The Pop-Up Museum of Legal Objects project: an experiment in ‘socio-legal design’
This article explores the strategies underlying the Pop-Up Museum of Legal Objects, a project based on two collaborative events in which design-based practices were deployed to further socio-legal research. Like other endeavours focusing on legal objects, the Pop-Up project produced a collection of object-based commentaries of diverse geographical, historical and material origins – from Australia to Canada to Egypt, 1200 BCE to the present day, bark to gold to plastic. What renders the Pop-Up project distinctive among interventions in the ever-deepening legal object landscape is, first, that it aims not only to generate new knowledge about objects and about law, but also to transform research behaviours; and, second, that it pursues those aims by adopting design-based practices and experimental attitude. The paper sets out the specific roles played by model-making in each event and the experience design underpinning the project as a whole. Participant feedback collected during and after the events is used to widen the perspective throughout. The article concludes with an indication of how such model-making might extend beyond the museum into fieldwork, using an example from the author’s own practice around an ox-hide copper ingot from Cyprus.