ALT conference: Affect plenary session

by Paul Maharg on 07/04/2009

Am blogging (not quite live — not enough laptops for the presenters so mine had to be borrowed) the ALT conference organised by Hugo de Rijke here at the Tropenmuseum.  Hugo has recently re-organized the ALT web site, which is now hugely improved, and will be a real resource for law academics in the UK — assuming that it will be populated with resources…  Caroline Maughan and I collaborated on the first session — an innovative 'gallery session' (appropriately enough for a conference nearly of of which was hosted in the remarkable Tropenmuseum) on our jointly-edited book on emotion and legal education.  We had a little over two hours, and we had put out a call to our dozen or so authors to contribute to the session.  Nine of them volunteered.  Here's now we planned it, if anyone wants to do the same…

1.  We emailed all authors to create a poster of their chapter – anything from an A3 B+W large-font extended abstract of their chapter to an A1 full-colour graphic job of the type seen at science conference, or if they were really into it (and hey, it's Amsterdam, with Rembrandt just round the corner) a full-on mantegna-type entire wall production.  We were looking for a summary to attract people to think about individual chapter content within its conceptual frame. 

2.  Posters were arranged by Caroline and me.

3.  At the start of the session there was a brief 15 mins intro by Caroline on the sporject, to all authors and folk attending our session.

4.  Given that, according to one set of stats, most folk spend about 30 mins in galleries actually looking at exhibits (as opposed to eating carrot cake & discoursing on the merits of serving with pineapple coulis, buying Caravaggio pencil-sharpeners or going to the loo Hein, G., Learning in the Museum], we wanted our exhibition to match that at least.  So folk were given c. 30 mins to read, walk, discuss, purse lips judiciously, etc…

5.  Followed by around 40 mins free discussion of the individual chapters, posted up around us which, we hoped, inter alia, would touch on topics such as the conceptual frame of the whole book, how useful the book might be to legal educators and others, why has no one ever done this sort of thing before, were we mad, etc.

In the event, there was quite intense discussion which, interestingly enough, centre on values and emotions.  While chaired, Caroline summarised on the screen, and we amended later.  We'll put it up on the book wiki later.  It was a useful, and thoughtful, discussion.  People seemed to get quite a lot from the session.  It was referred to quite a lot in the rest of the conference, and feedback in the session itself was pretty good.  I'd like to try this again.  Many thanks to the authors for coming up with their posters in timely fashion.  We'll be posting the posters up on the wiki, too, when the book is edited there by authors acting as a community of practice 

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