The Graduate Students in Law Association (GSLEDD) hosted its 5th annual graduate student conference on May 12-13, 2016. Under the moniker “Law and Governance: Intersections for Better and for Worse,” the conference brought together graduate students from across Canada to examine the interactions between law and different notions and expressions of governance.
The conference featured eight thought-provoking panels which explored how governance intersects with and relates to gender issues, human rights, fundamental rights, natural resources, the environment, corporations, intellectual property, and the administration of justice.
In an effort to encourage constructive feedback, each participant in the conference was assigned a paper of one of her or his fellow participants in advance of the conference. Participants were then asked to constructively comment on the work and pose relevant questions during presentations, ultimately promoting an environment of interactive and mutual learning. This exercise also allowed participants to engage with research that in some cases was very different from their own.
“The initiative to exchange papers was truly transformative,” says Melisa Handl, who serves as Co-President of the GSLEDD with Aboubacar Dakuyo. “We never ran out of questions during the panels; instead, there were always more questions than our allocated time would allow us to cover, so our participants would continue their talks in an informal way after the sessions. It was wonderful to see that level of interaction and intensity.”
The conference also featured a keynote presentation by Professor Angela Cameron, who spoke about assisted human reproduction, explaining the legal patchwork in Canada and the challenges faced by individuals who want to create their families this way. Her research has uncovered the many social and economic barriers to assisted human reproduction, and has shed light on the particular challenges and oppressions faced by families led by same-sex partners.
“The conference was a great success and we have received excellent feedback from our participants,” says Ms. Handl. “It created and environment of collegiality and mutual learning, allowing our participants to connect with other scholars around Canada.”