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Photo of Dr Mathilde Pavis

Dr Mathilde Pavis

Senior Lecturer in Law

Amory B340

Mathilde joined the University of Exeter in July 2016. She holds a Licence and Maitrise in Law from the University of Rennes (France), an LLM and PhD from the University of Exeter.

Prior to joining Exeter Law School, Mathilde was a John W. Kluge Research Fellow at the US Library of Congress in Washington DC. Since then, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Victoria (Canada, 2018) and at the University of Queensland (Australia, 2019). 

Mathilde teaches a range of module including intellectual property law, contract law and French law. She is also a guest lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at King's College London. 

Mathilde’s research primarily focuses in the areas of intellectual property law (copyright, performers’ rights and trademark), cultural heritage regulation and their respective intersections with new technologies, creativity, performance and disability broadly understood. 

Mathilde received several awards for her research, including the 2012 Interleges Award and the 2015 ATRIP award for her work in company law and intellectual property respectively. 

She was the co-founder of the network New IP Lawyers (NIPL) which gathers early-career researchers and practitioners in intellectual property law.


Office hours for Term 1: 

Mondays, 16:35-17:35 and Thursdays, 13:00-14:00. I will hold my office hours on Zoom. Please book an appointment via Calendly: 


Research group links

Research interests

Dr Mathilde Pavis’s expertise centres on intellectual property, with a particular focus on copyright and performers’ rights. Mathilde's research intersects with themes of performers, cultural heritage and disability. 

She welcomes research proposals in those areas, and any topics highlighted below. 

Mathilde is an member of Centre for Science, Culture and the Law at the University of Exeter (SCuLE).


Intellectual Property and Performers

Mathilde dedicated her doctoral research to the study of performers’ legal rights in the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Australia. As part of this work, Mathilde demonstrated that professionals such as runway models or Reality TV participants are ‘performers’ in the meaning of law, despite what ordinary understandings or definitions of the word might suggest.

Building on this research, Mathilde recently led the first independent pilot study into the legal rights and economic position of voice-over performers in the context of the project ‘Fair Pay and Fair Play in the UK Voice-Over Industry’ (in collaboration with Dr Huda Tulti and Dr Joanne Pye). The project explores the impact of Uber-like platforms dedicated to the recruitment of creative professionals on their remuneration, contracts and intellectual property rights.

Her work on performers’ rights has informed subsequent research projects and a range of educational material. For example, Mathilde has contributed to the public-facing resources 'The Game is On!' directed by Pr Ronan Deazley in collaboration with CopyrightUser.Org

Recent research explores the impact of Deepfake technology on persona appropriation.  

Intellectual Property and Cultural Heritage

Mathilde’s research in intellectual property intersects with cultural heritage management and regulations. Recently, Mathilde co-authored (with Dr Andrea Wallace) a Response to the Sarr-Savoy Report supporting the repatriation of African Cultural Heritage held in France due to the country’s colonial past. The Response to the Report was submitted to the French Government in March 2019 after receiving the support of 100+ scholars as co-signees. The Response focused on the impact intellectual property rights may have on strategies of decolonisation and repatriation.

In 2019, Mathilde collaborated with the National Galleries of Scotland on the application of intellectual property rights in the acquisition and commission of ‘living works’ (i.e. works involving an element of performance). This research was carried out in the context of the project ‘IP & Living Works: Implementing Best Practice Guidelines for Collecting Performance Art and Time Based Media (in collaboration with Dr Andrea Wallace).

Mathilde co-edited a collection on the management and legal protection on contemporary intangible cultural heritage with Prof Charlotte Waelde, Dr Catherine Cummings and Dr Helena Enright in 2018 (Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage: Law and Heritage, Edward Elgar).


Intellectual Property and Disability

In 2015, Mathilde piloted a new AHRC-funded project entitled “Who owns the Art of the Insane?” as a research fellow at the US Library of Congress in Washington DC. This project investigates the socio-legal status of artists with intellectual disabilities in the American and English societies through time (1850-present).

Since then, Mathilde has been collaborating with professional art therapists, Arts & Health practitioners and art mediators to develop best practice guidelines on the management of intellectual property rights for works created in the context of care, therapy and inclusive studios. Mathilde secured a grant from the Wellcome Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Health to pilot the creation of such guidelines.

Mathilde was a research member of the AHRC-funded project “InVisible Difference: Dance, Disability and the Law” from 2013 to 2016. This project explored the ways in which the legal system broadly understood supports the work made by professional dance artists in the UK. 


Research grants and awards to date:

  • Wellcome Seed Corn Award (2018) (10,000 GBP) 
  • IAA-ESRC Business Boost Award (2018) (13,000 GBP) with Dr Andrea Wallace. 
  • TC Beirne Law School - Visiting Scholar Bursay (5,000 AUD)
  • UK-Canada Foundation (2018) (1,000 GBP)
  • Society of Legal Scholars (2017) (2,000 GBP)
  • BILETA Award (2017) (200 GBP)
  • Arts Council England Policy Report Commission (9,052 GBP) with Prof Charlotte Waelde. 
  • AHRC fellowship at the Kluge Research Center (US Library of Congress) (2015) – Project title: ‘Owning (up to) the Art of the Insane’ (5,500 GBP).
  • ATRIP Award (2015) (3,000 EUR)
  • AHRC doctoral studentship (fees and maintenance grant), grant number: AH/J006491/1 (2013) – Project title: Invisible Difference : Dance, Disability and the Law (53,139 GBP).

Research supervision

Mathilde is happy to supervise any students interested in copyright law, performers' rights (intellectual property) and cultural heritage regulations. Proposals to undertake interdisciplinary research in these areas are most welcome. 

Research students

Currently supervising: 

  • Xioachen Mu, The challenge of virtual property to the traditional legal theory and the corresponding solutions. (2nd supervisor)

Supervision to completion: 

  • Paul Kimani, Reforming Copyright Law to Encourage Creativity in Kenya: A Comparative Study of Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States. (2nd supervisor)

Modules taught

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