Practice-Led Workshop: Beyond Text in Legal Education

  • Zenon Bankowski (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


This was an experiential workshop which brought together three artists (a visual-based artist, a movement based artist, and a curator) with legal professionals, legal scholars and legal education (both tertiary and professional) policy makers from the UK and the USA. The artists were all experienced in working with persons who have had no or little exposure to the production and/or appreciation of visual and movement-based art. They led a two day integrated workshops, focusing on both the production and appreciation of visual and movement-based artworks. The workshop was held, in part, in the University Art Gallery. We aimed, to develop non-textually, the skills that will enable lawyers to develop the ethical imagination, to experience the vulnerability of the situation and allow it to speak and help them move beyond the law by transforming, but not destroying it. The experiential workshop formed part of the objective of creating a space for legally trained people to explore the production of visually and movement based art, and also to explore nontextually affective experience and practice in law. It was a highlight of our project. It was highly risky and experimental. We did things that took us well out of our comfort zones. But the careful planning and skill of the artists made it highly successful both as an event and a learning experience. The group dynamics thus created carried over for the whole of the project. We built in reflexivity into the workshop so throughout there was time to reflect together on the exercises and how we felt. We also filmed the event. We had a film maker with us for the whole time filming and from some 10 hours of footage he produced a film of the event. The film was not a mere record, but also an artistic production. It also fed into the research itself in that it became part of the research process itself and interaction with it, and with reactions to it, played an integral role in the succeeding seminars and in our thinking as to how to go forward in the project. In that sense, it highlighted the 'Beyond Textual' nature of the project in a significant way and transformed our conception of how to go about research. Feedback we have received from all who have seen the film (including film makers) has been uniformly excellent. More importantly (and appropriate for 'Beyond Text') we found that it explained the project clearly and convincingly to the extent that we have decided to use this as a key dissemination aid. Most of our presentations on the project in the academy and beyond make use of a showing of the film.
Period7 Dec 20088 Dec 2008
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map