A Canadian-Croatian visual artist; a lawyer and community advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities; a general counsel to a First Nation community; a lawyer who has served on several high-profile commissions of inquiry; and a law firm partner who has acted on numerous precedent-setting cases will be among the exciting and eclectic mix of distinguished visiting faculty at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School during the 2013-2014 academic year.
“Each of these visitors will spend time at Osgoode providing mentorship to students and helping to advance Osgoode’s commitment to putting law into action,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin in announcing the five appointments.
Visual artist Cindy Blažević will be Osgoode’s inaugural Artist in Residence. She will work with a group of Osgoode students to obtain access to Kingston Penitentiary on the eve of its closing, scheduled to happen in April 2014, in order to photograph its interior spaces emptied of prisoners. The visual narrative of the photographs will be accompanied by a legal narrative comprised of the perspectives of those whose lives are intertwined with the prison, such as judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers, prison officials and former inmates.
“The Artist in Residence program brings together artistic creativity with the exploration of justice and the law,” said Sossin, adding that Blažević has been awarded project grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to cover the technical and logistical costs of the Osgoode Artist in Residence project.
Her residency at Osgoode will be used to research and create the legal and historical context for the artwork. “Ms. Blažević has proposed designing a course around this project and collaborating with students to devise and then to conduct the interviews with the key participants in the prison system,” said Sossin.
In addition, Sossin announced that David Lepofsky (LLB ’79), a lawyer and community advocate; Jeffery Hewitt (LLB ’96), general counsel to Chippewas of Rama First Nation; Ronda Bessner, a former senior legal analyst at five public inquiries; and Mark Freiman, a partner with Lerners LLP and former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario, will be the McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellows for 2013-2014.
“The McMurtry Fellows will help connect our students with broader practice networks, insights and expertise, and build bridges between the Law School and the community to ensure greater integration of legal theory and legal practice,” Sossin said.
The McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellows program, which began in 2012 with visitors Raj Anand, Joe Arvay and Fay Faraday, honours Osgoode alumnus R. Roy McMurtry (LLB ‘58, LLD ‘91), former Attorney General and Chief Justice of Ontario and current Chancellor of York University.
The McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellows, who were chosen by a selection committee composed of Osgoode faculty, student and staff representatives, will receive an office, administrative support and a stipend while in residence at Osgoode. The McMurtry Fellows may also teach and get involved with Osgoode’s mooting and lawyering programs, participate in research projects, deliver public and faculty lectures, and assist with institutional projects in their areas of expertise and interest.
For biographies of the 2013-2014 McMurtry Fellows, click here.
For more on Blaževiæ’s past projects, click here.