The many facets of community engagement will be examined using the law as a lens during a panel presentation at the Osgoode Research Celebration Wednesday, April 4.
Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation, and Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, are co-hosting the event, which takes place from 12 to 2pm in Room 1014, Ignat Kaneff Building, Osgoode Hall Law School, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend the free celebration, but an RSVP is requested. You can RSVP online or call Lia Cavaliere at ext. 33782. Light refreshments will be provided.
The panel features Osgoode Hall Law Professors Trevor Farrow, Giuseppina D’Agostino, Dayna Scott and Stepan Wood. Each professor will deliver a short presentation on the panel theme “Celebrating Community Engagement”.
Farrow will discuss the dilemma faced by low income Canadians who find themselves unable to access the justice system. His presentation will discuss the various research initiatives that are designed to look at the complex problems associated with accessing justice and access to legal services, as well as the related problem of not providing meaningful access to legal services in today’s complex and pluralistic societies.
Many low income Canadians find themselves unable to access the justice system, says Farrow. Courtrooms are filled with litigants who struggle to navigate the complex demands of law and procedure – often without representation by counsel. Early and effective resolution is central to avoiding the clustering and escalation of legal problems. However, Farrow posits, a lack of knowledge about how to seek help, coupled with a pervasive sense of powerlessness, limits meaningful action for those who need it most. The most advanced justice system in the world is a failure if it does not ultimately assist in providing justice to the people it is meant to serve, he says. A number of stakeholders have a direct or indirect connection to the issue of access to legal services, including the bench, the bar, the academy, governments, NGOs, the private sector and the public.
Speaking in her capacity as founder and director of IP Osgoode, Osgoode Hall Law School’s flagship Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Program, D’Agostino will outline three initiatives she spearheaded through IP Osgoode, along with their promises and challenges, to assist the University in playing a more active role in the complex IP and technology research communities in Canada and around the world.
She will discuss the IP & Technology Intensive Program piloted in the Fall of 2011, which provides students with on-site research opportunities in government, industry and expert organizations in IP and technology; the Ontario Centres of Excellence and IP Osgoode Innovation Clinic, a needs-based innovation-to-market legal clinic staffed by volunteer law students piloted in 2011-2012; and the first blog of its kind, the IPilogue, promoting evidence-based research and showcasing new and unexplored viewpoints to public policy discussions.
Engaged scholarship implies a different set of relationships and expectations as between a community and a university researcher. For legal scholars, these can be even more complicated dynamics. In this short presentation, Scott will share some of the tensions encountered in a four-year research partnership with the Health and Environment Community of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The project explored questions of environmental justice stemming from the Band’s experience of chronic pollution emanating from Sarnia’s nearby Chemical Valley. Scott and the research team employed participatory action research techniques and arts-based methods such as PhotoVoice, to learn from and with community members, including youth.
Wood will focus on the challenges and opportunities surrounding community-engaged research in relation to various research projects affiliated with York’s Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS). His presentation will look at research on local community empowerment in water governance in developing world megacities, community members’ perceptions of international corporate social responsibility standards in Colombia and Canada, and University-community collaboration on sustainable furniture design for the new Centre for Green Change in the Jane-Finch community.
Following the presentations, visitors will have an opportunity to engage with the panelists. Osgoode Hall’s research celebration is part of an ongoing series of events that highlight interesting and innovative research underway at York University. For more information on each of the presenters and other research underway at the law school, visit the Osgoode Faculty-Research website.