Towards inclusive and sustainable protection of traditional cultural expressions

Workshop Friday 8 June 2018

Protection of indigenous heritage and intangible resources, such as their traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), is one of the latest frontiers of indigenous peoples’ struggle for their rights and resources. Indigenous peoples have become increasingly vocal on the international stage, challenging existing legal frameworks and understandings. The topic gives rise to questions of copyright, cultural heritage and human rights law and various key challenges, two of which include: 1) the challenges of ‘new’ subject matter and actors vis-à-vis existing legal frameworks, and 2) the challenges that indigenous peoples face in participation and representation in matters that affect them at the international level, i.e. how can structures where law is made at international level be more inclusive for indigenous peoples?

On the occasion of the PhD defence of Kelly Breemen on the topic of protection of traditional cultural expressions (title: ‘Legal Shape-shifting. On the protection of traditional cultural expressions and crossing the boundaries between copyright, cultural heritage and human rights law’), the Institute for Information Law hosts a workshop on Friday 8 June, focusing on these two challenges regarding TCE protection that the PhD research has identified. They are discussed in more depth together with experts from the different legal areas, as well as from a humanities and cultural heritage background. Interested scholars, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, activists, students and others are cordially invited to attend.

This workshop is sponsored by de Vereniging voor Intellectuele Eigendom (VIE) / the Dutch Group of the AIPPI (l’Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle).

Institute for Information Law, Roeterseilandcampus (Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, Amsterdam), building A, 5th floor.

Please register attendance via: (registration is free of charge).


10.30-11.00 – Welcome+coffee
11.00-11.10 – Introduction Kelly Breemen
11.15-12.40 – Panel and discussion: An intellectual property perspective to the challenges regarding TCE protection. (Moderator: Mireille van Eechoud)

  • Daniel Gervais (Professor of Information Law, Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam; Milton R Underwood Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University Law School)
    • International Intellectual Property Law-making and Participation of Indigenous Peoples: How, What, Where – or: at all?
  • Bernt Hugenholtz (Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam)
    • Protecting Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Does an Intellectual Property Approach Make Any Sense?
  • Martin Fredriksson (Associate professor and Marie Curie fellow at the department for Culture and Social Change (Tema Q), Linköping University)
    • Between Intellectual and Cultural Property: Reflections on the Decolonization of Authorship, Common Heritage and Traditional Cultural Expression.

12.45-13.25 – Lunch
13.30-14.55 – Panel and discussion: A cultural heritage and human rights perspective to the challenges regarding TCE protection. (Moderator: Tarlach McGonagle)

  • Anna Meijknecht (Universitair docent, Department of International and European Law, Tilburg University)
  • Yvonne Donders (Professor International Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, University of Amsterdam)
    • Protection and Promotion of Cultural Heritage and Human Rights Through International Treaties: Two Worlds of Difference?
  • Amy Strecker (Assistant Professor in Heritage & Governance at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University)
    •  Intangible Cultural Heritage, Customary Practices Relating to Access, and Binary Dichotomies in International (Cultural Heritage) Law.

14.55-15.05 – Closing remarks Kelly Breemen