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School of Law

Art and Drama to develop students’ Legal Reasoning Skills

Photo Credit: Alicja Rogalska

The School of Law is to research and pilot a series of workshops to develop legal reasoning skills by drawing on resources from the visual and dramatic arts.

Dr Maks Del Mar, Lecturer in Legal and Social Philosophy at QM’s School of Law, will work together with Ms Alicja Rogalska, a visual artist and an educator at the Tate Gallery, and Ms Jacqueline Defferary, an experienced theatre and television actress and drama teacher.

The project, which starts in September 2012 and runs for one year, has been awarded more than £19k in funding from Queen Mary’s ‘Westfield Fund for Enhancing Student Experience’. The following four workshops will be developed: Laboratory of Analogical Reasoning, Laboratory of Interpretation, Laboratory of Legal Argument and Laboratory of Remedies.

Dr Del Mar said: ‘It is sometimes underestimated to what extent legal reasoning is a very creative exercise. Lawyers need to imagine alternative possibilities, draw tentative links between factual scenarios, and construct scenes from certain perspectives (eg from the perspective of the officious bystander or the reasonable person). When we teach legal reasoning, however, we typically do so exclusively by reference to textual materials, ignoring the pedagogical potential offered by other kinds of resources. Tapping into the activities and materials of the visual and dramatic arts offers an opportunity for enhancing the imaginative dimension of legal reasoning.’

Dr Del Mar, alone or together with Ms. Rogalska and Ms. Defferary, will be available to present, to other Schools or Departments in Queen Mary, the outcome of the project. Apart from a final report, which can be disseminated to others in Queen Mary, Dr Del Mar is planning to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals.

Photo Credit: Alicja Rogalska



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