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NTFS Winner 2010 - Gary Watt

Professor Gary Watt

Job title: Professor of Law
Organisation: Warwick Law School, University of Warwick
Email: G Watt


National teaching Fellow 2010

Gary studied law at New College, Oxford, and qualified as a solicitor, but knew early on that his real passion was to teach. In 1993, he became a full time law teacher at Nottingham Trent University, before moving to the University of Warwick in 1999

In his first post, he introduced a mooting (mock trial) exercise into the undergraduate law degree which culminated in the writing and performance of a trial script and since moving to the University of Warwick he has developed the use of scripts and creative writing in teaching and assessment and has explored the potential for dramatic “props” to act as teaching tools. He introduces physical movement into his teaching as a conscious counter to the law’s traditional concern for status and stability. His module on law and literature, which is partly assessed by creative writing, includes an interactive campus walk in which everyday objects such as streams and bricks and trees are probed for their potential to act as metaphors for law and justice.

Gary also brings interdisciplinary perspectives and practices into his core subjects of property law and trusts. His most recent textbook on the law of trusts brings this supposedly dry legal subject to life with quotes from literary and dramatic sources as diverse as the Sherlock Holmes stories and the film Lethal Weapon II. Gary was honoured to be named the UK “Law Teacher of the Year” 2009.

Tracey Varnava, Associate Director of the Higher Education Academy’s UK Centre for Legal Education, observed that Gary “inspires the students to enjoy their legal studies and to think beyond the ‘law in the books’ to the central importance of law in all our lives.” His students echo the sentiment: “His ability to inspire is amazing”; “I knew that even though it would be challenging, really technically difficult, that it would still be fun”.

Gary’s other teaching includes sessions on rhetoric with drama students at the Royal Shakespeare Company and numerous contributions to widening participation initiatives at the University of Warwick.

G Watt