Seminar: Rainbow Family Law

by | 10 Mar 2021

Continuing our seminar series in conjunction with the Warwick Centre for Critical Legal Studies, we are excited to have a paper from Sara Ramshaw of  University of Victoria Faculty of Law, Canada. Her research explores arts-based approaches to law and legal pedagogy and she is particularly interested in the relationship between improvised artistic practices and justice.

Sara introduces her paper: Throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, and whether we agree with it or not, family law is becoming increasingly digitised in contemporary society. It is thus timely and necessary to undertake a careful investigation of the current and potential use of Digital Family Law and to develop a critical framework for examining the role that listening algorithms may play in resolving family disputes to ensure that what is dispensed by machine ‘judges’ approximates something like justice. Focusing on improvising trombonist, composer, and computer/installation artist George E. Lewis’ Rainbow Family (1984) – “a groundbreaking work that employs proto-machine-listening software to analyze an improviser’s performance in real time, while simultaneously generating both complex responses to the musician’s playing and independent behavior arising from the program’s internal processes” – this research video provides a brief overview of the key issues surrounding the digitisation of family law and the reasons why (machine) listening as improvisation might offer some hope for the future of Family Justice.


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