We were delighted to welcome our new year 1 students to University last week. ‘Welcome week’ activities started with students spending a whole day with our academics and administrative staff, who introduced them to central elements of the learning and student experience at Goldsmiths Law.
The event started with a warm welcome from our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, who, upon congratulating the students for their success in relevant examinations, and the resilience they had shown in confronting the challenges inherent in the pandemic, spoke to them about the values that underpin the Law programme at Goldsmiths – human rights, fairness, equality, the rule of law – and attributes that the programme aspires to instil in them over the course of their degree as well as opening up to them an outstanding range of opportunities, from learning through continuous visits to legal institutions in London to engaging with experiential learning activities, clinical legal education and community-based voluntary work.
Dr Dagmar Myslinska, Dr Plamen Dinev and Mr Jean-Michel Villot spoke next, about student welfare and student support, with a focus on our dynamic personal tutoring system, examinations and progression as well as negotiating their journey into the degree through technology – what apps to download to ensure they’re up to speed with announcements and opportunities advertised by the department; how to communicate with the team; where to access their learning materials…
After a welcome lunch break where the students had a wonderful opportunity to mingle and get to know each other, the afternoon session kicked off with the Year 1 teaching team introducing their modules. Dr Alex Dymock highlighted how Criminal Law is a research led module informed by her expertise in sexual offences, offences against the person and obscenity law.
Dr Virginie Barral explained how recent political events such as the prorogation of Parliament provide exciting case studies for the study of Public Law and the Human Rights Act.
Dr Dagmar Myslinska spices up Contract Law through a Law in context approach while Dr Sheri Labenski infuses the study of the English Legal System with feminist and critical legal perspectives.
Last but not least, in 21stCentury legal skills, Dr Miranda Bevan brings her professional expertise as a barrister to ensure students learn to master legal research and writing, case analysis and advocacy in this highly practical module.
It was now time for the students to get involved, and our guest speaker, Michael Olatokun, who is a Research Leader in Citizenship and the Rule of Law, and the Head of Public and Youth Engagement, at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, gave the cohort an outstanding opportunity to discuss and reflect on what makes them passionate about studying law and a consensus quickly built on how law is such a crucial tool to drive change and bring about social justice. Michael first passionately recounted his personal story and what brought him to pursue a career as a barrister, no doubt inspiring many along the way. He then led a highly interactive session, with students involved throughout, on the importance of the right to protest as a fundamental human right.
Our new year 1 cohort can be very proud of themselves, and we certainly are! They proved highly engaged, contributing many valuable reflections on how to balance individual human rights in a proportionate way in the face of the collective needs for safety and security.’