UCL Faculty of Laws


New glossary developed in UCL hackathon to help the creative sector know its rights

A new glossary, developed during a UCL Art Futures hackathon, is set to make it much easier for the creative industries to understand their legal rights.

People are painting on canvases taped on a wall.

60 students from 18 departments across UCL came together with academics and industry partners to develop the glossary during a one-day hackathon. The event was co-hosted by UCL Art Futures and Simmons & Simmons law firm and took place at their London offices.

The resource includes not only definitions of legal terms, but also their specific relevance and application to the creative tech sector.

The project was led by academics from UCL Art Futures, a collaboration between the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL Innovation & Enterprise and UCL Faculty of Laws.

“We wanted to create a glossary that was authoritative and accessible, providing those who are new to the creative sector with useful and practical support when operating in today’s fast-paced environment,” explains Dr Anna Donovan, Lecturer at UCL Laws and cofounder of UCL Art Futures.

“That meant going one step further than just creating a set of standard legal definitions. Drawing on UCL’s multidisciplinary way of working, the glossary entries were developed during a one-day hackathon. Using this kind of event meant we were able to bring together students from different disciplines, pool ideas and get people working in a much more creative and collaborative way.

“By sharing a user story with participants, which was brought to life in a short video, the hackathon teams were able to really examine each glossary entry from a creative practitioner’s perspective. In addition, the multidisciplinary nature of the teams meant that students were able consider the implications of any term holistically. For example, how an artist could protect themselves if there was an unauthorised use of their work.”

The glossary will be available for anyone to access for free on the UCL Art Futures website. The team have also produced a toolkit and guide for running hackathons, so others can organise their own, similar events.

“The hackathon model is a brilliant way of encouraging people from a diverse range of disciplines to come together to think differently about how we understand, and solve, complex problems,” says Anna.

“We are actively committed to supporting multidisciplinary and collaborative experiences,” says Erika Pagano, Head of Legal Innovation and Design at Simmons & Simmons. “Partnering with UCL Art Futures enables us to live this commitment by applying legal design while broadening students’ skillsets and mindsets in an engaging, inclusive way that fosters creativity and improves the everyday experience of law.”

UCL Art Futures brings together UCL academics and the creative industries to create new partnerships, business opportunities and research. The glossary is just one of the resources they’re developing to help artists create, protect and share their work.

Find out more

Image credit: © UCL Digital Media 2019