for Strangers at Home, a project of the Global Reporting Centre, which has won numerous journalistic and human rights award.

Since 2004, Shayna has developed and taught a large array of courses focused on the framing of social justice and human rights including at Simon Fraser University where she served as the Simons Research Fellow in International Law and Human Security from 2015–2016. Shayna developed the first human rights courses at Columbia College Chicago and the Graduate School for Journalism at University of British Columbia. Shayna has designed and taught courses on: the ethics and methods of human rights work, migration, social inequalities and human rights journalism. She has also taught the course "Human Rights Stories" at the University of Arizona's Program in Human Rights Practice. 

Her 2023 book, The Messy Ethics of Human Rights Workpublished by UBC Press is a collaborative effort with four editors and thirteen contributors providing an honest reflection on the uncertain and ever present gray areas of engaging in human rights work.