Research Impact


Shaping public and professional understandings of law through fine art

Carey Young’s work gives fresh insights into the workings of the legal profession, enabling critique and understanding of law and legal methods for gallery visitors and art world professionals.

Judge performing the law

28 April 2022

Increasing conversation around immigration  

Carey Young’s (UCL Slade School of Fine Art) text installation ‘Declared Void II’ (2013) was exhibited in the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota) as part of the exhibition ‘I Am You, You Are Too’, from 7 September 2017-1 March 2020, seen by 309,965 people.

It inspired, and was the location of an innovative public events programme at the Walker, ‘Citizenship Series: Filling the Void’, which aimed to engage artists and audiences on the topic of immigration.  
For the Walker, ‘It is a conversation that needs to be presented here’ given that Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita in the USA, including the largest Somali diaspora outside of East Africa.

In total, 400 people attended and 15 artists participated in four events. One participating artist, Peng Wu, sought to ‘demonstrate love and unity across the borderline’ by having non-US citizens stand outside Ms Young’s artwork and US citizens inside it, hugging.

Wu said these participants ‘collectively confronted and will continuously confront the power of the dividing borderline with our love and relationships’.  

A female perspective on law  

Ms Young’s video installation ‘Palais de Justice’ (2017), which evokes a court or legal system run by women, was seen by 57,000 visitors to her exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, 42,763 visitors to her exhibition at Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, and 686 visitors to La Loge, Brussels.  
It was screened for two groups of legal professionals, once at La Loge and once at The Hague (February 2020), and was the subject of a series of papers in the journal ‘Law and Humanities’.

‘Palais de Justice’ enabled legal professionals to view their profession from new perspectives. Annick Mottet, the lawyer who advised Ms Young during the making of Palais de Justice, described the impacts on her professional practice: “Palais de Justice has made me, and other law professionals, see the courtroom differently. It has made me notice the things beside my work as a professional lawyer. I’m not just focusing on my paper and pencil – it’s opened my eyes to the environment around me.” 
Annick Mottet organised two screenings of Palais de Justice in Brussels in 2019. At Centre Pompidou Brussels, on International Women’s Day, Ms Young gave an invitation-only talk and screening of Palais de Justice for 58 people: clients of Lydian (Mottet’s law firm) and several senior judges, including one from Belgium’s Supreme Court.

At La Loge, during Ms Young’s solo show there, Lydian sponsored a talk by her about Palais de Justice, attended by about 50 legal professionals including the chiefs of the French- and Dutch-speaking Bars.  

Research synopsis

Shaping public and professional understandings of law through fine art practice

Carey Young’s works Declared Void II (2013) and Palais de Justice (2017) give fresh insights into the workings of legal contracts, immigration and citizenship law, law’s patriarchal structures, jurisprudence, the aesthetics of law and related discourses. Informed by collaboration with judges, lawyers, and academics, these artworks enabled critique and understanding of law, jurisprudence and legal methods for gallery visitors, art world professionals, e.g. curators, and museum staff. Declared Void II stimulated and shaped conversations about citizenship and immigration through an events programme at Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). Screening Palais de Justice to legal professionals in Belgium and Holland (2019-20) informed and changed the ways that judges and lawyers thought about their practice and the systems within which they work.



  • Image credit: Palais de Justice, Carey Young, 2017