Pracademia: a personal account of a mediation clinic and its development

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This article tells the story of University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic through the
eyes of its founder. Taking its first case in 2012, by the start of 2021 it will be providing a free mediation service in 16 of Scotland’s 39 sheriff courts,1 covering more than half the country's population. Yet it started with no plan, no budget and little theory. Writing in the first person, the author makes the case that mediation clinics, like mediation itself, call for improvisation. While mediators may plan and train, learning frameworks for action and a body of expert knowledge, they must then encounter complex, fallible people and the unpredictable dynamics of conflict. Responding well is arguably more important than reparation.
And so it has been with the mediation clinic. The clinic was triggered by student
demand and was shaped by its volunteers; it adapted to law clinic gatekeepers and negotiated with university administration; and it reinvented itself through contact with the courts, with hundreds of clients and, most recently, with a pandemic. Each interaction has shaped it. Strathclyde Mediation Clinic is a work in progress, as it must be if it is to fulfil the hope of pracademia: bringing the academy into the world and the world into the academy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalNederlands-Vlaams tijdschrift voor Mediation en conflictmanagement
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2021


  • mediation clinic
  • students
  • practicing
  • circle of engagement


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