Ways of seeing law: What can art history tell lawyers about their discipline?

Ways of seeing law: What can art history tell lawyers about their discipline?
24 April 2017, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

John Coffin Memorial Annual Lecture:  "Ways of seeing law: What can art history tell lawyers about their discipline?"

Host: Professor Diamond Ashiagbor, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

Chair: Professor Michelle O’Malley, Professor of the History of Art and Deputy Director, The Warburg Institute

Speaker: Professor Linda Mulcahy, Department of Law, London School of Economics

Lawyers love the word.  When we teach our students it is primarily through the lens of written judgements and textual analysis.  Engagements between law and  art tend to focus  on the ways in which authoritative legal texts facilitate the commodification of creativity or seek to impose discipline on the sensual realm.  This paper will focus on the implications of us moving beyond the law of art to the more complex territory of law and art. In doing so it will explore the value of the image as a source of information about law and legal phenomena which is otherwise lacking or marginalised in the legal canon.

About the speaker:

Professor Mulcahy is professor of law at London School of Economics, where she is also the first Director of the LSE’s new PhD Academy. She is co-director of a Leverhulme Trust research project grant on 'Design and due process: facilitating participation in the justice system’ on the recent history of court design, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and with architect Emma Rowden; and of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award on oral history and legal biography, held in partnership with the British Library. Having gained qualifications in law, sociology and the history of art and architecture, Linda’s work has a strong interdisciplinary flavour. Her research focuses on disputes and their resolution and she has studied the socio-legal dynamics of disputes in a number of contexts including the car distribution industry, NHS, divorce, public sector complaints systems and judicial review. Her work often has an empirical focus and she has received a number of grants from the ESRC, AHRC, Department of Health, Nuffield Foundation and Lotteries Fund in support of her work.

John Coffin Memorial Lectures, Readings and Recitals:

Born in March 1868, Arthur Charles Coffin became an external student of the University of London, graduating with a pass degree in Arts in 1889 by private study. He retired as Inspector of Education to Dorset, and died aged 88 in July 1956 leaving his residual estate of £27,000 to the University in memory of his father John, a journeyman blacksmith from Dorchester.  The bequest was established to provide “grants as suitable occasion should arise” for lectures on “Christian Ethics”, “recent research of historical, literary or scientific interest”, “a chamber concert or recital by an ensemble or instrumentalist”, and “literary readings of prose or poetry” (NB: which may be in languages other than English).  In recent years annual lectures were added to the Coffin cycle in the History of Ideas, the History of the Book, Palaeography, and Irish Studies, and a rota governing Institute involvement per subject area was instituted through 2007-2014. “Mr Coffin was concerned that, in the growing intensity of specialisation in modern times, we should not lose sight of music, the arts and what he termed the cultural aspects of education, and, not the least, of good general teaching on a sound religious basis.”

This event will be followed by a reception

How to book: This event is free but those wishing to attend are asked to book in advance.



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