Helen Dancer

Principal Consultant

Dr Helen Dancer is a multidisciplinary researcher with over 16 years of experience leading projects on ecocultural and socio-legal issues concerning people and forests, land rights, Earth law and living heritage, in the interests of local communities, gender equity and future generations. Prior to her academic career in law and anthropology at the University of Sussex, Helen practised as a barrister in child and family law. She has collaborated with communities and NGOs in the UK and globally, and has worked as a technical expert on multi-country studies concerning gender, land and agriculture in Africa funded by FCDO. She is the author of ‘Women, Land and Justice in Tanzania’ (James Currey, 2015), editor of ‘People and Forests at the Legal Frontier’ (Journal of Legal Pluralism, 2021), co-editor of ‘UK Earth Law Judgments: Reimagining Law for People and Planet’ (Hart, 2024) and writes and presents the People & Forests podcast. Helen’s other roles include Executive Body member of the Commission on Legal Pluralism, Expert member of the UN Harmony with Nature Programme and Fellow of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme.

MA Music/Ethnomusicology, SOAS, University of London (2023)
PhD Law and Anthropology, University of Sussex (2012)
LLM Public International Law, University College London (2006)
BA (Hons), MA Philosophy and Politics (PPE), University of Oxford (1997)