People, Plants and the Law

2022 Online Lecture Series

The People, Plants, and the Law lecture series explores the legal and lively entanglements of human and botanical worlds.

Today people engage with and relate to plants in diverse and sometimes divergent ways. Seeds—and the plants that they produce—may be receptacles of memory, sacred forms of sustenance, or sites of resistance in struggles over food sovereignty. Simultaneously, they may be repositories of gene sequences, Indigenous knowledge, bulk commodities, or key components of economic development projects and food security programs.

This lecture series explores the special role of the law in shaping these different engagements, whether in farmers’ fields, scientific laboratories, international markets, or elsewhere.

Please note that all dates and time displayed are in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).


Hamish MacDonald

Carol Ballard

Upcoming Lecture

5–6pm, 23 August 2022 AEST

Dr Jose Bellido discusses how significant the controversies concerning the copyright of plastic plants were in addressing the unstable distinction between the natural and the artificial, particularly when the subsistence of copyright was at stake.

Other lectures in the series

9–10am, 18 October 2022 AEST

Professor Daniel Kevles discusses the history of commercial plant nurseries and how the market sought to protect their investments in the creation or acquisition of novelties and how to prevent cheats from offering fraudulent plants under branded names.

Watch our previous lectures

Professor Jack Kloppenburg (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Seed companies demand that purchasers of their seed pay a royalty and respect the intellectual property rights they hold on the crop varieties they claim as their inventions.
Associate Professor Jane Anderson and Associate Professor Maui Hudson

Currently, concerns over Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Indigenous rights under the Nagoya Protocol underpin the development and application of Traditional Knowledge and Biocultural Labels/Notices.

This lecture series is a partnership between The University of Queensland, The ARC Laureate Project Harnessing Intellectual Property to Build Food Security, The ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant  Success in Nature & Agriculture, and The ARC Uniquely Australian Foods Training Centre.


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