Theoretical Positions, Teaching Experiments and Learning Experiences
Edited by Bart van Klink and Ubaldus de Vries
Chapter 13: Learning how to read a case: resources from the visual and dramatic arts
It is not often that a legal academic has the opportunity to work closely, and over the period of an entire year, with a visual artist and an actor. I was put in this very fortunate position thanks to a generous grant from an internal funding scheme (the Westfield Fund for Enhancing Student Experience) at Queen Mary University of London, awarded for the year 2012–13. The aim of the project was to design and deliver a number of pilot workshops (primarily with students, but at least one with staff) exploring the potential for drawing on resources from the visual and dramatic arts for teaching law and legal reasoning. In this chapter, I report on two of the pilot workshops for students, both of which focused on ‘How to Read a Case’, or more broadly, precedential reasoning. The other workshop for students focused on ‘How to Read Statutes’ or statutory interpretation, and the workshop for staff looked primarily at the teaching of substantive areas of the law (e.g. the various principles and rules of contract law). Epistemological justifications for engaging in art-based research and art-based pedagogy are slowly making their way into the legal academy – this collection is itself a sign of that.
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