I’m in the midst of busy bout of conferencing having flown back on Monday evening from two days at the Association of Law Teachers’ Annual Conference in Amsterdam, to drive up to Leicester yesterday morning for the Socio-Legal Studies Association bash, which runs till Thursday at de Montfort University – so four nights away from home broken up by a night at home to empty and re-fill the suitcase… can’t say I find that quite as much fun as I used to!
I’m not doing a paper at SLSA this year, ‘just’ representing UKCLE and managing our display stand, but it will be nice to have an opportunity to sit back and engage with other people’s papers, rather than having to think about my own, especially as there are three legal education panels today and tomorrow, to add to the two legal profession panels I attended yesterday – more about that in a later post.
There were some interesting papers at ALT too, but I was particularly pleased to be part of an innovation: a plenary poster session! The session, which opened the conference on Sunday afternoon was organised by Paul Maharg and Caroline Maughan as part of an ongoing project on legal education and the affective domain. The plan is ultimately to produce a book of essays on this theme, and nine out of about a dozen or so contributors attended. Paul talks about the process and design of the session over at Zeugma. The session seemed to generate a lot of interest – to be honest probably more than I’d expected, which is, of course, very heartening, and would seem to confirm that we are picking up on a significant issue for law teaching. The posters and the discussion which followed also made it even more clear what a potentially massive project (can of worms??) affect is! There are multiple theoretical dimensions, drawing on combinations of psychology, neuro-biology, cognitive science, philosophy, sociology and social theory, and equally a vast array of applications and implications – for specific law subjects, for different stages or aspects of the both the student and the academic experience, plus quite a lot of underlying uncertainty about the scope of affect and the affective domain, and its relationship with emotion, the body, etc. Pulling this collection together will be an interesting challenge. To add to that (and I think if we can do it, it will enhance the quality of the product) Paul and Caroline are keen that draft chapters are shared via a wiki so that all authors can comment on the work in progress, and there might even be scope for collaborative editing/re-writing. As book projects go it is thus developing a very distinctive methodology, as well as some highly original content.