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Transforming Traditional Knowledge through Academic Research: Issues and Rights in Co-creations

Date Published: 2004

Full Reference:

Bannister, K., 2004. "Transforming Traditional Knowledge through Academic Research: Issues and Rights in Co-creations." Paper presented at the Creator's Rights Alliance Conference Old Ways, New Paths: Ethical and Legal Issues in the Transformation of Traditional Knowledge through Indigenous Cultural Expression. Montreal, June 3-5.


The theme of this conference is about issues in transforming traditional knowledge through artistic expressions, such as problems with copyright law in protecting Indigenous art and traditional practices, and how contemporary Indigenous artists may feel caught between western legal systems and customary norms. This paper is from the perspective of a non-Indigenous academic researcher, rather than an Indigenous artist. However, if one views research itself as a type of creative process, there may be some similar issues and useful parallels to consider between academic research that involves traditional knowledge, and artistic creations that use traditional knowledge or employ traditional practices. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the research process (like the artistic creative process) transforms the "traditional" into a new creation that has both traditional and contemporary elements, and to explore the question of who has rights – and who ought to have rights – to the "co-creation" that results.

Page last updated: 09/28/2009