Mika Schröder, PhD Researcher at the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG)

PhD student Mika Schröder joined the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance in 2017. Since then, she has been offered several exciting opportunities to work on projects beyond, yet related to, her own research. These have provided her with significant space for professional development, such as better understanding of the linkages between social, political and legal spheres (helping her better grasp and position her own research within the field), not to mention bringing her into contact with new colleagues across disciplines. Mika recalls her experience as follows:

“Two particular experiences come to mind. The first is through my contribution to the BENELEX project, led by SCELG co-director Professor Elisa Morgera. My work for the project began while studying for my LLM on a part-time basis, initially contributing to social media pages, later publishing blog-posts as my own knowledge of the topic grew and development alongside my studies and other professional interests. I have since been brought on as a research assistant for a multidisciplinary study with Dr. Louisa Parks, exploring the discourses within the CBD provisions on the participation of local stakeholders. This has resulted in two working papers (one forthcoming), two blog posts (here and here) and we are currently working on a journal article for publication and preparing a Conference presentation in Brno for October. My ongoing work within the project has helped me gain significant insight into the process of academic work, and offered me an opportunity to development intellectual and professional skills within the field of socio-legal research.

The other opportunity arose through the work of my primary supervisor, Dr. Saskia Vermeylen, in her launching of the Institute of Uncanny Justness together with Dr. Dylan McGarry at Rhodes University in South Africa. For this, I contributed and aided in the facilitation of a 5-day workshop that brought together academics and practitioners across disciplines (anthropology, law, linguistics, education, arts and cultural heritage) and San community members from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The process was structured around enabling a community of practice, including field trips, social sculpture, nature walks, storytelling and joint cooking, all which facilitated deeper thinking, together, on the role of law/lore in the protection and enabling of indigenous peoples’ access to land and natural resources. As an early career researcher this was certainly a formative experience; the community that emerged, and the discussions had therein will continue to inspire and motivate my own work for years to come.”