Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I am Vania Brino and at Ca' Foscari I teach courses in Labour Law, Welfare Law, and International Labour Law. I coordinate the Professional Master’s Programme in Labour Law and Social Security and I am the scientific director of the Professional Master’s Programme in Global Economics and Social Affairs.
Labour law as it evolves globally is one of my favourite areas of study because of the implications of globalisation and digital transformation on employment conditions and labour protection around the world. I like to think about the processes in progress to create a global labour law that can guarantee to every worker in the world decent working conditions and respect for their fundamental social rights.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Business and Economics at Ca’ Foscari, and after a brief experience in a banking institution I decided to go back to books, my true passion, to take a PhD in European and Comparative Labour Law at the University of Ferrara. After completing my PhD, I worked as a research fellow, as a researcher and as an adjunct professor at Ca' Foscari, where I am currently a full professor.
What are you most passionate about in your field of research?
As I always tell my students at the beginning of every course, labour law is a complicated and stratified regulatory framework, certainly not easy to investigate, but at the same time extremely fascinating and challenging. It is a subject with a deep-rooted, composite matrix of reference values: work can be understood as a fundamental driver of social and economic development in any society. In this sense, labour law has a multi-faceted nature, as it speaks the language of women and men who find in work the means to earn a living but also to achieve personal fulfilment and self-affirmation.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
Studying has always been an essential part of my life, and with it the desire to discover and get to the root of issues, but I have never really planned my destiny. Life is full of surprises and I am certainly grateful for the career I have here at Ca' Foscari. I remember the first Departmental Council meeting as a Researcher as if it were yesterday and that mix of fear, curiosity and satisfaction for the goal I had achieved.
I am proud to be teaching in the classrooms where I was educated and to be sitting next to authoritative colleagues, who were my professors during my university years and who shared their thirst for knowledge and understanding with me and my fellow students.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
I believe that teaching and researching are a great privilege.
Research leads you to explore new territories. It pushes you further in the constant need to find answers, to investigate the meaning of legal rules, their ability to solve problems despite the complexity of our time, their being a synthesis of composite mindsets that sometimes collide with one another and in this sense create new interpretative and regulatory challenges for scholars.
And then there is teaching. This is a precious opportunity for many reasons, but above all for the possibility of being part of students' education, of being there when they are laying the foundations of their future. I believe that teachers should enter the classroom with the aim of conveying, besides the knowledge of their specific subject area, a tendency towards critical, reasoned, curious and aware thinking. And then, quoting Seneca, 'The process is mutual; for while we teach, we learn.