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Sara Bannerman

Sara Bannerman

Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance

Tier 2: 2016-05-01


Department of Communications Studies and Multimedia Profile | Sara Bannerman

Research involves

Analyzing and critically examining the policies and institutions governing the ownership, funding, and control of communication.

Research relevance

This research contributes to crucial debates about the future of intellectual property, cultural funding, networked creativity, and other topics in communications policy and governance. 

Examining the History and Future of Intellectual Property Issues

The rise of digital media has dramatically altered the global political landscape. Sara Bannerman is examining how this new environment is reshaping the future of international copyright, cultural funding, and communications policy and governance. Her work on intellectual property and international copyright has traced the history and future trajectories of copyright in Canada and on a global scale. 

While most copyright research is focused on powerful countries, Bannerman’s work highlights the roles of emerging countries, non-governmental organizations, and indigenous peoples in the history and future of international copyright. Instead of focusing on ownership, she focuses on users’ rights in the education, news reporting, scientific and translation contexts.

A specialist in communications studies, Bannerman is ideally positioned to undertake this challenge. She is the author of two books, International Copyright and Access to Knowledge (CUP, 2016) and The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 (UBC, 2013).  Bannerman’s work contributes to a deep understanding of the political stakes and divisions raised by copyright policy both nationally and internationally. 

Bannerman notes that cultural policies are increasingly governed not only by powerful states but also through networks, and she explores this by examining online crowdfunding and other networked models of authorship and participation as tools for reshaping creativity and cultural production.

Bannerman’s research on intellectual property issues will provide greater insight into the stakes involved – for creators and other users – in the new politics, new forms of authorship, new forms of labor, and new forms of governance that new technologies and globalization raise.