Allison is the Director of Strategy and Learning at the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), an international NGO that uses international human rights law as a tool to challenge unjust economic policies that systematically undermine rights enjoyment and thereby fuel inequalities.
Her work focuses on how to strengthen research in order to support more strategic and evidence-based advocacy on rights deprivations and inequalities. She works with human rights activists to build up the knowledge and skills needed to adopt a more interdisciplinary outlook and to incorporate more quantitative approaches in their work. The projects that she has supported have addressed issues as varied as post-earthquake housing in New Zealand, mental healthcare services in Kenya, educational resources in South Africa, social security reform in Scotland, and macroeconomic policy in post-revolutionary Egypt.
Allison played a leading role in developing OPERA, an innovative model framework that supports human rights activists to design metrics for monitoring socioeconomic rights. She has written extensively about the need to expand human rights research methods in both academic and non-academic publications.
She first joined CESR in 2010 as a recipient of the David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship from Columbia Law School. The fellowship supported a joint project with the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, which focused on strengthening the capacity of national human rights institutions to monitor socioeconomic rights. This project built on Allison’s longstanding interest in the unique role that national human rights institutions can play in advancing rights-based policymaking; in previous positions she worked with the National Institutions Unit of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney.
Allison holds a BA and LLB from the University of New South Wales and an LLM from Columbia Law School. In 2019, she completed an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Prize, which recognises master’s students in LSE’s Department of Sociology who receive an overall first-class classification in their degree.
I strongly believe that research on the deprivations of human rights and of inequalities shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of lawyers, social scientists, economists, and other experts. Research methods can, and should, be simplified and adapted to be used by communities who are affected and the activists that work to support them.