Dr Harriet Deacon


Faculty and Department

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


  • 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

Charity role

Member and Special Adviser on Intangible Cultural Heritage for the UK Heritage Crafts Association


Heritage Crafts is the national charity for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, we provide a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and work towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future. We are a UNESCO accredited NGO for Intangible Cultural Heritage and advocated for UK ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention of the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was announced by the UK Government in December 2023.


Advisory Board member of ICH North

2023 - 2025

The Steering Group of ICH North is an external group of experts, functioning as an independent Advisory Board for the Project Working Group and represent Sweden, Norway, Finland and Sápmi as well as different fields of expertise. The Steering Group will have two meetings with the Project Working Group every year during the project, for assessing the planned actions and results as well as advise the Project Working Group ICH North is a project funded by Interreg Aurora, with co-financing by Region Västernorrland, Troms og Finnmarks fylkeskommune, Nordisk Kulturfond and Lapin Liitto as well as the project partners: Centria University of Applied Sciences, Kulturens Bildningsverksamhet, KulturÖsterbotten, Novia University of Applied Sciences, The Arctic University of Norway UiT, the Finnish Folk Music Institute and Västernorrlands Museum. The project was planned as a part of an Interreg Nord-funded project, also called ICH North. ICH North will promote cross-border cooperation related to musical ICH (intangible cultural heritage) in northern Europe (the Aurora area), building bridges between institutions, educational institutions and heritage communities. The project will develop new joint innovative services and products in cultural and creative industries, including digitization and digital innovations. The project is community-based in accordance with the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) and will use co-creation between communities and institutions with a bottom-up approach.

Associate member, All Party Parliamentary Group on Craft, United Kingdom


The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Craft was set up in October 2018 to enhance the understanding and promotion of craft in the UK and to ensure that craft skills are supported and passed on to future generations. The aim is for the APPG for Craft to encompass as many aspects of craft as possible so the parliamentarians hear about the success and the challenges, and for the crafts to work together with members on the APPG for Craft to provide solutions to some of the problems.