Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sociolegal image-text on the fly

When I see something that triggers a sociolegal thought I usually take a photo and tweet it, usually tagging the ever-obliging @SLSA_UK.

The tweet text reminds me of the thought that was triggered by the image.

All of which goes to my increasing confidence in the idea that images and text are best served together. And hot? So I shall continue to collect examples here as and when.

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Mass sociolegal visualisation

'Law and governance are intimately entangled with time'. So began the call for papers for an international conference on 'New' legal temporalities: discipline and resistance across domains of time', the third event in a two year AHRC-funded Regulating Time networking project, co-organised by Emily Grabham (Kent) and Sian Beynon-Jones (York).

I designed and facilitated the opening plenary workshop in which about 50 participants performed two experiments en masse. The aim was to encourage collaboration, openness and to focus attention on the conference theme.

Photo release forms were obtained from all participants.

Experiment I: Text and/as image
Worksheet for Experiment I: Text and/as image. Printed A3.

Keywords for Experiment I. Selected from conference abstracts. Printed A3.

Images for Experiment I. Selected from my own collection. Each of the 88 images printed at A5.

Experiment II: Model Making
Worksheet for Experiment II: Model Making

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Object-based econosociolegal brainstorming

I used a visit to Room 72: Ancient Cyprus at the British Museum to experiment with a spot of object-based econosociolegal brainstorming.

My aim was to use the objects as prompts for rapid reflections on the econosociolegal past, present and future of Cyprus, particularly in the context of the current round of Cyprus-lead UN-facilitated talks aimed at the possible reunification of the island.

I tweeted my results as follows:

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Categorising visual materials

This experiment follows on from an attempt to visualise sociolegal concepts using found images. Both experiments are part of my research (funded by the Socio-legal Studies Association) into the use of graphic design by civil society actors in relation to econolegal aspects of the current talks between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots regarding possible reunification of the islandMy intention was to gain a more systematic understanding of my growing collection of visual materials for that project.

I chose to rely on the typology set out by Gillian Rose in her Visual Methodologies, the most comprehensive, sophisticated and yet accessible that I have found. This typology identifies four visual 'sites': of the image, of its production, of its circulation and of its audiencing; and it suggest that each of these sites should be considered in respect of three 'modalities': technological, compositional and social. 

I typed out each of these 9 categorical terms, printed them out and cut them into strips. I then printed out representations of each visual material in my collection. Both of these steps were useful because they added weight to my consideration of each individual term/image and to their collective nature.

I then collected the visual materials together under the relevant categorical term, paying attention to evidence of breadth, depth and gaps in the collection.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Exploring the potential of materials to 'fire imagination' and 'advance conceptualisation'

My fellow MA Graphic Media Design student, Andy Dalle Laste, and I have been tasked with conducting an interview exploring key issues that are shaping current and future design practices.


We are both interested in the theme of social transformation (in relation to completely different fields: genome editing / and econosociolegal peace-building respectively).

We decided to approach Zoe Laughlin, co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Making of UCL who combines extensive expertise in both design and materials science together with a palpable enthusiasm for sharing and learning.

Our intention is to use the interview as the basis for a short film exploring the potential of materials as speculative design tools: to 'fire imagination' and 'advance conceptualisation' (two elements of the Institute's strapline).


We prepared for the interview by attending an onsite open day run by Zoe, reading her published work and watching her media appearances.

We then choose a selection of items from the Materials Library that seemed relevant to the theme of social transformation. Finally we storyboarded the shoot.


Totally tempting display of materials

Our favourite four

We first asked Zoe some more general questions about how she thinks and feels about materials (her intellectual and emotional relationship with them), the importance of curiosity and the meaning of transformation in the material sense.

We then asked her to speak about four materials from the collection. Below are some extracts from each discussion.

Muscle wire

Bioactive glass scaffold

Self­-healing concrete


Watch the space for updates as we turn the interview into a short film.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Legal Object Workshop 2017: How to apply

Kent Law School is pleased to offer up to 10 funded places to attend the first Legal Object Workshop at the British Museum (London) on Friday 10 March 2017 10:00 – 16:00.

The workshop is coordinated by Amanda Perry-Kessaris with Lisa Dickson, Luis Eslava, RoseParfitt and Sophie Vigneron who will be allocating the funded places by competitive selection based on applicants' object proposals (instructions below).

Preference will be given to doctoral and early career researchers.

During the workshop participants will present, discuss and reproduce an object in which they can identify significance for their legal research.

Following the workshop participants will produce an object commentary for online publication.

This event is part of the Legal Treasure Project at Kent Law School.

To apply for a funded place

1. Choose an item from the British Museum collection
·       check item ‘location’ to ensure it is currently on display at the British Mueseum
·       note the item URL
·       consider this legal object resource page

2. Answer the following questions on ONE A4 page 
[Helvetica 11 pt, 2 cm margins, include questions as headings]
·       What is your name, email address + affiliation?
·       What is your chosen item name + URL?
·       What is your current research question?
·       How could you use your chosen item to answer your current research question?
·       What research benefits / limitations might be associated with using museum collections in this way?

3. Submit by 17:00 GMT Monday 26 September 2016 to

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Model making for sociolegal research Part 1

In 2016 Kent Law School purchased a Lego set. Curious?

It is commonly reported that we remember just 10 percent of what we hear and 20 percent of what we read, but 80 percent of what we see and do; and that over 80 percent of the information we absorb is visual. 

We intend to use Lego to press ourselves to use that 80 percent. 

Let’s say I am facing a problem in my current research/administration/teaching project, and I want to get the advice of my colleagues. I can build a model for my colleagues of where my project is now, explaining what each piece represents and how it relates to the other pieces. The building process, including the selection of the pieces and where to put them, will force me to think very precisely about my project, but in terms that are still accessible to others. I learn new things about how my project fits together, and I offer a shared point of reference or vocabulary to my colleagues. After some discussion I might be in a position build another model that is closer to where I want my project to be. I may or may not actually get there. But we will all have used more of that 80 percent.

We initiated our Lego set in early July with a drop in session based around this worksheet, which proved to productive, albeit imperfect. 

Comments from participants suggested that the process was 'very useful because it made me think about planning my work in a completely different way, ie 3d and thus it was easier to see the blockages'; and 'creative and fun and oddly comforting' causing me to 'stand back and look at my work more objectively (from outside?). Perhaps that's why I found it calming.'

The contribution of KLS researcher Joanne Permian resulted in this, the first of a series of short films I am making to  demonstrate how 3D model making can facilitate thinking though, and sharing, complex projects and ideas:

Sociolegal model making 1 Decisions from Amanda Perry-Kessaris on Vimeo.

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