Tilburg University, Netherlands

6-7 June 2013

Dr Cassandra Sharp

At the beginning of the European summer, a group of international scholars gathered together in Tilburg, NL to share current research and ideas around the diverse field of law and popular culture. It was an extremely full and inspiring two days of engaging scholarship that focused on the nature of law, pop culture and interdisciplinarity. The conference sought to bring together lawyers and researchers from different jurisdictions to examine the international perspectives of this theme, and to provide diverse reflections on the interface between two subjects of enormous importance in contemporary society. The somewhat intimate conference welcomed approx 30 scholars from around the globe, many of whom were highly respected and pre-eminent scholars who had an instrumental role in the emergence of the wondrous interdisciplinary field of law and pop culture over 25 years ago: David Papke, Michael Asimow, John Denvir and Richard Weisberg to name a few.

With featured speakers at each meal (Jeaanne Gakeer and Peter Robson) there was no time to rest, and over the 2 days, 10 panels covered the gambit of pop law scholarship, including: Legal Stories and Television Drama; Law and Contemporary Cinema; The courtroom of Reality Television; Law in the News; Law across Borders; and Legal Identities. Addressing key questions about ontology, methodology, pedagogy and mediated conceptions, the conference provided scholars an opportunity to engage each other with rich analysis of a diverse number of pop cultural texts. Some of these texts included film (True Grit, Clockwork Orange), television (Desperate Housewives, Fairly Legal and The Wire), literature (Harry Potter), media reports, videogames, and my own presentation of focus group discussions. In a setting where none of us felt the need to legitimise our research as a serious site of legal encounters, inspiration for future projects and international collaboration abounded. It was by far, one of the most engaging conferences I have yet experienced.

Fortunately a special edited collection of the papers will be published later this year – so stay tuned. If you would like more information about the papers presented and the topics covered, feel free to contact me at csharp@uow.edu.au