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Centre for Law and the Humanities

The Centre for Law and the Humanities builds on the Law School’s research strengths in the area of law and the humanities including law and aesthetics; law and literature; law and psychoanalysis; critical legal theory; legal history; law and film; and law, space and architecture.

The Centre facilitates and promotes research in law and the humanities within the School and College through the organisation of seminars, workshops, conferences and visits by distinguished scholars.

Current Artist in residence: Tings Chak. Previous Artists in Residence are listed here.

About Tings Chak

  • Tings Chak is a Hong Kong-born and Toronto-raised activist and artist, who holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. Her work draws inspiration from and contributes to the migrant justice and internationalist working class struggles she is and has been a part of. Her graphic novel, Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention (2017), explores the role of architecture in the control of migrant bodies and the politics of visual representation. She is currently based between Johannesburg and São Paulo, contributing to popular political education projects and crafting designs towards a socialist future.  Her website is and she can be found on Instagram @thingswithouttheh


  • To be advised


  • 20 June 2017 Workshop on Performance as Methodology. Explored the potential of theatrical performance as methodology for research in and engagement with archives.
  • 15 June 2017 Roundtable with “Expert Witnesses”. Panel engaging with select materials from the Bhawal court case archive.
  • 8 June 2017 Rehearsing the Witness:Zuleikha Chaudhari in conversation with Nida Ghouse and Başak Ertür, introducing her project on the Bhawal Court Case.
  • 11 June 2015 Illicit Images Workshop with Professor Katherine Biber (UTS Sydney and Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck). In collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
  • 28 April 2015 The Philosophy of Friendship seminar with Professor Gregg Lambert (Syracuse University)
  • 20 March 2015 Workshop on Law and the Humanities: A Cross-Disciplinary Exchange (jointly organised with the Centre for Humanistic Legal Studies, University of Bergen)
  • 2 July 2014 Deconstruction is/in Law. This event brought together Derridian legal scholars and theorists for renewed reflection on the enduring legacy of deconstruction for the study of law. Co-hosted with The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
  • 22 October 2103 Thinking the Posthuman
  • 22 November 2013 The Murder of Stephen Lawrence Film screening and discussion with Yvette Vanson
  • 28 November 2013 Stitching up the NHS screening and discussion with Yvette Vanson
  • 6 December 2013 Roundtable on Hans Lindal's Faultlines of Globalisation


  • The activities of the Centre for Law and the Humanities are overseen by its directors  Dr Başak Ertür, Professor Patrick Hanafin and Dr Stewart Motha and a small steering committee. The Advisory Board includes members of faculty from other disciplines at Birkbeck as well as internationally renowned scholars in the field of law and the humanities.

Steering Committee

  • Bill Bowring
  • Peter Fitzpatrick
  • Adam Gearey
  • Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
  • Piyel Haldar
  • Elena Loizidou
  • Nathan Moore

International Advisory Board

  • Joseph Brooker (English, Birkbeck)
  • Marianne Constable (Rhetoric, UC Berkeley)
  • Jodi Dean (Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
  • William MacNeil (Griffith Law School, Griffith University)
  • Linda Meyer (Quinnipiac Law School)
  • Paul Passavant (Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Ravit Reichman (English, Brown University)
  • Peter Rush (Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne)
  • Susan Sage Heinzelman (English, University of Texas at Austin)
  • Austin Sarat (Political Science and Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College)
  • Alison Young (Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne)
  • Ari Hirvonen (Law, University of Helsinki)