Partnership and Participation: Copyright and Informed Consent

‘Partnership and Participation: Copyright and Informed Consent’ is funded as a ‘follow on’ project linked to the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Museums and Galleries Research Programme. The project researchers are Rhiannon Mason (PI) (International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University), Nigel Nayling (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales, Trinity St David) and Helen Graham (International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University). In developing the project, researchers are working closely with staff from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Newport City Museum and Heritage Service.

Overview of the project:
The Museums and Galleries Research Programme has enabled new knowledges to emerge precisely through collaborations between museum, libraries and archives, academic researchers and the public. With such models of working a range of questions relating to intellectual property, copyright and informed consent have emerged. These issues are core to both enabling collaborative research across institutions and community groups and need to be approached in a way which will actively enable (rather than constrain) the possibilities for arts and humanities research to realise its potential in contributing to ‘perceptions and visions for the future’ and perceptions and visions of community and society (AHRC Care for the Future Theme; AHRC Connecting Communities Theme).

Aims:
The aim of this project is to scope out the issues relating to intellectual property, copyright and informed consent. It will do this by:

• Drawing together insights generated by projects funded under the AHRC Museums and Galleries Research Programme;

• Soliciting contributions by experts in the areas of IP law, research ethics, museum accessioning, participative research and working with vulnerable adults

• Drawing on the views and experiences of members of the public involved in our projects.

• Contributing to the scoping of the Care for the Future and Connecting Communities themes in terms of partnership working and the ethics of informed consent in community participation.

Research Questions:

• What are the current issues relating to intellectual property for research institutions? How might these issues relate differently in differently disciplines? Are there specific issues which are more or less relevant for arts and humanities research?

• What issues relating to intellectual property emerge through collaborations between academic researchers and museums, libraries and archives? Are there any specific differences between approaches to research ethics and those required for display and accessioning (e.g. anonymity, difference between a present and future-orientated ethics – see below for explanation)?

• What are the ethical issues which emerge through participative and collaborative research with the public? How might these issues differ in the context of museum work (e.g. needs of collecting versus display practices)?

• What is informed consent and how can it best be supported? How is consent built over time and throughout the project? What is the effect of paper work, such as consent forms? How can consent forms be used alongside other methods of supporting informed consent (visual, active, materialised)?

• How do research ethics relate to other policy and legal issues (safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, Mental Capacity Act 2005)? Are there insights from best practice in other areas (digital media, social work, community work, youth work, medicine or psychology) which might be drawn into arts and humanities research and museum practice

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