Blake Lawrinson

Blake Lawrinson


My academic background is in International Relations, broadly defined. I completed my BA in International Relations at the University of Leeds where I first developed an interest in debates on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). I continued to pursue this interest by undertaking an MA in International Relations, also at the University of Leeds. It was here where I first engaged with human protection as a concept which encompasses a range of protection norms, including the R2P and protection of civilians. This notion of human protection formed the core focus of my following MA dissertation on the interaction of human protection norms in Mali (2013-2016), which received the 2017 POLIS MA Dissertation Prize. Having witnessed first-hand the excellent expertise and scholarship on human protection during my four years in the School of Politics and International Studies, I decided to remain at the University of Leeds to pursue a PhD.

Alongside my research, I am responsible for managing website content for the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P) at the University of Leeds. The ECR2P is dedicated to advancing the R2P through research, education, and policy dialogue. I have also been involved in several research projects, which have helped to shape my research interests. This includes research on human protection within the context of the ongoing conflict in Syria.  

Outside of academia, I have a keen interest in football and support my local club, Bradford City.

Research interests

This research examines the UK’s commitment to human protection within the context of a transitional foreign policy.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it would appear that the UK is uniquely placed to contribute to such efforts in human protection, whether through pen-holding on UN resolutions or advocating for human protection more broadly. However, while continuing to make rhetorical commitments to human protection, the UK remains largely unclear on the role of human protection in its broader foreign policy strategy. Yet, addressing this issue is complex when considering the multiple changes and challenges presently facing UK foreign policy. Encapsulating this is the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit), and the broader rise of the BRICS powers which advocate a pluralist world order based on protecting the sovereign autonomy of states. This research suggests that such changes will have implications for the nature of the UK’s commitment to human protection as it focuses on other core foreign policy issues, such as trade.

The contributions of this research are: (1) theoretical, through exploring the changing foreign policy behaviour of the UK towards human protection; and (2) empirical, through investigating the UK’s engagement with human protection when faced with multiple challenges and changes in its foreign policy.

The research conceptualises human protection as consisting of a cluster of different interrelated norms and approaches of the responsibility to protect (R2P), protection of civilians in armed conflict (PoCAC), atrocity prevention (AP), Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), and United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK). These all share commonality in efforts to protect humans from mass violence and atrocities.

My research has been awarded a Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (2017-2020).

Other research interests include: 

  • Human Protection (esp. Responsibility to Protect)
  • British Foreign Policy (esp. Policy on Human Protection)
  • British Political Parties
  • Security Studies (esp. Critical Perspectives & Human Security)

I am happy to be contacted to discuss UK foreign policy on human protection issues.

Professional Memberships

British International Studies Association 

European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect


Lawrinson, B. 2017. Review: Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. Civil Wars. 19(1), pp.108-111. Available from:


  • BA International Relations (First Class) - University of Leeds
  • MA International Relations (Distinction) - University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • European Centre for Responsibility to Protect