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Encouraging interdisciplinary and intercultural collaboration and exploring how insights from other disciplines and diverse cultures can enrich legal scholarship and education

Dr Catherine Ordway, University of Canberra


Background and interdisciplinary context:

Catherine has a Bachelor of Arts (Jurisprudence), majoring in English Literature, and Bachelor of Laws (LLB), from the University of Adelaide. Catherine completed her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of South Australia. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Catherine was conferred her Sports Management PhD, “Protecting Sports Integrity: Sport corruption risk management strategies” from the University of Canberra in 2019. Catherine is now Associate Professor (Sports Management) and Sport Integrity Research Lead at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport & Exercise (UC-RISE) and sits in the Discipline of Sport & Exercise Science in the Faculty of Health at UC.

This presentation promotes the idea that law academics evaluating legislative, governance and policy reform should embrace the idea of including the voices of the people both doing the change work and the lived experience of the changes. We recommend that scholars consider including more voices, reflection, and lived experiences in their work.

Recent examples, where technique has been used and explained are as follows:

Re: lawyer Moya Dodd’s gender equality reform of FIFA’s statutes

This chapter provides an insider’s view through Moya Dodd, one of the first women on FIFA's Executive Committee. During the corruption crisis of 2015, she submitted reform proposals and gave voice to the broader community of support for gender reforms in FIFA. We showed the power of including lived experience through autoethnographic and reflective writing practice in formal evaluations of policy change for women in sport. Additionally, we encourage more practitioners to include creative writing practice to give voice to those driving change and highlight the process by which progress towards gender equality was, and can be, achieved.

* Ordway, C., & Symons, K. (2023). It doesn't happen by magic: creatively exploring the process of changemaking in sport through Moya Dodd and FIFA, in Intersections of Sport and Society in Creative Writing, Springer, ed by Lee McGowan and Kasey Symons, pp.177-196 (eBook ISBN 978-981-99-5585-5; Print ISBN 978-981-99-5584-8),

Re: editing the textbook Restoring trust in sport: corruption cases and solutions, published by Routledge in 2021

As editor, I brought together legal practitioners and academics to describe the lived experience of policy change within a theoretical framework. The process of sourcing and managing divergent coauthors and topics from different perspectives will be described. Many chapter authors were practitioners and not academics, although the intention was to encourage collaboration wher-ever possible. The process was quite involved to produce a coherent narrative at the standard required for an academic text.

The chapters which will be highlighted are: 8. Whistleblowing platforms as a solution to fight corruption: a model from the Czech Republic by Apolena Ondráčková and Pim Verschuuren


10.The fight against corruption in Vietnamese Football: A Closer Look at Typical Corruption Cases, Causes and Possible Solutions by Thimydung Nguyen and Simon Gardiner

Chapter 8 features the successful collaboration between Apolena and Pim. Apolena was the lawyer working with Transparency International in the Czech Republic to implement the new Whistleblowing model designed to restore trust following the major ice hockey scandal. Pim was an early career researcher who had recently completed his PhD into Whistleblowing platforms in sport.

In Chapter 10, MyDung is a sports lawyer and football disciplinary tribunal member who deals with match-fixing cases regularly across Asia, including in Vietnam. I teamed her up with Professor of International Sports Law, Simon Gardiner, to review the challenges and solutions for fixing in football. This approach takes inspiration from the “transdisciplinarity” approach advocated by Marjolaine Viret: “where the emphasis is on policy-oriented work that involves practitioners and stakeholders of the community in the process (as opposed to academic experts only)” (2019, p3). Viret looked at applying interdisciplinary tools to improve anti-doping efforts (Viret, 2019), while Restoring Trust more comprehensively situated doping within a broader framework of sports corruption. This presentation proposes to promote the benefits and some of the challenges for legal academics working collaboratively across disciplines and cultures.

The aim of Restoring Trust was to find best practice examples from around the world that different sports and nations could learn from. Ambitiously, people who hadn’t written together before were brought together to capture the excellent work being done that was not otherwise being presented in regular conference programs. As editor, Ordway sourced, reviewed and edited 14 book chapters contributed to by 24 authors from 10 countries, including (co)authoring 5 chapters herself. It is hoped that this book demonstrates the benefits of transdisciplinary perspectives and ideas from around the world, drawing on lessons from industries beyond sport.

Featuring thirteen women and eleven men, the contributing authors from across the globe wrote about sports as diverse as biathlon, sumo, rugby league, horse racing, road cycling, golf, tennis, ice hockey and, of course, the world game, football. These sports are represented in case studies from eight countries: South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Nigeria, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. This is through the eyes of five professions: lawyers (11 of the 24 authors; practitioners and/or academics), sports administrators, journalists, policymakers, and law enforcement officers working together with academic scholars from nine broad disciplines: law ofcourse, but also business, criminology, economics, ethics, political science, psychology, sociology and sports management. Truly inter-disciplinary with a world view!

It has certainly not without its challenges to bring authors with different languages, writing styles and theoretical frameworks together. It was personally rewarding to learn so much from each of the contributors. It is hoped that the goal orientated approach of writing word-limited chapters gave the contributing authors the opportunity to both ‘introspectively’ consider the “positions and implicit biases” of their own disciplines, and to ‘integrate’ a new, melded understanding into practical, and ideally, unique, solutions (Viret 2019 p4-5). This research has translated into both teaching and thought leadership through media and commentary which has been enormously beneficial.