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‘Beyond the Classroom’ in the School of Culture & Society

In the School of Culture & Society, our Department of Law works closely with the Departments of Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Anthropology, Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, and History. An exciting new cross-School initiative, ‘Beyond the Classroom’, brings together students and academic staff from across these departments, and other parts of Goldsmiths, to immerse them in a range of opportunities, beyond the classroom, beyond the University itself, making the most of what London has to offer, professionally, culturally, institutionally, socially.

“The experience at University should be greater than the sum of its – traditionally conceived, academic – parts, the knowledge communicated through lectures or seminars, and the coursework or examinations that support its delivery. Experiencing the world, connecting with others, developing critical thinking skills, understanding how theory is applied in practice (who facilitates its application, and who is a stumbling block, and how to overcome them), exploring the plethora of interests that will make you a well-rounded individual, and enjoying yourself in the process of doing all that, should matter as much as the more formal aspects of the curriculum. University should be a world where you are continuously meeting inspirational people and going on life-shaping trips, where you are empowered to reflect on the past, engage with the present and be part of the debates that have the capacity to forge the solutions that we need for the future. You should be feeling fulfilled, intellectually and emotionally, by the sheer richness of the opportunity you are exposed to. That’s what ‘Beyond the Classroom’ aims to achieve. We’re setting the bar high, no doubt, but we’re thrilled with the response we’ve had so far” – this is how Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos described the programme. Prof Giannoulopoulos is the Head of the Law Department, who has designed and is leading on Beyond the Classroom (BtC), in his role as Associate Head (Student Experience) in the School of Culture & Society.

So how does BtC work exactly? It is a programme that exposes our students to an array of experiential learning, immersive, student-community-building activities, from visits to legal, political and cultural institutions, to engaging with theatre, cinema, art, architecture, and contributing to Clinic projects or going on study abroad visits, and whose elasticity enables students to switch from attending a formal seminar (at the University of London, with the first female president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, for instance) to going to a futuristic, dystopian exhibition at 180 Studios or watching the Palme d’Or winner at the Ciné Lumière at the French Institute or Oppenheimer at the BFI IMAX or taking part in debating exercises or exploring Law and social sciences through imagining and performing theatre scenes (things you would not expect to do as a Law student or a student in Sociology or Politics or History or Anthropology for that matter). And to be doing all this alongside a community of students who come from this variety of disciplines, with different backgrounds, often different future career destinations, but who easily merge into one, when we’re out and about in London, opening up and sharing their experiences with each other; studying at University is absolutely the greater than the sum of its parts, when delivered this way.

“One of the things that really drew me to Goldsmiths was its hands-on, immersive learning experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom”, said Sophia, a Year 1 student in Law. “The Beyond the Classroom initiative has far exceeded my expectations and has enabled me to meet people throughout the various year groups of my course, and the university”, she added. “It has already shaped me to become both a stronger academic and a better, more informed, member of society. This ground-breaking initiative is leaving an impact that will remain with me long after the completion of my degree”, she concluded.

Here are some of the Beyond the Classroom highlights since the launch of the programme in April 2023.

April 2023

A visit to the world renowned Cambridge Union, to attend the Cambridge Literary Festival, for Gary Younge’s thought-provoking book talk From Nelson Mandela to Black Lives Matter. We attended with 9 students from Anthropology and Law. Meeting with Gary Younge after his talk, having copies of his book signed by him, then going off to explore picturesque Cambridge, before getting on our train back to London, were some of the highlights. Listening to Law and Anthropology students interrogate each other about their subjects was undoubtedly another.

June 2023

5 students from our Journalism, Media, Politics, Sociology and Anthropology departments joined the Law department’s annual Summer School in Athens in June, on Human Rights, Law, and Policy: Britain, Greece and the EU. All 19 Goldsmiths students were supported by generous student scholarships; widening access and participation for all is a key priority for Beyond the Classroom. Read about the summer school here.

September 2023

We were thrilled to go to the National Theatre, one of the pinnacles of cultural life in the capital and the UK more generally, to attend the explosive play The Effect, with 20 students from our Anthropology, Law, Media, Journalism, and Politics departments. To meet and chat with the lead female actress, Michele Austin, after the play was nothing short of breathtaking. Her understudy, Shereener Browne, a former barrister who has switched to theatre after a successful career at  Garden Court Chambers, and who is a very good friend of Goldsmiths, has made the introductions.

November 2023

Another pinnacle, of the world of art this time, the world-renowned Royal Academy of Arts, was our next destination. With 10 students, from PPE, Law, Anthropology and other departments in our School of Culture & Society, we attended the Architecture Dorfman Awards Prize ceremony, and were fascinated by the breadth of ideas, methodologies and practice, and their pertinence to our study of social sciences.

Ideas discussed included participatory designs (as opposed to the imposition of top down, corporate ideas); exposing patriarchal, colonialist and capitalist ideas; pursuing socio-ecological relationships and emancipatory practice; the democratisation of technical knowledge; searching for equitable ways; synchronising with what surrounds us; adopting Transhistorical approaches where different historical spaces are mixing in the same space and time; utilising the power of communication; understanding the importance of interdisciplinary practice, and doing the less. All ideas and concepts our students in Law,  Media and Social Sciences can take inspiration from and draw upon in their research and work.

Presenting on the novel design of Courts in Mexico

Taller Gabriela Carrillo presenting on innovative designs for Courts of justice in Mexico.

We were invited to attend the drinks reception after the awards ceremony, and were enthused to speak to some of the nominees and the award winner, Taller Gabriela Carrillo. They were impressed that we were attending with non-architecture students.

Next stop, the Royal Society of Arts, where we were privileged to welcome to BtC Dr Susie Alegre, international human rights lawyer and author of the influential Freedom to think book, which identifies huge concerns about the impact of technology on our freedom to think, and advances the latter as the modern extension of the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of belief.

Susie was in conversation with Prof Giannoulopoulos, exploring challenging debates in the area, ranging from behavioural micro targeting and drawing inferences from your thoughts in criminal justice to Cambridge Analytica and Brexit, social media and the future of parliamentary democracy in a technology-dominated world.

From discussing parliamentary democracy to visiting Parliament itself: BtC joined forces with the wonderful History student society in the synonymous department, in co-organising the visit to the House of Commons. Students learnt about the history of Westminster palace, and of the institutions it hosts, and have moved like MPs from the main hall in the House of Commons to the ‘Aye and no’ lobbies (where MPs vote); what can be more invigorating and thought-provoking than observing from so close, for students of Politics, International Relations and Law, or the sociologists and media students who study the political phenomena and processes from their distinctive perspectives.

Our attention switched next to war and international law, with our first ‘lunchtime get together’ session in the programme, led by  Media colleague and Airwars director, Emily Tripp, who spoke to us about the NGO’s work on forensically investigating, digitally, Iranian suicide drones in Ukraine and Israeli bombing in Gaza.

These BtC lunchtime sessions allow students and staff to get together – over coffee and a sandwich or cake – and learn about the work, career pathway and destination of leading faculty and our external partners at Goldsmiths as well as share their thoughts and aspirations for the topics in question or the paths they are wishing to follow beyond University.

December 2023

We continued through to December with our digital world theme, thinking about the sea of data surrounding us, how they are captured, processed and analysed. Algorithms. Synchronous movement. Order, disorder, the rise of AI, the fear of a dystopian and futuristic world that is beginning to emerge, now. We became alert to these mind-boggling issues by attending Synchronicity, at 180 Studios.

We then took another 180 degree turn, going from future debates to looking back, through a historic lens. Watching Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, with 20 students from across our different departments, at the stupefying BFI IMAX screen, one of the largest in Europe, then taking 60 students to the astounding Hamilton musical at the West End (a History society activity that BtC was delighted to sponsor and support), offered food for thought, much food for thought; views may have diverged quite considerably, especially about the reliability of the account offered by the former, but both events were hugely entertaining and educational experiences for all our students and staff who attended.

January 2024

Law and film and society, and immersing in a foreign culture (the French one, on this occasion) was a powerful combination! For our first 2024 event, we went to the Ciné Lumière at the iconic Institut Français, with 15 students and colleagues from across Media Studies, Art, Law and other departments, for a screening of the sublime Anatomy of a Fall socio-legal drama which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year.

Clive Stafford-Smith demonstrating to students stress positions (the “strappado”) used frequently in counter-terrorist contexts post 9-11.

January also saw the start of our Law & Policy Clinics, on Immigration Law, with Marta Minetti, and Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, with world-renowned lawyer, an anti-death penalty hero at the US, who has also done pioneering work to unearth the brutality of the Guantanamo Bay regime, Clive Stafford-Smith. These Clinics were previously accessible for Law students only, and through BtC students in other parts of the School of Culture & Society and College can now take part in them. More than 60 students, from a range of departments, have signed up with these Clinics.

January ended with an unforgettable encounter with the legendary Lady Hale, the first female President of the UK Supreme Court, aka “Spider Woman“. In conversation with Prof Carl Stychin, Lady Hale reflected on life episodes that made her who she became and offered insights on historic Supreme Court judgments. Zac, a Year 2 Law student at Goldsmiths, asked her to critique the continued pertinence of parliamentary sovereignty in the context of populist attacks upon human rights, such as in the context of the Rwanda policy, and she happily did so, expressing her faith in that bedrock principle of our constitutional system (“when it works, it works well”, and “Parliament, most of the time does not do things that are deeply irresponsible at all”, she exclaimed) while also showing some concern, from a human rights perspective, about some legislation that was recently introduced or legislation that is currently debated in Parliament).

Goldsmiths Law students Josh and Sophia with Lady Hale (from right to left)

February 2024

One of the key ambitions of BtC is to energise students from across different disciplinary areas to work together, to open up new opportunities for them, outside disciplinary boundaries, allowing for the activation of new skills and aptitudes, and building a professional ethos that will be transferable to their future careers.

The Knowing Our Rights “Storytellers” initiative that the Law department developed with EachOther, and that BtC supports, in extending its reach to students across the School of Culture & Society, makes it possible to pursue this objective. This new initiative is a ground-breaking and unique opportunity for students and staff, to produce multi-media work that addresses human rights issues in the UK. Under the Knowing Our Rights: Storytellers programme, students can pitch an idea and are given editorial support in order to see their work be published by an award winning human rights charity. This innovative programme supports individuals and groups to produce thoughtful and dynamic work that addresses and raises awareness for human rights issues in the UK, and that is published in a platform with wide reach across the UK public.

In February, we were thrilled to see the publication of several student-authored news stories under this initiative, on why the UK is facing an increase in prosecutions surrounding abortion, on the importance of public engagement in shaping sentencing policy, on whether the government can really stop homelessness by 2025, and on the financial cost of convicting people by association, including ‘innocent bystanders’.

Returning to BFI IMAX, for a glorious IMAX 70 mm screening of Oppenheimer, was another highlight in February. 13 students from Media and Law watched the Oscar nomination-studded masterpiece by Christopher Nolan. The film was as much about politics and law as it was about the science behind the creation of the nuclear bomb, and it was artistically outstanding, so it could not have been more pertinent to watch it from a social sciences and media perspective.

March 2024 and beyond

There are exciting events, trips and activities ahead of us this month and beyond. From attending a seminar on Hannah Arendt’s work, returning to the Institut Français for another screening of ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ (which is back by popular demand, as we had more than 80 students signing up to come along the first time we went) and a visit to Magic Circle law firm, Linklaters, to a cross-departmental Debating evening (supported by the Politics student society) and engagement in theatre and performance activities in order to interpret everyday events, pieces of news and legal facts, as well as identify forms of oppression and suggest modes of resistance, BtC intends to continue to open new horizons for our students and bring them together, in these unique ways.

Using the power of theatre to interpret phenomena and devise creative solutions as part of Beyond the Classroom.

Events tickets, travel expenses (where possible) and all other expenses related to Beyond the Classroom activity are paid for by the University. We want to ensure that students can join without worrying about bearing the cost, in these challenging times, and that no one is left out.

Nearly 300 students from across our various departments have attended BtC events since the launch of the programme, and we look forward to engaging many more in the months ahead, hoping that every single opportunity to join is an invaluable experience for our students.

For information on BtC and to sign up to relevant activities, email

“Trial” of Sir Nick Clegg a great success

Participants in the Nick Clegg trial

The trial of Sir Nick Clegg, held in the Council Chamber on March 18th, at the historic Deptford Town Hall “courtroom”, before a jury comprising of Year 12 students, drawn from five Lewisham secondary schools, was a great success.

Clegg was accused of two “moral” crimes, as judged by the “Young Generation”, who “must live with the mistakes made by their elders”, as highlighted by our Visiting Professor Clive Stafford Smith. Clive leads on, and has brought to Goldsmiths Law, his Generation on Trial project; Nigel Farage was found guilty for his role in bringing Brexit to the UK, in the most recent trial in the project, before the Nick Clegg trial at Goldsmiths.

“Nick Clegg” with his “defence team”

In our Clegg trial, Count 1 focused on the deputy PM’s vote for the three-fold rise in student fees after his 2010 election pledge to oppose any such move; Count 2 on whether going into Coalition with the Conservatives betrayed those who voted LibDem.

The trial was intended to challenge and educate young people on the effect that the Coalition government’s choices on student financing has on them (and Universities’ financing). Clive played the role of the judge; under his watchful eye, four Goldsmiths Law students prosecuted Clegg, and four defended him (students were in their majority in Year 1 of the LLB programme!).

Nothing less than life-changing synergies, that’s what we have the power to trigger here (that is indeed what we are determined to achieve) – Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law

Actors from the Goldsmiths TaP (Theatre & Performance) Department played the roles of witnesses, while long-term LibDem Sir Philip Colfox testified as himself. Goldsmiths film students ran the four cameras that captured the entire day, which ran from 9am to 5pm.

Prosecution team intensively preparing for the start of the trial

Our Goldsmiths Law students picked the jury, delivered opening statements, presented and examined the witnesses and vigorously argued their respective side in closing. The jury of 12 – with 5 alternates – then deliberated for over an hour, respectfully debating the issues back and forth. In the event, while leaning heavily towards conviction, the jurors respected the views of the minority and agreed that they could not agree. Clegg was therefore not convicted on either count.

Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law, said: “At Goldsmiths Law, we are advancing with great passion immersive legal education as the pinnacle of our 21st century LLB law programme. This was immersive (socio) legal education – underpinned by emotional connectedness, based on cross-disciplinary synergies and engagement with high-achieving aspirational young people in our local community – at its very best.”

Closing statement by "Nick Clegg's" defence lawyer

Closing statement by “Nick Clegg’s” defence lawyer

Dimitrios added: “I know how hard our Law students worked with Clive (and how enthusiastically Clive worked with them) to prepare for this trial, in the midst of a very busy period of lectures, assessments and other Law programme activities. I admire our students’ work ethic and watched them, with great pride, throughout the day, perform at a very high level, with real commitment, and a sense of being part of something meaningful and important (very much enjoying every moment too, in the company of their friends, the students from other departments, the local Lewisham school students, their lecturers, the public).”

Visiting Professor in Law, Clive Stafford Smith

Visiting Professor in Law, Clive Stafford Smith

“We are hugely grateful to Clive for his leadership, for immersing our students in human rights law, and rules of evidence and criminal procedure. Our students are very privileged to be learning from one of the leading lawyers of our times, one of the leading trial strategists too, as exemplified in the hundreds of death penalty cases he has done, and won, in the US”. 

Year 12 students from Lewisham schools deliberating as the jury

Year 12 students from Lewisham schools deliberating as the jury

The Department of Law is equally grateful to Sid Hughes, from Lewisham Council, who created these unique connections for us, with the following schools, whose students are participating in our Lewisham Law Challenge programme, and who enriched our trial with their participation, as an active jury, alert to the socio-political issues that were the focus of the ‘charges’ against Nick Clegg:

Christ the King Sixth Form  College  (Lewisham

Haberdashers’ Hatcham Sixth Form (Lewisham)

SFH6 ( Sydenham School and Forest Hill Sixth Forms) (Lewisham)

Prendergast School Sixth Form (Lewisham)

Thomas Tallis School Sixth Form (Greenwich)

Prof Giannoulopoulos concluded:

“This wonderful opportunity offers a first glimpse of what transformational impact we can achieve if we simply create the conditions for young people to work together: students from Law, Film and Theatre, joined by 16-18 year old students studying for a range of subjects, aspiring to go to University. Nothing less than life-changing synergies, that’s what we have the power to trigger here (that is indeed what we are determined to achieve).”

Visiting Professor Kirsty Brimelow QC appointed a recorder

Kirsty Brimelow QC teaching at Goldsmiths

Our Visiting Professor, Kirsty Brimelow QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, and former Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee, has been appointed as a Recorder, sitting on the South Eastern Circuit. We would like to express our warmest congratulations to her.

The Queen has appointed 163 Recorders on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, The Right Honourable Dominic Raab MP, and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Burnett of Maldon. See the full list of deployed Recorders here.

Kirsty has in depth practitioner expertise in criminal law and also in public law and international human rights law, with particular expertise in homicide, fraud, sexual offences, drugs and torture cases, child rights and vulnerable witness cases and the law of peaceful protest. Kirsty is bringing all this to Goldsmiths as well as leading expertise in legal practice, fact finding, mediation and diplomacy, case management, interviewing vulnerable witnesses, and an in depth experience in training lawyers, Judges, magistrates, the police and NGO workers.

Law programme gains attention at international event in Istanbul


Our Head of Law, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, has spoken at an international study event at the British Consulate in Istanbul, about the exciting educational and career development opportunities that come with studying Law in the UK, highlighting Goldsmiths LLB’s modern and innovative character; the integration of career development and experiential learning activities (such as study visits, mock trials, debating exercises, guest lectures by eminent legal professionals) into contact time in all modules of the LLB Law programme, its focus on studying law in its societal context, the dynamic team of academics and world renowned legal professionals it brings together…

Prof Giannoulopoulos spoke alongside representatives from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, who presented on the Oxbridge admission processes.

LLB Law students to visit premier global and Magic Circle firms, and Facebook’s legal department in London

The City

We are thrilled to announce a number of outstanding opportunities for our LLB Law students to go on commercial awareness visits, including to a premier global law firm, Magic Circle firms, Facebook and the American boutique law firm famous for its involvement in high-profile cases such as United States v Microsoft, Perry v Brown and Bush v Gore.

These exciting activities are delivered in the context of the Year 1 ‘Contract Law’ module, led by Dr Dagmar Myslinska, and mirror our innovative teaching approach that embeds experiential learning and career development activities into contact time in all our modules.

29 November – guest lecture by Dr Simon Witney from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Dr Witney is a Solicitor and a Special Counsel in the Private Equity, Funds/Investment Management and Business Integrity Groups at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. A prominent member of the UK and European private equity communities, he is a regular speaker and commentator on company law, corporate governance and regulatory matters. He has advised private equity clients as well as the UK Government on a wide range of fund and transactional matters, is a member of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, and a past Chair of Invest Europe’s Tax, Legal and Regulatory Committee. Dr Witney is also a Visiting Professor in Practice in the Law Department at the LSE.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier global law firm, with approximately 700 lawyers working in nine offices across three continents, including more than 120 in London. It is best known for private equity, mergers and acquisitions, financial services-related matters, white collar and regulatory defence, and top-level litigation matters (the former UK attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, works in the London office). The firm’s core clients tend to come from banking, health care, insurance, private equity and technology, and media and telecommunications industries.

7 February – study trip for a guest lecture by Jantira Raftery at Facebook’s London office in Fitzrovia.

Ms Raftery is Competition Counsel on the in-house legal team at Facebook, covering competition and antitrust matters across Europe.

Prior to joining Facebook, Ms Raftery was a senior associate in the competition group at Slaughter and May (part of the five London ‘Magic Circle’ firms). During her time at Slaughter and May, she advised companies on allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and breaches of consumer protection law, as well as on obtaining antitrust approval for major acquisitions. She previously worked in Brussels and New York at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (one of the most prestigious multinational law firms). Ms Raftery is a qualified Solicitor (England & Wales) and an Attorney (New York).

The visit will also include a tour of the legal department and of other public areas of the office.

6 March – commercial awareness visit to Linklaters LLP office in the City, for a guest lecture by Sima Ostrovsky. Ms Ostrovsky is a Managing Associate, who focuses on all aspects of competition law including merger control, cartels and advisory work in the areas of dominance, vertical and horizontal conduct. Ms Ostrovsky works with a number of high-profile clients in various industries and has been on secondment to firms in the consumer goods and payment systems sectors. She has previously worked for top law firms in South Africa and New York and is admitted to practice in both these jurisdictions. Ms Ostrovsky has also been a research clerk for the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Founded in London in 1838, Linklaters is a member of the ‘Magic Circle’ of elite London law firms, and employs 2,310 lawyers across 30 offices in 20 countries. It has expertise in a wide variety of matters, including corporate and commercial, competition, banking, business and human rights, dispute resolution, crisis management, financial regulation, projects, tax, capital markets, employment and real estate.

The Linklaters recruitment team has also offered to do a session on the Linklaters application process and the opportunities that they have for LLB students. You can also find out more information on their career opportunities here.

Our study visit will also include a tour of the client areas of the office.

13 March– commercial awareness visit to Boies, Schiller & Flexner (UK) LLP office in the City, near Fleet Street, and guest lecture by Matthew Getz. Mr Getz is a Partner whose practice focuses on government and internal investigations, white collar defence, anti-corruption due diligence, and regulatory compliance. He has represented large multinational companies and financial institutions in some of the world’s largest anti-corruption internal investigations. He has represented both individuals and corporations under investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office, U.S. Department of Justice and other regulators and prosecutors, and has successfully represented individuals challenging Interpol Red Notices and extradition. In December 2017, Mr Getz was selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission as an arbitrator for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Prior to law school, he was a financial journalist writing for leading publications in South Africa and the UK. He is qualified as a Solicitor (England & Wales) and Attorney (New York).

The study visit will also include a tour of the client areas of the office.

Boies, Schiller & Flexner is a leading boutique New York law firm, specialising in complex litigation matters, and famous for its involvement in high-profile cases (having represented the US Department of Justice in the antitrust action United States v Microsoft; Vice President Al Gore in Bush v Gore; and same-sex couples in Perry v Brown).