The WG Hart Workshop has been an important part of the annual calendar of events at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies since its launch in 1981. This year, the Workshop returned to an in person format at Charles Clore House on 9th-10th June 2022. The topic, Responding to the Crises: Law, Alternative Economies and Activism, was particularly timely and prescient.
This year’s Academic Directors, Adam Gearey, Kojo Koram and Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck, University of London), and Donatella Alessandrini (University of Kent), assembled an outstandingly imaginative and inspiring programme over the two day workshop. This was one of the Institute’s first significant in-person events since COVID and it also was one of the occasions which marked the 75th anniversary of IALS.
The Workshop was dedicated to informed, cross-disciplinary thinking that sees the university as serving broader communities of thought, rights activism and critical/ creative endeavour. Four streams captured the overarching theme of ‘no more business as usual’: Re-Working Law’s Political Economy; Alternative Politics, Alternative Norms; News from Everywhere; and The Point is to Change It.
The opening plenary session focused on Racial Capitalism and the Post-War Consensus, featuring Kojo Koram (Birkbeck), Diamond Ashiagbor (Kent), and Dalia Gebrial (LSE). The focus of the second plenary, ‘Where Law Ends and Creative Resistance Begins’, was delivered by creative artist and academic, Toni Lester (Babson College). The final plenary featured poetry by Oscar Guardiola Rivera (Birbeck) and music by Carolina Alonso Bejarano (Warwick), aka ‘Rataprincess’. Panel sessions on a range of topics centred the relationship between law and political economy. This included papers on women’s rights, environmental justice, international economic law, reproductive justice, asylum, indigenous rights, decolonisation, and radical lawyering. The diversity of topics, methods and political commitments ensured that this event proved to be a remarkable return of the Hart Workshop to Charles Clore House.