A new frontier: The Creative Arts and Law project
“All aspects of society are effected by law therefore we encourage interdisciplinary cooperation,” explains one of the most popular lecturers at the North-West University (NWU), René Koraan. That is why the Faculty of Law, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education, launched the Creative Arts and Law project.
The project is a creative collaboration between the students from the jurisprudence and ethics class (JURI 423) and the third-year art students (ARTD 321 and LAAE 221) from the Faculty of Education.
In 2017 the theme of the project was ‘Leadership in a diverse society’. Law students were briefed on the theme where after they were required to express their vision of what it means to ‘live their leadership in a diverse society as a lawyer or art educator’. Students were introduced to their counterparts at the Faculty of Education with whom they would be working and then had to bring a picture or a sketch to class that represent how they see themselves as lawyers.
This entails some introspection from the students about what it means to be a leader in their field in a manner that is further than the boundaries of their office or self. They also have to consider who they want to be as leaders in a world that could do with better leadership.
Students from the Faculty of Law were split into groups of four or five and assigned to an art student with whom they had to participate in the project. The art student assigned to each group of law students was the team leader. Law students were expected to share their views and understanding of the complexities and challenges faced by individuals within diverse societies such as South Africa. A formal written assessment component for law students also formed part of this.
“I think the project also plays a very important role in creating social justice awareness which is immensely important to the faculty,” says René.
At the end of the assignment the individual work done by the law students was compiled into one group portfolio and submitted as one document in hard copy and put on display at an exhibition in bound format.
“It is wonderful to see how much the students enjoy themselves through artistic expression. I always say that magic happens when the two groups meet. Once they buy into the project it ignites a flame that really does burn bright,” says René.
She will now be heading the project after taking over the reins from Rolien Roos who spearheaded the project since 2014.