The Pop-Up Museum of Legal Objects Project: An Experiment in 'Sociolegal Design'
68:2 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly Special Issue on the Pop Up Museum of Legal Objects 225-44, 2017
18 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018 Last revised: 8 May 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2017
This article explores the strategies underlying the Pop-Up Museum of Legal Objects, a project based on two collaborative events in which design-based practices were deployed to further sociolegal research. Like other endeavors focusing on legal objects, the Pop-Up project produced a collection of object-based commentaries of diverse geographical, historical and material origins — from Australia to Canada to Egypt, 1200 BCE to the present day, bark to gold to plastic. What renders the Pop-Up project distinctive among interventions in the ever-deepening legal object landscape is first, that it aims not only to generate new knowledge about objects and about law, but also to transform research behaviors; and second, that it pursues those aims by adopting design-based practices, and experimental attitude. The paper sets out the specific roles played by model-making in each event, and the experience design underpinning the project as a whole. Participant feedback collected during and after the events is used to widen the perspective throughout. The article concludes with an indication of how such model-making might extend beyond the museum into fieldwork, using an example from the author’s own practice around an ox-hide copper ingot from Cyprus.
Keywords: Museums, Legal Materiality, Law and Design, Legal Object
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