Pedagogies of Mapping


  • Rebecca Johnson Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria



Generations of students have engaged in the (more or less artistic) practice of doodling in the margins of their notes, and yet it is rare for law students to be given crayons and be directed to colour. In this note, I describe and reflect on the experience of using the visually based pedagogy of “mapping” as a tool for exploring the Insite case. This exercise took place at the end of the Legal Process module, after students had spent nearly two days of concentrated attention on the case and the issues raised by it. The class was divided into four groups, each of which was asked to imagine themselves as a newly formed government working group charged with the task of imagining more visionary ways of dealing with the problems of the “hard to house, hard to reach and hard to treat.” The first task was to work as a group to map out the terrain on which new solutions might be developed: to depict visually the hopes, fears, concerns, difficulties, convergences and possible strategic alliances created by drug use in the Downtown East Side (DTES).