Edited by Alexa Alfer
[Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts 3:3] 2017
► pp. 370–387
‘Kandinsky-fying’ the law
A translaborative use of abstract art in the law classroom
Sources of law are made up of terms that, amongst other things, mediate between facts and different results, and it is the role of lawyers to explain or justify why a particular interpretation or permutation of a given term should be taken in a given case. Such terms do not exist in isolation, but are hugely contextual and play an integral role in intermediating between different potential outcomes. Therefore, the skill of carefully applying and using legal terms is one of the primary focuses of legal education and calls for a consideration of the intricate role that legal terms play in legal argumentation. However, sometimes this endeavour in the law classroom is affected by the focus placed on the meaning of individual terms, as opposed to the broader role they have in legal reasoning and the analysis of legal outcomes. In considering this, this paper draws a contrast between the way in which students sometimes use different legal and moral terms in the various roles in their lives outside of the classrooms and within, and contends that one of the reasons for this is the greater liberty that they feel in using different terms outside of the classroom. This paper contends that, pedagogically, a similar level of independence can be achieved through the collaborative translation of legal concepts into abstract art, by enabling students to take greater co-ownership of legal language. Specifically, it argues that Wassily Kandinsky’s art theory, with its emphasis on the spirit and emotions, can provide an effective framework for this.
- 1.The spaces of law: Translaboration and abstract art?
- 2.The soundlessness of lexical units: Regina v Woollin (1998)
- 3.Ontology and the importance of ownership in legal education
- 4.The concreteness of words in contrast to the freedom of art
- 5.Using ‘Kandinskyian’ pedagogy in the law classroom
- 6.The ‘Kandinskyian’ spirit and legal analysis
- 7.The piano and sounds of justice: A conclusion