Prof Jane Holder gives keynote speech at annual conference of Association of Law Teachers April 2019
30 April 2019
Professor Holder's speech was on the subject of 'Teaching Towards Diversity, Inclusivity, and Sustainability'.
Professor Jane Holder, Professor of Environmental Law at UCL Laws, gave a keynote speech on ‘Teaching Towards Diversity, Inclusivity, and Sustainability’ at the Association of Law Teachers Annual conference in April 2019 which was on the theme ‘Legal Education for the Many’. Jane gave the speech because of previously winning the Law Teacher of the Year Award (2015).
In the keynote speech, Jane connected conceptually and practically sustainability with diversity and inclusivity agendas. She identified that, in universities, these agendas tend to be in parallel or in tandem, rather than acted upon in a combined and inter-connected way. Working from environmental law, she found areas of common ground between these agendas via themes of knowledge, justice and ethics. Jane made an important distinction between the formal and informal curriculum, and, using the example of fossil fuel divestment campaigns and UCU strike action, argued that engaging with the informal curriculum (responsible for shaping academic life in a broad sense) can help give effect to these agendas by addressing questions about institutional ethics and values.
The subject of the speech arose from work at UCL to map and develop an inclusive curriculum. This work led Jane to identify congruence between teaching for sustainability (the main aim of teaching courses on environmental law) and teaching to encourage a sense of belonging in all students. An important part of this is the dismantling of hierarchies, socially and pedagogically. In the speech, Jane characterised institutional responses on diversity and inclusivity as falling into categories of action, arranged according to their potential for radical pedagogical change, and compared these with examples from the education for sustainable development movement, including outdoor teaching experiments.
The conference included papers on collaborative and participatory approaches in legal education, pedagogical advances relating to the use of technology, and narrative, and the differing experiences of key elements of legal education.