ILEC 2014: Summary thoughts

by Paul Maharg on 15/07/2014

My thanks to Nigel Duncan and Andy Boone for organising ILEC.  It’s a difficult conference to map out because it’s so wide-ranging in its remit.  That it succeeded is down not just to Nigel and Andy’s hard work and sensitivity in organising the sessions but to everyone’s willingness to be there and open their own thoughts to the scrutiny of others, and to spend time thinking about others’ work.  Great to have long breaks between sessions to talk to people whose work you’ve read, and with whom you’ve started that silent conversation in your head that’s so important for learning and thinking.

For example when I was talking for my 12 mins in session 6 I said what I’d written on legal education and globalisation, and I’d thought long & hard about it; but even as I was speaking I was thinking, this isn’t really meshing, it’s not right.  I finished up, others took over, then Liz Curran ran the mini-demo of the Giving Voice to Values session.  At the end of that, at Questions, Robert Herrian raised the point that the GVV was addressed to the personal not the political.  And then it clicked for me — I asked Nigel if I could respond on GVV and drew the analogies between GVV and Brechtian techniques, Freirean theory and the practices of Boal (theatre of the oppressed) and others, to draw the line between the personal and political.  And as I talked then, I knew that what I was saying was what was missing in my own talk.  So my thanks to Robert.  Not that he or his institution need to be read any lessons in the direct line between personal and the politics of education.  The Open University is a beacon of great practice, with its commitment to OER and Open Education, and the values that go with it; and I dearly wish other law schools would learn from it.

You know it’s been a good conference when you check the time, say your goodbyes, turn to the door, bags in hand.  And hesitate.


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