This month at the Social Scholar seminar we will be joined by Dr Judith Townend who will be looking at social media and legal concerns. For full details check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend.

Title: Legally navigating academic blogging and social media

Speaker: Dr Judith Townend (SAS)
Time: Wednesday 29 April 2015, 1pm-2pm
Location: Room 246 (Senate House)

As per  usual we asked our speaker if they would answer a few questions for us.


Could you tell us about yourself?

I’m director of the Centre for Law and Information Policy at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; I joined the IALS/SAS in October 2014, and the Centre officially launched in February 2015 with an academic workshop and public lecture.

What are your views on the use of social media in academia and higher education?

I’m a great advocate of using social media to enhance academic work: at a research stage (for developing ideas, gathering data), as well as for sharing results and output with fellow scholars, practitioners with relevant interests, students and the wider public. Proponents of ‘open’ journalism have long recognised that sharing the journalistic process as well as the product can yield rich social rewards; this approach can be adopted in academia as well.

 What can we expect from you at the Social Scholar?

While social media tools are fantastically liberating for academic communication, users need to be aware of the legal and ethical context. Those trained in journalism or law will probably be aware of the most important media and communication-related laws, but my research suggests there are many bloggers and social media users who are uncertain about the boundaries of legitimate speech. What’s more, the complexity of UK media law (and high cost of resolving a civil dispute) makes it an uncertain environment for even the most experienced and legally astute. My contribution to the Social Scholar series will discuss the main legal issues for academic bloggers and social media users, point towards useful guides, and offer some thoughts on how legal resources and systems might be improved.

Judith Townend has also talked about communicating law and information policy for one of the public engagement case studies already posted on this blog (see here). To find out more about the seminar check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend. The seminar is FREE and open to all.