Following the success of 2016’s ‘Writing Out Loud’ PhD session , the Legal Intersections Research Centre at the UOW Law School recently held its second 2017 iteration, providing the opportunity for five of its PhD students to showcase their research. As long as the presentation related to an aspect of their research, the students were free to present whatever they were currently focussed on, which resulted in a fantastically diverse session!
Taking place on the 13th of September, 2017, the session was structured loosely in order of earlier-stage to later-stage students, with Xu Qinqing, Stephanie Apsari Putri, Dylan Amy Davis, Sarah Wright and Ryan Kernaghan presenting. Fellow LIRC PhD student, Fabienne Else, acted as convener. Some of the earlier-stage students used this opportunity to present the entirety of their current research, in a proposal format, while others presented in a more traditional publication-style format.
Starting the afternoon off, was Xu Qinqing, a first-year PhD student whose research focuses primarily on collective management of music copyright. Her presentation ‘Collective Management of Music Copyright — A Comparative Analysis of Collective Management Organisations in China, the US and Australia’ examined emerging issues in Chinese copyright management. Xu’s highly informative session outlined some very pertinent issues facing music copyright in the digital age, including the emergence of collective management organisations (CMOs) and issues concerning the rights of both members and non-members of these institutions. By comparing the current stance of CMOs across China, Australia and the US, Xu outlined her hopes of developing a greater understanding of CMO development in China.
Second to present was Stephanie Apsari Putri, another first year PhD student whose research focussed on a very different area – that of food adulteration. Her presentation ‘Regulation of Food Adulteration in Indonesia: A Quest for its Effectiveness’ was incredibly eye-opening to the audience, as many were unaware of the levels of deceptive food behaviours that occur in areas of Indonesia, including the popular tourist area of Bali. While the audiences eyes grew continuously wide at Stephanie’s visual illustrations of bleached rice and rotten foods, she deftly outlined multiple issues regarding Indonesia’s current approach to food safety regulation. While still in the early stages of her research, it was clear that Stephanie’s thesis will go on to raise many eyebrows in the future, both for its confronting insights and useful contribution to potential policy reform.
Following Stephanie’s presentation was a new addition to the Law School and LIRC – Dylan Amy Davis. Having recently transferred from the School of Arts, English and Media, Dylan continued the diverse nature of the session, outlining their research on ‘Bisexual erasure in law and culture: queer temporality, compulsory monogamy and narrative’. Dylan impressed the audience with a close examination of the positioning of their research in a current literature gap surrounding the logics of ‘bisexual erasure in contemporary Western social, cultural and legal discourses’. Dylan outlined how queer temporality, compulsory monogamy and narrative provide new interpretative frameworks for theorising in the area of bi-erasure. Taking on a very large and challenging project, Dylan discussed their approach of interviewing a variety of bi-spectrum individuals to provide a more complete analysis of bi-erasure and in order to assist in the development of new ways thinking critically about how Australian law and culture think about, and present, bi-sexuality. The audience was greatly impressed by the scale of Dylan’s project, and several made comments on potential future research directions for this area.
As mentioned previously, the latter part of the session was devoted to the Law Schools later-stage PhD students, with Sarah Wright, a former solicitor for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and current Lecturer in the Law School presenting her paper ‘Re-examining the Approach to Alternative Sentencing Orders in New South Wales Pollution Law’. An examination of the current remedies available to the Land and Environment Court of NSW, her paper critiqued the seemingly narrow approach to sentencing that is currently occurring in that Court. Sarah provided the audience with a very clear outline of the current remedies, before illustrating their use according to recent statistics. Her paper made the audience question why alternative sentencing orders (ASOs) such as environmental service and payment orders, publication and monetary benefit orders are not popularly utilised, despite their availability. Presenting a very strong case for the uptake of these ASOs in the future, Sarah demonstrated that the existence of legislation does not necessarily lead to uptake, and it continues to be the role of legal academics to investigate the operation of laws in practice.
To finish the day, experienced PhD student and sessional lecturer Ryan Kernaghan, gave a presentation outlining some of his reflections and insights regarding ‘going to full draft’ within a PhD. In his presentation, Ryan outlined some incredibly useful advice for the newer PhD students in relation to pushing through research and writing barriers, overcoming self-sabotage and practicing good self-care. The aim of this presentation was to give the students some time to reflect on their own PhD journey and it provided a fantastic closing discussion for the students on the difficulties so often inherent to the PhD experience. As a student on the cusp of submitting his own thesis, Ryan was well situated to promote such discussion, and provided many valuable insights that many of the other students found both useful and at times, quite humorous.
Ultimately, this Works-In-Progress session showcased the incredibly diverse nature of research that the School of Law, and LIRC in particular, are fostering. The passion of the students in their respective areas of research was clearly apparent within the presentations. Such events as this benefit both the audience and the presenters, for while the audience is given an insight into emerging areas of research, the presenters are granted with the opportunity to collect their thoughts and present them to a supportive, yet scholarly audience. While ideas or approaches may be challenged, ultimately the feedback provides a valuable opportunity for students to evolve their work and refine it for future dissemination.
As with last year, this event continued to support a sense of strong community among students in the UOW Law School, allowing them the opportunity to learn about others work, as well as presenting their own in a supportive, learning environment.