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Dr Kim Barker

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Professional biography

Dr Kim Barker is a Senior Lecturer in law at the Open University Law School, specialising in internet law (including online violence against women) and intellectual property law (copyright, and digital content). Before joining the OU Law School, Dr Barker taught held academic positions at the University of Stirling, University of Wolverhampton, and University of Birmingham. She has a range of experience of delivering non-standard modules and degree programmes in the home nations of the UK as well as internationally, and has delivered modules internationally to students in Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Russia. She holds a PhD in Intellectual Property, Internet Regulation and Contract Law from Aberystwyth University.

Dr Barker has won a number of awards including: 

  • Zero Tolerance Write to End Violence Against Women Public Recognition Award 2020. 
  • Best Research Leader, Winner, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, University of Stirling Research Culture Awards 2020.
  • Women Staff Member of the Year, Winner, University of Stirling Students Union 2020
  • First 100 Years Inspirational Women Awards Finalist – ‘Champion of the Year 2019’.

Research interests

Dr Barker's research interests focus on regulation of online multi-user environments, particularly social media and online games. Her areas of expertise include social media regulation, online abuse, particularly online misogyny and online violence against women, intellectual property law (copyright, digital copyright & online content creation), and aspects of online contractual regulation. Kim's interests lie in control of content and regulation of multi-user online environments including online gaming, and social media in particular. Kim is interested in the intersection between user responsibility, platform provider responsibility and legal regulations. Her current research projects focus on the legal and regulatory challenges posed by internet trolling, and gender-based abuses in online environments, nuanced areas of copyright and media responsibility, cultural transduction, and comics and the law. Dr Barker's research (with Dr Olga Jurasz) explores a number of aspects of online, text-based abuse, including consideration of online misogyny as a hate crime as well as legal regulation of online abuse. Her book 'Online misogyny as a hate crime: a challenge for (legal) regulation?' (authored with Dr Olga Jurasz) which addresses some of these themes was published by Routledge in 2019. Kim has published research in these areas and presented her research regionally, nationally and internationally, in conferences as well as thorough key note addresses. Her research has been funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, and British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA).

Kim is happy to supervise and discuss potential PhD projects in any of her areas of interest, but especially:

  • Internet Law / Regulation / Social Media
  • Online violence against women
  • Online misogyny
  • Online games / MMORPGs
  • Copyright
  • Digital Copyright
  • Digital Media Uses & Abuses
  • Law & Society
  • Gender & The Law

Kim is also a member of the Executive Committee of the British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association (BILETA).

Teaching interests

  • Internet Law 
  • Internet Regulation
  • Law & Society
  • Gender & The Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Contract Law

Impact and engagement

Dr Barker has contributed to a number of consultations in her areas of research and expertise. Through her involvement with BILETA, Kim has been responsible for authoring consultation responses relating to copyright reform, Internet regulation, and the proposed Digital Services Act. In addition, through her research relating to online misogyny, and online violence against women, Dr Barker has contributed to a number of expert evidence submissions to the national and devolved governments, Select Committees of the UK Parliament, Independent Commissions in Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and governments further afield, including Australia. Dr Barker's expertise has contributed to submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the One Scotland Consultation on Amending Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland, the Australian Government's Online Safety Charter Consultation, and Women & Equalities Committee. These evidence contributions have led to Dr Barker's research being cited by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee in its Report on Sexual Harassment of Women and Girls in Public Spaces. Moreover, Dr Barker's research has been referenced by the Welsh Assembly, including by Leanne Wood AM ((First Minister's questions, Online Abuse of Women in Public Life (27 March 2019)). Through her expertise, and engagement with policy / law reform, Dr Barker has participated in meetings with members of the Scottish Cabinet in respect of misogyny, and hate crime reform. In March 2019, Kim was invited by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to speak at the UN Commission on the Status of Women event in New York, where her remarks focussed upon her research on online violence against women, online regulation of social media in respect of online violence, and a wide-ranging discussions concerning protecting women politicians from online violence. This was followed by a further invitation to discuss issues concerning online violence against women, and social media responsibility for such online abuse at the Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) in Valencia in April 2019. Dr Barker has also delivered invitational keynote addresses on behalf of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of South Korea (2019) online hate speech and the Women's Development Institute of the Government of the Republic of South Korea (2018) on social media regulation, and online gendered abuse. Dr Barker has been quoted widely in media and press articles on issues relating to her areas of research, and expertise, particularly in respect of intellectual property issues and internet regulation of online spaces, online games, and virtual worlds, but also in relation to her leading expertise on online misogyny, and online violence against women. Kim has been quoted in WIRED News on issues relating to copyright in online games, in Medium, on issues concerning criminality in virtual worlds, in The Times on issues concerning online misogyny and the Sunday Times about the online abuse of women


Editorial (2020-04-30)
Barker, Kim
European Journal of Law & Technology, 11(1)

Online violence against women as an obstacle to gender equality: a critical view from Europe (2020)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
European Equality Law Review, 2020(1) (pp. 47-60)

Privacy as Public Good – A Comparative Assessment of the Challenge for CoronApps in Latin America (2020)
Barker, Kim; Uribe-Jongbloed, Enrique and Scholz, Tobias
Journal of Law, Technology & Trust, 1(1) (pp. 1-24)

Online Misogyny: A Challenge for Digital Feminism? (2019)
Jurasz, Olga and Barker, Kim
Journal of International Affairs, 72(2) (pp. 95-113)

Online Misogyny, Hate Speech & Scotland: Two Steps Forward & One Step Back? (2018)
Barker, Kim
Gender Studies and Policy Review, 11, Article 105(2)

Virtual spaces and virtual layers – governing the ungovernable? (2016)
Barker, Kim
Information & Communications Technology Law, 25(1) (pp. 62-70)

Online Games and IP – Battle of the forms to Social Norms: Reconceptualising and Re-layering? (2013-10)
Barker, Kim
SCRIPTed, 10(3) (pp. 320-338)

Authorship in Virtual Worlds: Author's Death to Rights Revival? (2013-09-16)
Roncallo-Dow, Sergio; Uribe-Jongbloed, Enrique; Barker, Kim and Scholz, Tobias
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 6(3)

MMORPGing – The Legalities of Game Play (2012)
Barker, Kim
European Journal of Law & Technology, 3(1)

Online Misogyny as Hate Crime: A Challenge for Legal Regulation? (2018-12-17)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
ISBN : 9781138590373 | Publisher : Routledge

R v Nimmo & Sorley (2014) (2018-12-27)
Barker, Kim
In: Rackley, Erika and Auchmuty, Rosemary eds. Women's Legal Landmarks: Celebrating 100 Years of Women & the Law in the UK and Ireland (pp. 605-610)
ISBN : 9781782259794 | Publisher : Hart | Published : Oxford

From hybrid to cybrid? The formation and regulation of online ‘hybrid’ identities (2018)
Barker, Kim and Baghdady, Christina
In: Lemay-Hébert, Nicolas and Freedman, Rosa eds. Hybridity: Law, Culture and Development (pp. 218-234)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Holy Blurring of Core Copyright Principles, Batmobile! (2015)
Barker, Kim
In: Giddens, Thomas ed. Graphic Justice: Intersections of Law and Comics (pp. 19-35)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Gender, human rights and cybercrime: are virtual worlds really that different? (2014-06-01)
Jurasz, Olga and Barker, Kim
In: Asimow, Michael; Brown, Kathryn and Papke, David Ray eds. Law and Popular Culture: International Perspectives (pp. 79-100)
ISBN : 978-1-4438-5810-6 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars Publishing | Published : Newcastle upon Tyne

MMORPGing, Law and Lingo (2013-02-21)
Barker, Kim
In: Freeman, Michael and Smith, Fiona eds. Law and Language: Current Legal Issues. Current Legal Issues (pp. 417-433)
ISBN : 9780199673667 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Scottish Parliament Justice Committee Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill Call for Views – Response (2020-06)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Olga Jurasz & Kim Barker

Northern Ireland Independent Review of Hate Crime Consultation Response (2020) (2020-03)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Committee on the Administration of Justice

Response to the Online Safety Reform Legislation Consultation (2020)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Stirling Law School & The Open University Law School

Online Harms White Paper Consultation Response (2019-06)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Striling Law School & The Open University Law School

Written Submission of Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry on Democracy, free speech and freedom of association. (2019-05-15)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
UK Parliament

Submission of Evidence to Online Safety Charter Consultation Paper (2019-03)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Australian Government

Expert Response to One Scotland Consultation on Amending Scottish Hate Crime Legislation (2019)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Scottish Parliament

Written Submission of Evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into sexual harassment of women and girls in public spaces (2018-03-05)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Stirling Law School & Open University Law School

Online Violence Against Women: The Limits & Possibilities of Law (2018-01)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Stirling Law School & Open University Law School

Submission of Evidence on Online Violence Against Women to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Dr Dubravka Šimonović (2017-11)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
United Nations

Submission of Evidence to Scottish Government Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation (Bracadale Review) (2017-11)
Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga
Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland