Building the Plane While Flying It
October 26, 2020
#8 Building the Plane While Flying It
Oct. 26, 2020
Thank you to Serena Austin, One Market Research Assistant, Melissa Weaver for graphics, and Nicole Morgan for campus promotion. Music by Scott Holmes.
Bruce Gillespie 0:03
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I’m Bruce Gillespie. This week, we hear from a colleague in the Teaching and Learning office about what it’s been like to drop all of their usual programming in March and shift their focus to preparing faculty for remote teaching. Then, we talked to a Game Design professor about a research grant she’s received to make autobiographical games with people living with an opioid addiction. And finally, we have a new installment of Pop Culture Campus in which we discussed the movie Legally Blonde with one of our Laurier Sussex Law students, who joins us all the way from Brighton, England. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Our first guest is Shirley Hall, the educational developer based at the Brantford campus, who, along with her colleagues, has been working around the clock since March to help faculty become successful at remote teaching. Here’s our conversation.
So, my first question for you is, what has it been like for you and the team at Teaching and Learning to have been working like full tilt since March, really, to get all these resources together to teach all of us about remote learning? I mean, this is not usually how you’d be spending your springs and summers. So, what’s it been like?
Shirley Hall 1:22
It’s been an interesting journey so far, Bruce, and you know, it’s wonderful to have such engaged faculty instructors, contract teaching faculty, staff, like everyone is, is really trying their very best to, you know, as the saying goes, I wish I was the one who had coined the phrase, but it’s “building the plane while flying it.” And so, that’s kind of what it’s like these, you know, it has been like for the last several months and trying very hard to put together resourcing that we can, we hope will help, and always open to conversation and dialogue around teaching and learning. Because, in fact, you know, we’ve never taught at a time of COVID before, and students haven’t been learning in the time of COVID before. So, we really are all in this together, and doing our very best to make it the best possible situation, which we know is difficult and has its challenges for sure.
Bruce Gillespie 2:19
And I think that’s the funny thing about this, right? It would be one thing, if we had just said, “Okay, we have enough time to plan for all our courses to go online in the formal traditional way.” But that is obviously not what happened in March. So, we’re in this weird space of remote learning, which is partly synchronous and asynchronous, which doesn’t seem to happen very much, or a lot of the places. So, I imagined a lot of the resources you folks had to put together we’re pulling from a really wide range of places cuz I don’t, my feeling my, my hunch is that there isn’t a lot of research about this kind of weird remote teaching that we’re doing.
Shirley Hall 2:49
Yeah, that’s absolutely true. In fact, one of the silver linings and there’s been many of COVID, has been the fact that teaching and learning centers across Canada, and quite frankly, globally, have all been collaborating with one another because we’ve all been pretty much trying to, you know, develop resources that are timely, informative, you know, filled with compassion, and empathy and help those who are normally teaching face to face in the classroom, and maybe managing and leveraging the learning management system, to now work in that asynchronous-synchronous environment, which is a strange new world for everyone. So, we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been collaborating across universities, and colleges and higher education, but also even within our own university, we are collaborating with many, many people across teaching and learning as a whole, to see that what we’re producing or offering and supporting is, is what’s needed and timely. And almost, you know, sort of just in time. Just really, just trying to make sure that that happens as quickly as possible to give people the tools that they need to keep going on, keep continuing on. Yeah.
Bruce Gillespie 4:08
And that, that’s been the amazing thing for me on the faculty side is sort of seeing what all of our supports on campus, whether it’s ICT or Teaching and Learning, how you’ve been able to sort of make it look seamless. I’m sure it hasn’t been, but on our side, it feels like a seamless kind of experience for a truly just in time solution to, “what do I need next week? What do I need two weeks from now?” Like, and then something is there. I mean, that must be that must be really hard to do on the fly.
Shirley Hall 4:32
You know, it’s really been challenging but it’s also, it’s at the heart of certainly educational development, which is nested within teaching and learning as a whole is to build community, build capacity for, you know, instructor teaching and student learning. And I think on so many levels, because it’s at the heart of what we do and love to do, it’s been, it sort of put us kind of on the stage in sort of a quick way in which we were sort of, “Wow, this is great.” But, by the same token, you know, you wish you had the time to properly work through the types of resourcing, and workshopping, and webinars and things that we normally deliver in a normal, whatever that is, you know, academic year where we have certain timing of certain events for supporting, teaching and learning and, and that just all kind of went out the window. And we had to just start, you know, putting together whatever was most urgently needed from the minute that we went to remote instruction around mid-March.
Bruce Gillespie 5:36
It’s amazing to think of everything we’ve done, and you folks have done the past six or seven months, it’s sort of mind boggling, but but as you say, it’s also really, for folks like me, who are really interested in teaching, it’s great to see these really large, like you said, centerstage discussions about teaching at the university, which doesn’t always happen, it does sometimes. But, it’s so, it’s been so invigorating to hear such a wide group of people across the university, from students, to supporters, to staff, to faculty, all talking about teaching for once, that’s doesn’t happen all, all the time like that.
Shirley Hall 6:10
That’s so true, Bruce. And, you know, it is certainly something that, at Brantford, we started a couple years back something called the Unconference, which was trying to bring people together across the Brantford campus to just have those conversations about teaching and learning at sort of specific junctures throughout the year, and everyone is so incredibly busy and dedicated and hardworking. But, we really do need to take that time to pause and reflect and have that dialogue with one another because teaching is often quite an isolated activity. And so, we like to bring together people from multiple disciplines, and multiple, you know, years of experience, and bring all together and hopefully have a bite to eat and a cup of coffee, or a cup of tea and just have those conversations to find out, wow, you know, we’re not alone. This is quite common, these kinds of things we’re experiencing, we’re in this together, and we can help one another by sharing our ideas and sharing our experiences. And knowing that almost every time we teach a course, or teach, you know, students that it’s a different set of circumstances, you know, every time because it’s a different group of people.
And so, that makes it creative and interesting. In terms of my role, and and always has been, and I’m just always amazed at how incredibly talented and resourceful the people that I support are, and they just start literally pulling rabbits out of their hat right now. And it’s never perfect, but it’s, it’s, um, you know, then we can reflect on what we’ve done. And we can take feedback from our students, we can engage in those dialogues. And really try and embrace students as partners in that teaching learning process is kind of a goal. And also looking at scholarly practices, you know, the scholarship of teaching and learning and really delving into evidence based teaching practices that have been long standing and kind of grounding ourselves in that and then saying, however, it’s 2020. So, you know, how do we take these ideas, and adapt them and be flexible and change and pivot and all of those things that we need to do during a time like this?
Bruce Gillespie 8:17
This whole period has really been such a stark reminder to me about how much, and again, this is something I’ve said for years, but I’ve really felt it and lived it this year is that, I mean, in addition to being a teacher, I am also a learner. And that’s true of all times that you know, I always there’s something for my students, I learned something new, but this year, especially, it’s really that mix of I’m teaching some stuff I know and then here’s all the stuff I’m learning as we go the technology, the classroom management and Zoom. Like, there’s, there’s just so much that we’re — and I think that’s that’s probably true for students, staff, and faculty — we’re all sort of teaching a little bit we’re also learning a bit and, and we’re all coming together in this is very similar kind of spot in many ways.
Shirley Hall 8:53
Absolutely, Bruce, it’s true. And you know, I think things like the One Market, just bringing the community together and having these conversations, providing multiple ways to connect with one another is really, really important. Because, after all learning is so, is quite social. And, you know, I think with all the technology that we have, we’re going to continue to improve and do our best to help people to learn how to leverage that. But, the truth of it is that, you know, a teacher and student relationship is always that reciprocal, and there’s some you know, something that both people can get out of it and it’s about, it is about relationship building and, and really trying to grow and build that capacity. And as you’ve said so beautifully, I’m always learning too, and I feel that, you know, it’s a wonderful arena to operate in, to be always able to learn, and stay keen and stay curious, I guess, and I think that’s a beautiful part of being at a university teaching. Even in these times when we’re finding that it has some challenges, our love of learning runs deep. And we have great passion for that. So, I think that really unites us on some level.
Bruce Gillespie 10:07
Shirley, thank you for joining us today. And thank you and your team for all the work you have been doing for us since March, because we could not be doing it without you.
Shirley Hall 10:16
Thank you so much, Bruce. It’s been a pleasure to chat with you today.
Bruce Gillespie 10:20
Our next guest is Sandra Danilovic, an assistant professor in the Game Design and Development program. She was recently awarded a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, often known as SSHRC, for a project that will see people with opioid addictions create autobiographical games as a way of sense making. But, before we get to that, I asked Sandra how she’d gone from working in documentary filmmaking and multimedia art to game design.
Sandra Danilovic 10:46
After my Bachelor of Fine Art, I started a production company, a documentary production company and I made independent documentaries. So, I think that was about 10 years or 20 years, I was a documentary filmmaker, and I was making social issue documentaries, documentaries that focus on the immigrant experience and community issues. And what happened was, I while, I was making films on my own, with my own production company, I started to segue slowly into digital media. And then I got into animation, and so then, at some point, I thought, you know, I couldn’t just stick to filmmaking alone, I found that multimedia was a much better kind of reflection of how I wanted to express my ideas. And so, slowly, but surely, I segued into digital media and then gaming through you know, I went back to school for my master’s degree at Ryerson and got a degree in media production from Ryerson, and I focused on virtual, at the time I focused on virtual world and made a documentary inside Second Life. This was in 2008, 2009, which was a machinima and company, you know, fully filmed inside Second Life and it was semi autobiographical. So, slowly, I segued into more kind of personal, semi autobiographical filmmaking, combining, you know, live action documentary footage, and you know, machinima gaming footage. So, and then slowly and surely, my PhD is from the iSchool at University of Toronto in game design. I’ve always been an artist, but you know, I’ve always found multimedia to be a much better platform for the expression of my ideas instead of one particular mold of art.
Bruce Gillespie 13:24
Well, I guess that makes sense in a lot of ways. Because, I mean, storytelling takes all these different forms, right? So, if you can see these different ways of telling stories and engaging readers, viewers, players that that makes total sense.
Sandra Danilovic 13:37
Yes, indeed. And I, I was very much into kind of visual storytelling, I always have been into combining art and narrative and visual storytelling and in the case of game, it’s procedural storytelling and environmental storytelling. So, in the case of game design, you’re telling a story through world building, and creating an environment that a player inhabits, so that’s a fascinating way to actually convey a narrative through a performance and a player’s performance.
Bruce Gillespie 14:18
So, you recently received SSHRC funding for a project called Autobiographical Game Design for Young Adults Living With Opioid Addiction. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sandra Danilovic 14:28
Of course. So, I, you know, this particular SSHRC project is, research study, is rooted essentially, in the last study that I did, which was my PhD dissertation work at University of Toronto, which essentially was a study on a group of designers with mental health issues and disabilities making games rooted in their personal experiences and their lived experiences. And so, I’ve already conducted one game jam. And, you know, wrote it up as a dissertation on this kind of creative process of making games based on lived experience. And so, I thought I would do something similar, but with a very different community. And I thought that it would be interesting to get, it would be a great thing to give back to the Brantford community and address some of the kind of acute social issues that are affecting our immediate community. And so, essentially, the project is using games, and game jams. And a game jam, if you’re not sure what I mean by a game jam, a game jam is an event where people gather individuals, artists, makers, creators come together in a space to make games over a short period of time. So, that’s what a game jam is, you come together with other people, like minded people to make games and share your skills and collaborate and essentially partake in a creative activity.
So, in this particular project, I’m using games and game jams as a tool, a sense making tool. So, in effect, inviting a non expert game makers living with opioid addiction, and or a history of opioid addiction, to harness game design, and all these, you know, diverse tools, for example, storytelling, visual design, interaction design, systems, design, prototyping. So, these kind of are diverse tools of game design, so harnessing these diverse tools in order to make sense of their lived experiences. So, it’s using game design as a kind of tool, a sense making tool, and an expressive outlet, as a way to build resilience, build community, and engender self insight.
Bruce Gillespie 17:38
I love this idea. Because I think we’ve heard before about, you know, people using some more traditional kinds of arts, so personal essays, or creative writing, or you know, painting, for instance, to sort of work through personal experiences, but I have never thought about doing that through a game. So, I just find this fascinating. The first question that pops up to me, though, is, in terms of process, do your participants need to have game design experience in order to create the games? Or, like, how does this work technically?
Sandra Danilovic 18:09
Bruce, it’s such an ambitious project, in the sense that no, they do not need to have game design experience. However, the project of study consists of two phases, two parts. The first phase is training my study participants in a variety of game design tools, including some of them were accessible tools that we can think of that are already quite versatile and easier to use, such as Twine, which is a tool for making interactive fiction and interactive narratives and other other similar more accessible tools. So, it’s training them and to design games, it’s the first phase, and then the second phase is conducting a game jam, so that they could, they could actually make the games that they would like to make. And of course, you know, that would be working with a professional, they would be, they will be, the participants will be aided by professionals to make their games and to take their, you know, to have their creative visions come to fruition, essentially through game design. So, there’s two parts.
And last time when I did the original game jams for my dissertation, that game jam was collaborating with, you know, designers with mental health and disabilities who were professional designers, so I didn’t have to teach them how to make games It was a much easier game jam to conduct because they already had the skills, the advanced skills to make games. In this particular study, it’s going a bit further, it’s expanding, going a bit further and working with non experts and training them at, in some of those tools. So, there’s an element of computational literacy, digital literacy that I would like to explore in this particular study. And, you know, how they can use these tools to tell very personal stories.
Bruce Gillespie 20:46
That’s really exciting. Now, the other thing I want to ask you about before we, before we leave is that you’ve got a couple of local collaborators. You’re working with a couple of other Laurier professors on this project.
Sandra Danilovic 20:55
Indeed, I’m so excited, Bruce, to be working with Michelle Skop, who is a professor at the Faculty of Social Work, and who has a lot of experience in the field of social work, but also expressive arts therapy. So, we’re very much in line and with a very kind of similar, we come out of very similar framework. So, you know, expressive arts therapy, disability studies, health humanities. And then I also am really honored to be working with Vanessa Oliver, who is a professor in Youth and Children’s Studies. And Vanessa has a lot of experiences while working with marginalized communities. So, I’m, I’m really so thrilled and feel very lucky to be working with these wonderful talented scholars at Laurier.
Bruce Gillespie 21:53
Well, it sounds like a really exciting project and I can’t wait to hear more about it and, and see the final outcomes when they’re ready. Thank you so much for telling them about us today, Sandra.
Sandra Danilovic 22:01
Bruce, My pleasure always.
Bruce Gillespie 22:04
Our final guest is Sabrina Brisbane, a student in the joint Laurier-Sussex Law program, who joins us all the way from Brighton, England. She’s our guest for the latest installment of Pop Culture Campus. But, before that, she tells Tarah and me what it’s been like in England during the pandemic. Hi, Sabrina, and thanks for joining us today on One Market.
Sabrina Brisbane 22:25
Hi, thank you for having me.
Bruce Gillespie 22:27
Before we start talking about Legally Blonde with Tarah, we wanted to ask you a little bit about your experience of Sussex, first of all. So, you presumably spent the summer in Canada. And I know certain points this summer we weren’t sure if even our Sussex students would be able to leave the country and then get back to England to study or not. But, you are talking to us live from England now. So, how did that happen? What’s it like over there?
Sabrina Brisbane 22:51
I actually stayed for the whole summer, so throughout the whole lockdown period I’ve been here, but so far so good. We’re doing a mixed approach. So, some lectures and seminars are in person if the room, the lecture room permits for it, so people can be socially distance, and then if not, then things will be switched online. So, right now I have a mix of in person lectures and seminars and online seminars and lectures. So, so far it’s been okay, it’s been really laid out to us really well. And the school is taking a lot of precautions to make sure we’re safe on campus. So, so far so good in regards to school, the city itself was definitely a lot quieter during the summer since you know not a lot of stores and things were open until July, but now things are you know getting back up and running. So, it looks a lot more normal now and the students are back. So, Brighton is, you know, kind of slowly getting back to its normal state.
Bruce Gillespie 24:01
Had you planned on staying there over the summer, or did you stay because of sort of pandemic related reasons
Sabrina Brisbane 24:08
Um, a bit of both, I would have wanted to stay at least one summer in Brighton whether that would have been this year or after my final year, so next summer, but then also because of the pandemic and I wasn’t too sure how long it was gonna last, if it was gonna be, you know, just a two week quarantine or longer, I wasn’t, you know, ready to go home just yet in March. So, I decided to stay but as locked down got longer flights were getting canceled. I could have went home but it would have just been more difficult. And I was honestly doing really fine here. My family you know, wasn’t too worried. I was doing fine. One of my other flatmates had stayed as well. So, we were together, so it wasn’t like totally alone. So, it was a bit of both. I definitely would have wanted to stay in Brighton for one summer at least. So, That just happened to be this summer.
Bruce Gillespie 25:02
That’s right. Am I right in thinking that Brighton is like a beachy kind of place?
Sabrina Brisbane 25:07
Yes, we do have a beach, it’s a rocky beach, but it’s still really nice and great to, like, go down there and enjoy and relax and get the nice breeze with the water and the pier is down there as well. So, it’s a really, really great scene.
Bruce Gillespie 25:23
Right, so it’s the best the best place and way to spend an English summer.
Sabrina Brisbane 25:26
Bruce Gillespie 25:28
Well, it’s nice too that you’re able to study in Brighton because this is your final year at Sussex before coming back to complete your degrees and writing your NCA test at Brantford.
Sabrina Brisbane 25:38
Bruce Gillespie 25:39
So, how’s your, how’s your final year going? I mean, obviously it’s a, it’s a weirder year than you probably expected. But, how are you feeling?
Sabrina Brisbane 25:46
So far I’m really happy with it. In our final year here at Sussex, we get to pick our courses, so you can kind of gear your courses towards what field of law you want to practice. So, it’s really great to, you know, I think most people are really excited about their classes this year. You know, if they’re in their third year, because you pick them so it’s really geared toward your taste and interest. So, I’m really enjoying my classes, so far. I’m kind of gearing myself towards the more corporate commercial field of law, so a lot of my classes are geared toward that, like company law and banking law. So, so far, I’m really enjoying it.
Bruce Gillespie 26:29
That’s great. And this means you’re in a perfect position. Having done all this legal schooling to help us talk about Legally Blonde, at which point, I’m going to turn things over to Tarah to start our Pop Culture Campus discussion.
Tarah Brookfield 26:41
Thank you, Bruce. So, I think Legally Blonde really doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s a fairly famous film. Elle Woods is the main character and she’s played by Reese Witherspoon who is a determined sorority sister who hopes to win back a shallow ex by joining him at Harvard Law. So, pop culture comparisons returns to Harvard for a second episode in a row. But, this time, we’re looking at Harvard Law. And we’re comparing it not with the Laurier Brantford campus so much, but with the Sussex Law School experience. And probably as everyone knows, Elle experiences a lot of prejudice that she gets from classmates who just can’t see past her perky, blonde, Southern California persona. But, she surprises everyone by winning a major case, graduating top of her class, and finding new love. So, we thought we’d ask Sabrina, what was it like at Sussex Law School in comparison to a film like Legally Blonde? And I wondered if we could start by talking about had you ever seen the film before? Or if you had been inspired ever by a pop culture representation of law to go to law school?
Sabrina Brisbane 27:50
So, I have seen Legally Blonde before, I really liked the movie, I think it’s, it’s funny, I think it shows pretty well like the, the experience, kind of, of being a law student. It is, it can be very stressful and hard at times. But, it also is, like, it shows that in a good way, like, Elle when she’s working on the treadmill and also, like, reading her book, it does show that, like, sometimes, you really, you know, have to put in that work at times where you maybe want to be doing something else. But, I don’t think Legally Blonde was necessarily the movie I watched that really made me want to become a lawyer. For me, I think it was more so Suits. It kind of just made, like, practicing law and studying law a bit more exciting and a bit more rewarding, I guess.
Tarah Brookfield 28:47
So, you did your first two years of university at Laurier Brantford and then moved on to Sussex and now you’re in your third year. Was there a big difference between your arts courses and your law courses?
Sabrina Brisbane 28:58
I think in my BA at Laurier, I had a lot of assignments due in each class that would kind of build up to your mark. So, maybe if you did poorly on one thing, there was other things to kind of supplement your mark and that, you know, if you did better on it would still kind of help your mark be okay. Where as, here at Sussex, I’ve had my whole second year, for all my courses, they were all 100% exam. So, everything was weighted on that one exam. So, in that sense, it did feel like a lot more pressure. Even though, like, you didn’t have all those assignments that can add up during the school year at Laurier, you didn’t have those at Sussex but throughout the school year, even in my, you know, law degree, there’s still a lot of reading and a lot of prep work you’d have to do for seminars, even though it wasn’t being marked, you still really needed to do it and doing it would help you, you know, get a better end result on your exams. So, I think the workload personally would be heavier In my law degree, even though there’s less, you know, tasks at hand per se, but I mean, of course that Laurier there is still, you know, you need to do your readings and, you know, put in put in the ground work, you know, writing essays is no easy feat when you’re doing it, you know, for five classes, but I think the workload in general is a bit higher in the law degree.
Tarah Brookfield 30:23
That’s really interesting. One common, sort of, reoccurring theme in the movie is that Harvard Law is very competitive, and students are forming cliques to study and excluding people and they’re competing for certain bonuses. Would you describe amid this culture of like focusing on this final exam, is there a sense of competition between your peers?
Sabrina Brisbane 30:43
I don’t think so. I, not here at least in the UK, I feel like that is more of like a North American thing, where people are a bit more competitive, and they don’t want to help each other. Even if it’s like a take home exam, they don’t want to discuss anything, they don’t want to help you understand a topic. It can be a little more, I guess, catty, I feel like here, people don’t necessarily really compare each other, or compare themselves to other people, or, like, “What’d you get?” and all that. I think even in lectures and stuff like that, I feel like, you know, you’ll always have the, you know, two kids that are, like, know-it-alls. But, I think in general, it’s a lot more relaxed here. And it’s not that really competitive culture, as you would maybe find in North America.
Tarah Brookfield 31:36
Hmm. It’s not something I had anticipated, being sort of a more cultural difference. Now, when you mentioned in your lectures, a lot of the film is set in the lecture halls with students listening to their professors, was that is that a similar sort of setup in your experience? And do your professors put you on the spot in the same way that Elle’s did in the film?
Sabrina Brisbane 31:59
So yes, we do have the big lecture halls, you know, where you have hundreds of students in there for lecture. In the lectures, I would say that professors, at least in the courses I’ve taken with my professors, no one, none of them have called out onto a student to answer a question in a lecture. However, in seminars where it’s like a smaller group of students, going over, you know, the course materials and stuff like that every week, I have had professors kind of call on you and be like, “Okay, Sabrina, what’s this?” or “What do you think for this?” or “What cases did you use for this?” where you kind of really need to know your stuff, make sure you did your homework because you don’t want to be the kid, you know, that has no clue what’s going on.
Tarah Brookfield 32:42
That reminds me a lot of grad school in, sort of, smaller seminars with that atmosphere where, yeah, if you’re not prepared, it’s kind of hard to hide from, from your your classmates and your instructor. Bruce, I’m wondering if you wanted to step in and share any thoughts about the representation in either the teaching or the professors in the film,
Bruce Gillespie 33:01
I sort of think back to my own experience, and in journalism school, which I think may be more similar to law school in some ways, and that you’re expected to know what’s going on and you’re expected to be on top of things. I remember professors always asking us questions off the top of our head and sort of having to be ready to explain what you’re doing or explain a process or something. So, I remember watching the film thinking, “Oh, this actually seems familiar to what we do in school all the time.”
Tarah Brookfield 33:24
Yeah. And I think what I found in common, or at least, like with our experience at Laurier Brantford, or even my own experience, as a student was the mental role that a professor could play, and so, like, the Holland Taylor character, sort of, you could see how she sort of caught a glimpse of Elle’s potential like very on in the first few weeks, and then sort of watched and then nurtured that, and became, it seemed like a support for her through multiple years. So, I thought that was a nice representation of what a professor-student relationship could be, especially in sort of a grad school environment.
Bruce Gillespie 33:56
Tarah Brookfield 33:58
Now, one of the highlights of Legally Blonde is that famous sort of courtroom scene where Elle is able to, as a law student, actually defend her client and win the case. And so, I know I imagine this is sort of complete Hollywood sort of fiction that in your first year, you would be assisting on sort of a major trial like that, but I’m just curious to know, when you were in your first year at Sussex, Sabrina, did you get any sort of experiential learning, or in your three years, have you had opportunities to step outside the classroom?
Sabrina Brisbane 34:30
Yes, there definitely are opportunities here. In your first year, you don’t, you can’t really work on any ongoing cases, to my knowledge, at least, but I’m pretty certain on that. But, you can compete in moot competitions, which are mock trials. So, it’s not live ongoing cases, but it’s still a really good experience, to learn and understand how to present arguments and, you know, formalities within the court room. So, I think that’s really good experience that you can do in your first year, in second and third-year, you can go into skills competitions, which could be like negotiations, mediations, client interviews, which are really good, you compete against other students at Sussex University. And then, if you make it far enough, you can go on to greater competitions. So, those are really good experience. I’ve done the negotiations competition, which was, like, just a great learning experience, again, like, how to present yourself how to, you know, work your argument and get to that compromise that you know, benefits your client, but also the other client and get to that, just learn that process a bit better. In third-year, you can do a clinical legal education module. So, in that, you would be working on an actual, like, live ongoing cases alongside practicing lawyers and professors. So you know, you’re not, of course, completely on your own. You’re not a lawyer yet.
Tarah Brookfield 36:02
Now, the last question we have for you is about, so again, and one of the major themes of the film is about the prejudice or the stereotypes people might have about a law student, but who, who is destined for law school. And so, I know this film is almost 20 years old, and and it’s unrealistic in it’s sort of comedic efforts. But, I’m wondering, was it for example, did you sort of experience anything, maybe as a Canadian student studying abroad, about sort of what life would be like at university as maybe an outsider, or was there anything you’d like to talk about in regard to like diversity in the law?
Sabrina Brisbane 36:35
I’ve had a very good experience, I haven’t gotten any negativity towards myself being Canadian, or being, you know, a woman, or a person of colour, at all. Being in law, I think, I think in regards to, you know, diversity within the field, I think it is a bit of a problem still, you don’t see as many, you know, women at the top in law firms, or, you know, the LGBTQ community or people of colour, you know, but I think now, you know, 20 years later from this film, the conversations are happening, and recruitment teams are more aware of the issue. So, they’re looking to make sure that they diversify, you know, their firms, which is important, because it just speaks to the culture of the firm. And when you have, you know, people from all sorts of backgrounds, it just, you can help more people effectively, because you have more input being made. And so, I think, you know, even though I personally haven’t experienced it, I think, you know, it still is, you know, an issue that, I think the, you know, law community is still working on, but I think, you know, I’m very hopeful about it, I think the first step is, you know, to, you know, talk about it and make sure that, you know, things are being done, you know? To help this summer, I did an internship with this one company that basically is striving to help, you know, the bank community and the LGBTQ community to, you know, let them know about jobs and give them that experience and get them that push to be successful, you know, in law.
So, I think, you know, struggles like that, you know, they they’re still there. But, I think, you know, in today’s world, in today’s culture, they’re starting to, you know, get better and work towards that. So, I would still encourage, you know, girls, anyone, you know, to still get involved in law and not be discouraged. I don’t think, you know, you would face today the same kind of prejudice that Elle did in the movie.
Tarah Brookfield 38:38
Well, that’s encouraging. Thank you so much, Sabrina, for sharing this really enlightening discussion about what life is like at Sussex, for our Brantford listeners. And hopefully one day when you come back for your last year, we’ll be able to run into you face to face on campus and be able to say “hi,” and thank you in person for coming on One Market.
Sabrina Brisbane 38:58
No problem. It’s been a great experience. I’m very happy to be a part of the podcast.
Bruce Gillespie 39:06
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope it’s helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode? Sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @onemarketlb. We’ll be back with a new episode in two weeks. One Market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield, music by Scott Holmes, graphics by Melissa Weaver. Our research assistant and intern is Serena Austin. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.