Circolo Gianicolense

Museums as actors in cultural heritage security, and refugees trafficking antiquities - this and more at the first Circolo Gianicolense meeting and discussion this autumn. 

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Russian soldiers demining at Palmyra 2017. Wikipedia commons

Marie Elisabeth Berg Christensen: The securitisation of cultural heritage: The museum as an actor in global security.

Samuel Hardy: Trafficking of antiquities by refugees: Failed policy and exploited victims.

Limited number of participants due to infection control measures, please contact to request participation.

Heritage is engagement with the past in the present. Heritage is, therefore, entangled in, and crucial for a deeper understanding of some of the most important contemporary global challenges: Migration, integration, conflict and cultural destruction, climate change and adaptation to rapid and major technological changes. 

HEI: Heritage Experience Initiative aims at developing critical heritage research in cooperation with the heritage sector and will experiment with new teaching models. For more about the project:

Marie Elisabeth Berg Christensen is a doctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen. She is currently on a 2-month research stay at the Norwegian Institute in Rome where she will be part of HEi and collaborate with Dr. Sam Hardy and Prof. Christopher Prescott in the working group “Heritage activism and conflict”.

Christensen’s project explores the new roles and challenges museums face in relation to security matters in the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict. Here, security is not understood as personal security or security for the organization, but as security for the world’s cultural heritage. The theoretical framework of the project will discuss the discursive construction of cultural heritage as a security issue. The discussion of cultural heritage and security is inspired by the research of securitisation of climate change, development, immigration etc.

The research is based on analyzing data obtained from interviews with cultural heritage experts and museum professionals, as well as case studies of the work done by leading museums in the field alongside written research material on the activities of museums related to security of cultural heritage. It will also include an examination of the research literature that directly or indirectly touches upon security and cultural heritage issues.

The PhD is increasingly relevant due to the fact that cultural heritage protection is becoming a transnational and non-traditional security issue and museums have become important actors in the international protection of the world’s cultural heritage.  In relation to cultural heritage protection, we also see fundamental changes in the understanding and management of cultural heritage as an area of legal, political and governmental significance. There is a decentralization and redistribution of the responsibility of protection of cultural heritage, and here the museum, as a civilian actor, plays an important role. 

Samuel Andrew Hardy is a post-doctoral fellow with HEI. He examines the relationships between illicit trafficking of cultural objects and political violence in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. He explores the practice of looting; the interconnections between cultural property crimes and other crimes; and the politics of policing in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He is also reviewing the evidence for conflict antiquities trafficking; the use of heritage propaganda; and the interconnections between antiquities trafficking and the refugee crisis in West Asia and North Africa. Hardy is also exploring transnational networks that bridge conflict zones and antiquities markets. The aim of Hardy’s research is to produce evidence that will inform efforts to reduce the loss of cultural heritage and the income of violent organizations.

Tags: Museums and Museology, Cultural heritage, Archaeology
Published Sep. 8, 2020 4:40 PM - Last modified Oct. 5, 2020 11:13 AM