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WLS Staff Spotlight: Dr Rebecca Munro

Our next Warwick Law School Staff Spotlight interview features Dr Rebecca Munro, Teaching Fellow, Director of Student Experience and Director of Warwick Law in the Community.

WLS staff spotlight with photo of rebecca

Can you provide a brief overview of your academic background and professional experience in the field of law?

I completed my LLB at the University of Warwick from 2012-15 and then went to Durham University to study an LLM in International Law and Governance. My LLM dissertation was on Witchcraft Accusation and Persecution and tensions between international human rights law, domestic law, and cultural practices. I enjoyed the process of researching and writing and it inspired me to apply to do a PhD. I was fortunate to get four years funding at the European University Institute in Florence where I continued to research international human rights law (while also eating lots of pizza and gelato!)

How long have you been in your role at Warwick Law School and what motivated you to pursue a career in academia?

I was an undergraduate student in the Law School at Warwick, and I have been a Teaching Fellow here for two years. I was the first person in my family to go to university so a career in academia had never really crossed my mind. However, my perspective shifted during my time as a student, thanks to the influence of lecturers and seminar tutors that I had in both Warwick and Durham. I often found myself thinking ‘I really want to do what they do’. A career in academia is great because of the independence you get to research issues that you care about. There are lots of opportunities to travel and meet interesting people through presenting research at conferences or undertaking fieldwork. I also really enjoy teaching and the thoughtful discussions I get to regularly have with students.

Could you describe your primary areas of research interest and expertise within the field of law? What inspired you to focus on these areas?

My PhD research is a study of legal mobilisation against austerity measures in Spain and the U.K. I am interested in social movements and the strategic decision-making of mobilising actors. The timing of my undergraduate degree coincided with the peak of austerity politics across Europe. There was a rise in influential social movements, such as the Occupy Movement and Indignados and I think this impacted my research interests. It influenced my perception of the law as a tool for demanding accountability and shaping policymaking, particularly in the realm of social rights. My PhD was informed by interviews with civil society in Spain and the U.K. which allowed me to incorporate their experiences and perspectives into my research (and put my Spanish language skills to the test). I was interested in what led these actors to leverage international human rights law in their mobilisation, especially considering its limited domestic purchase in both Spain and the U.K.

Are there any specific teaching methods or approaches you find most effective in engaging students?

In previous years, I taught Law, State and the Individual and Understanding Law in Context where peer teaching is the main approach. I think this is effective because teaching a concept to someone else really requires a thorough understanding of the material and is a great way to retain information and spot gaps in your own knowledge. It encourages active participation rather than passive learning and promotes collaboration amongst students.

Are there interdisciplinary connections in your work that students may find interesting or valuable?

My research is interdisciplinary and draws on social movement and legal mobilisation literature from the political sciences.

How can students reach out to you for academic advice or support outside of regular classes?

If students would like to reach out to me for support, they are welcome to pop by during my office hours on Wednesdays 10-12 in S1.01. Students can also reach out to me by e-mail if they have any questions or need support.

Are there any university committees or initiatives that you are involved in that students should be aware of?

Yes, I am Director of Student Experience so meet once a term with the Student Staff Liaison Committee. It’s a really great opportunity to provide feedback to on what is going well and how the Law School can improve your experience at Warwick.

I am also Director of Warwick Law in the Community and oversee the Strategic Social Justice Clinic (SSJC) with Emma Austin from Central England Law Centre. The SSJC is a good example of law in action in the sense that students get to work on projects that make a difference to the wider community. It is a real opportunity for students to get to grips with interesting areas of law, like social welfare and housing, and create tools that will have an impact on policymaking and individuals. I would really recommend getting involved – we will be recruiting for our term 3 project in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for that!

Thank you for completing our interview, Rebecca!

WLS Staff Spotlight Series

The WLS Staff Spotlight series has been introduced in direct response to valuable student feedback. Students emphasised the importance of gaining a clearer understanding of the specialisms of academic staff within the School. This initiative aims to enhance students' awareness about where to seek advice and support effectively.

Read more staff spotlight interviews
Fri 16 Feb 2024, 08:00 | Tags: WLS Staff Spotlight