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Launch of UAL’s first online Intellectual Property (IP) education module

Main image © Illustration by Lizzie Reid (Instagram: @Lizzies_Lines

Use Careers and Employability’s new online tool to improve your knowledge of IP and encourage your students to lead from the front in an ever more interconnected world.

Roxanne Peters, Creative and Cultural IP Rights Specialist at UAL, reflects on the creation of the module and the need for more IP awareness in the creative sector.

We, the UAL community, adjusted rapidly to new ways to connect and share digitally in 2020, whilst we continued to support all areas of creative process and practice – exchanging ideas, creating new work, planning final showcases and building relationships with industry. We strive to ensure that our students and graduates feel confident when negotiating job opportunities, working on collaborative initiatives or starting a business from the ground up.

Working in ever more interdisciplinary, international and interconnected ways, it’s vital that creatives understand the important role intellectual property (IP) can play in ensuring that their voices are heard, their skills are respected and their contribution to society is fairly recognised.

IP rights are international legal rights that protect the financial and reputational interests of creative and innovative practice. This includes copyright, trademarks, patents, design rights and trade secrets. They can be commercial assets and/or shared freely to collaborate, build communities and encourage knowledge exchange.

To date, IP has been taught mainly to law and business students.  However it has not been positioned in an active role within a creative, practice-led space that encourages critical thinking and human-centred approaches for real-world scenarios.

I started at UAL almost 3 years ago, landing safe in the arms of UAL’s Careers and Employability Team, who support creatives to imagine their future selves making a living doing what they love. Being solely responsible for IP education for all UAL creatives, it’s been a steep learning curve about how to dance around the curriculum when IP education is relevant and valuable to almost every project and initiative.

Having worked closely with colleagues, students and graduates, I was keen to create a resource that could be made widely available. It was important that it should be relatable, accessible and inclusive.

A space to reflect and reimagine IP

From idea to industry: valuing your creative rights is an e-learning resource designed with and for creatives. Developed during the first UK lockdown Mar-June 2020, it represents collective thinking and shared practice. It helps students recognise their creative agency and encourages consideration of IP to inform healthy communication, connections and collaborations. It offers a space for self-reflection on how to make decisions that are right for both the individual(s) and those they work with.

Screenshot from the UAL online IP education module, (c) Roxanne Peters, all rights reserved

This non-linear module mirrors the flow of creative practice, encouraging students to position themselves as IP owners, as well as respecting the rights of others, and taking responsibility for the ethical dimensions of their work.

Blending IP legal principles with peer experiences and industry voices, the module is designed so that students can access any of the 5 sections – creating, protecting, managing, using and sharing, in a way that works for them. It is an introduction to IP and is designed to help creatives make informed decisions rather than tackle the nuances of legal and creative differences.

Screen shot of the module titled: What IP means to you
Screenshot from the UAL online IP education module, (c) Roxanne Peters, all rights reserved

Increase your IP knowledge

Whilst the module is intended primarily for students, I have always worked with colleagues to look at how to best give IP education context and relevance to industry-specific cases. I am keen that this module serves as the basis for a grounding in IP education and would encourage colleagues to explore the content.

As a member of staff you will benefit from:

  • Increasing your awareness and understanding of IP within creative enterprise and practice.
  • Supporting your students and encouraging IP thinking at all stages of their UAL experiences and onwards into professional practice.
  • Developing IP education as part of your curriculum design.

Access the module on Academic Support Online using your UAL staff login details. Students and staff can email ipenquiries@arts.ac.uk with any questions or enquiries.

Want to connect to learn more about how to use this module at the right time for you and your students? Or do you have feedback about the tool? Get in touch via ipenquiries@arts.ac.uk.


Headshot of Roxanne Peters

Roxanne Peters is a creative rights specialist with over 15 years experience; working internationally at the intersection of IP, creative education, enterprise and cultural heritage; working with creatives to develop IP strategies for innovative and sustainable business practice. Specialising in copyright law and related rights in digital culture.

Areas of interest include the ethical and moral implications of technology for creatives, fashion futures and socially responsive design.

Connect with Roxanne on Linkedin.

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