Dr Harriet Deacon


Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Data Science AI and Modelling Centre (DAIM)


  • BA (University of Cape Town)
  • PhD / DPhil (University of Cambridge)
  • MSc (Queen Mary University of London)


Harriet Deacon has had research experience in a range of different fields, including intellectual property law, medical history, stigma and discrimination, tangible and intangible heritage. She has worked at a museum, an archives advocacy NGO and as a policy consultant and researcher. She was involved in several research projects exploring the role of intangible heritage in sustainable development in India and Kyrgyzstan ( and northern Europe (LIVIND). Since 2010, she has been a consultant to UNESCO under the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention, working on major projects including global capacity building, periodic reporting and economic aspects of heritage safeguarding. She has also consulted to WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division, including on the Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Local Communities 2022-2023. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of Cape Town (1989), a PhD in History (Cambridge, 1994) and a MSc in Management of Intellectual Property (QMUL, 2016).

Research interests

AI ethics

Heritage studies

History of science and medicine

Intellectual Property law