“A wonderful atmosphere of generosity, interest and support. This was my first LSAANZ and hopefully not my last!”
Against a backdrop of summer storms over 200 scholars, practitioners and students converged on UOW in December to enjoy a showcase of fascinating, cutting-edge socio-legal research at the 2018 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) conference.Hosted by UOW’s Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) in conjunction with LSAANZ, the Canadian Law and Society Association (CLSA) and the Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK), the conference, whose theme was ‘Inclusion, Exclusion and Democracy’, brought together participants from all over Australia and the world to engage in lively conversations, meet like-minded people and enjoy the very best of Wollongong’s coast, mountains and city. The conference began with a post-graduate workshop where PhD students engaged in socio-legal research met to discuss methodology, writing and impact. The full conference was officially opened by a Welcome to Country by UOW friend and poet Dr Barbara Nicholson (Aunty Barbara) and a wonderful performance by the Illawarra Flame Tree Dancers. This was followed by a thought-provoking plenary panel on the ‘Perspectives of Australia’s First Peoples on Inclusion, Exclusion’ with historian Dr Jackie Huggins, poet Jim Everett, writer Melissa Lucashenko and Aunty Barbara. The four conference keynote speakers provided intriguing insights into diverse areas of socio-legal scholarship. Professor Renisa Mawani from the University of British Columbia introduced the participants to her new book, Across Oceans of Law. Professor Leti Volpp of Berkeley Law, University of California spoke on protecting the nation from “Honor Killings’ and banning immigrants in the time of Trump. Professor Anne Griffiths from the University of Edinburgh talked about the importance of legal plurality in a global world. Finally, The Honorable Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, spoke about access to environmental justice and the effectiveness of law. The parallel sessions were a source of rich discussion, with topics as diverse as health care and technology, sexual assault reform, historical colonial perspectives of law and society and international environmental law.
Adding to the colour of the conference was an art exhibition on Port, Poles and Wires, which creatively explored in words, images and sculpture how privatisation is more the transference from public to private ownership and control. A thoroughly enjoyable conference dinner overlooking the sea finished off the conference. UOW’s beautiful campus, along with excellent research, a great sense of generosity and an errant sea gull, made LSAANZ 2018 an unforgettable conference. The conference organisers Dr Kylie Lingard, Dr Niamh Kinchin and Sarah Wright, who worked extremely hard and did such a fantastic job organising LSAANZ 2018 wish to thank all involved and hope to see everyone at LSAANZ 2019, which is to be held at Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast.