BA LLB (Macq) SJD (Sydney)

Law and Legal Studies

Kathy Bowrey is a Professor in the School of Law, Society and Criminology at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales. Her research motivation is to empower Australian creators, researchers and Indigenous knowledge holders by providing them with a clearer picture of cultural and business possibilities as these are impacted by intellectual property rights and business practice. With a technical background as an intellectual property lawyer, her research interests map onto many areas of the social sciences and humanities including technology and innovation studies, media and communications, Australian history, arts advocacy and Indigenous knowledge rights. She also conducts research into university research culture and policy with a view to supporting open research.

Professor Bowrey has achieved global recognition as a leading interdisciplinary intellectual property legal historian and socio-legal researcher, who has made path-breaking contributions to the development of critical approaches to intellectual property research. She has pioneered legal and cultural history of media and technology, innovative in the use of archival sources. In addition, she has identified philosophical and practical problems – and suggested pathways for better protection – of First Nations’ Peoples knowledge resources and cultural heritage, as well as supported research communities through research and public policy interventions to improve public access to knowledge.

Seminal research achievements include an authoritative body of publications that re-evaluate foundational ideas in copyright : origins; author function; originality; private property; fair use; and obstacles to Indigenous recognition. Bowrey is consistently acclaimed by peers as the most original voice in the field of copyright scholarship, bar none. Her research is noteworthy for drawing scholars from diverse fields into conversation with law and vice versa, changing the questions that interdisciplinary scholars ask about intellectual property laws.

In addressing the law’s treatment of First Nations’ Peoples, Bowrey has addressed historical, doctrinal and political obstacles to recognition, exposing the discriminatory operation of Australian law in practice. Her research is uniquely informed by engagement with artists and activists. Pro-bono work includes legal advice, briefing museums, language centres and Elders Groups on reform developments and introducing parties to relevant Consultations. Facilitating Indigenous inclusion and capacity building has been an important and logical extension of her research engagement.

Australian Research Council College of Experts, 2018-2020

Co-Director, International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property, 2018-2023

Research Fellow, Museum of Applied Arts and Science 2021

Visiting Scholar, State Library of NSW, 2021

1. Jose Bellido & Kathy Bowrey, Adventures in Childhood. Intellectual Property, Imagination and the Business of Play, (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

2. Kathy Bowrey, Copyright, Creativity, Big Media & Cultural Value, (Routledge, 2021)

3. Kathy Bowrey, ‘Place and Race in Australian Copyright Law: May Gibbs’ and Albert Namatjira’s copyright’ in (eds) Peter Cane; Lisa Ford; Mark McMillan, The Cambridge Legal History of Australia, Cambridge University Press, 2022, 693-718 

4. Kathy Bowrey, ‘Racist Ideology & Hashtag activism: The Collision of Art, Brand and Law in Peter Drew’s Aussie Folk Hero, Monga Khan’ (2022) 10(1) Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity 80-103.

5. K Bowrey, I. Watson, & M. Hadley, ‘Decolonising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research’, (2022) 64(1) Australian Universities’ Review 54.