The ILCR and ‘Talking Law’

Blog written by Dr Will Evestalkinglaw

In February 2016 the ILCR received an AHRC 10th Anniversary Public Engagement Grant for a project entitled ‘Talking Law’. The aim was to unite scholars and legal professionals with members of public in a discussion about the role of law in our society.

This goal was achieved through a dramatisation of the trial of Patrick Hamilton, who was tried and executed for heresy in St Andrews in 1528, followed by a public debate about the legal issues raised by the trial which are still relevant today.

talkinglaw2The sell-out event took place at the Byre theatre in St Andrews on 6 May 2016. Hamilton’s trial was re-enacted by student actors, and a panel comprising a judge, a barrister and a retired assistant chief constable then discussed the issues which resonated with their own experience of the legal profession. Questions were then invited from an audience of both academic and non-academic attendees and matters such as freedom of speech and the impact of the death penalty on society were discussed.

A companion website has been created which contains background information, guides to further reading, virtual reconstructions of the key locations involved in the trial, quizzes and other interactive material. The project also received national media coverage through a feature on the BBC News website. A pitch for a follow-up radio series, bringing the ‘Talking Law’ format to a wider audience, is currently being developed.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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