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How our creatives are transforming futures through the lens of intellectual property

Naive paintings by Micah Brown, Alys Tomlinson
  • Written byRoxanne Peters, IP Education Specialist
  • Published date 25 April 2023
Naive paintings by Micah Brown, Alys Tomlinson
Naive paintings by Micah Brown, Alys Tomlinson

Following a recent session on intellectual property (IP) and ethics, a student shared their biggest takeaway:

‘acknowledging the importance of understanding your values and aligning them within your practice’.

This recognition of how essential an individual’s motivations are to the development of their creative identity, and in turn why creative IP rights matter, is central to how UAL’s IP Education team work and connect with UAL’s wider community.

On World Intellectual Property Day, we want to highlight our work. Our new collection of IP videos showcases recent graduates and represents the UAL community

How we support and guide 

Our small team (one full-time, two part-time) are responsive to people’s lived experiences and ambitions. We centre IP education around the intention and potential impact of student and graduate aspirations. This helps to build self-confidence in a notoriously complex space. We come from a position of care and compassion. What matters most is that our creatives feel ready for the uncertainties and opportunities of real-life scenarios.

Lockdown presented an opportunity to build relationships with students and graduates online. We support individuals who need specialist support, a sounding board and often a little reassurance. We are not lawyers but good listeners who help others learn about themselves and what matters to them. What we learn helps inform our own practice and ensures that we remain inclusive and open.

We are here to guide in areas such as ownership, crediting and protecting work. This complements the self-led learning of the IP resource we have created. The queries we get are wide-ranging. From innovative ideas for regenerative fashion, how to negotiate rates, and how to keep work confidential, to concerns around using online sourced content ethically.

To help current students and wider creative communities understand some of these common questions, we spoke to our graduates. We let them share their experiences and ways of thinking. Some are a result of those we connected with via one-to-ones, and others are those we meet along the way.

What our graduates have to say and share 

Our IP videos reflect the UAL community collaborating in its truest sense - an interconnected web of shared interests and passions. Behind the camera, Roxanne Peters, IP Education Specialist leads from a position of centring IP. as a vital part of conversations and considerations of both profit-driven and social purpose initiatives. Eleanor Rockett, IP Educator and LCF Lecturer is UAL alum, graduating with an MA in Fashion Design Management (2019), LLB in Law from Plymouth (2018) and is driven by her entrepreneurial vision. Together with filmmaker Gareth Johnson, an LCC alum in MA Documetary Film, they made the graduates feel at ease, combining inclusive questions with some skilled editing.

Each participant has their own story to tell, and their own vision to share. They share a motivation for social impact to create sustainable futures. Lizzie Reid is an illustrator, campaign consultant and workshop facilitator. She centres her practice on creating self-reflective spaces for discovery. Emily Taylor and Alice Simpson are a duo whose friendship drives their flourishing business. They create sustainable dyes for the fashion industry. Kae Katz and Cassie Quinn are both motivated to lead within their respective areas. They create innovative, regenerative and sustainable processes of fashion production and systems. Abbie Chapman draws on lived experiences to break down accessibility barriers in society. Whilst ceramicist Sara Howard strives to lead by example. She publishes her processes under creative commons licences to encourage community-driven circular ceramics production.

Gareth reflected on his experience working behind the lens with the graduates and the IP Education team:

“As a UAL graduate myself I enjoyed working on these films and I am a firm believer that creative education has a vital part to play in a world where we face many challenges that require fresh ideas and ways of doing things.

What came across to me was that it is not so much about building a wall around your ideas and innovations as establishing porous boundaries that create a structure that allows for the free exchange of ideas and expertise between the various people and organisations who are required to bring an idea into the world. Words such as ‘protection’ are a part of this mix but equally important are transparency, communication and collaboration.

Working with people who have different areas of expertise is clearly going to be an important part of this as is evidenced by all the graduates we worked with on these films. This is also something that I feel we achieved in making these short films. We all brought different skills and experiences to the production, communicated clearly with each other and offered support to each other where necessary which made it a very productive, enjoyable and satisfying experience.”

You can watch the IP videos playlist on YouTube, and we encourage you to use it in your teaching.

You can find out more about IP at UAL and access the self-guided IP module on our information page.