Mediation Clinic Conference Success

The UK’s first mediation clinic conference, Learning by Doing, was hosted by Strathclyde’s own clinic on Saturday 6th February.  120 people attended the online event, with log-ins from India, Lebanon, Kenya, Georgia and Ireland.  Keynote speakers were Carrie Menkel-Meadow, one of the founders of the mediation field, and Charlie Irvine, Director of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic.

Prof Menkel-Meadow’s highly personal address described how her experience as a legal aid litigator provided the motivation for starting one of the USA’s first mediation clinics (at UCLA in the 1980s).  She also made the surprising disclosure that Zoom’s classic breakout rooms feature was suggested by a Californian mediator. 

Charlie explained that the clinical education of mediators found a natural home at the Place of Useful Learning, tapping into a long tradition of bringing the academy into society and society into the academy – ‘pracademia.’  Another highlight was an interview with Margaret Mitchell MSP, former convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, about her proposed Mediation (Scotland) Bill. 

The conference made the most of Zoom technology, using breakout rooms to emulate the networking and chat of face-to-face conferences.  Workshops were led by leading researchers, clinic founders, a referring sheriff and mediation practitioners.  Feedback has been highly positive and confirms Strathclyde’s position as a leader in the field of conflict resolution. 

Head of School, Prof Claire McDiarmid, added:

The Mediation Clinic at Strathclyde goes from strength to strength and this conference highlights the seamless way in which it merges theoretical approaches with the intensely practical resolution of real-life disputes.  Professor Menkel-Meadow is pre-eminent in the area and we are delighted that she was able to deliver a keynote address here.