New Book by Laurie Rush and Luisa Benedettini Millington

The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property

Saving the World’s Heritage

Laurie Rush
Luisa Benedettini Millington

Renowned for their rigorous investigative approach, the dedicated officers of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property (Carabinieri TPC) have recovered thousands of objects and built legal cases resulting in high profile repatriations of cultural property. Their actions have effectively changed an art market that previously depended upon theft and criminal behaviour. Italy is a nation that greatly values its ancient past alongside its artistic present, and it is this appreciation that has led to the creation of the world’s premier police force dedicated to law enforcement in the arts, heritage and archaeology. As the TPC’s dedicated officers work to protect every aspect of Italy’s rich cultural heritage, their organisation, training, approach, missions and successes offer valuable lessons for all who share the goal of protecting and recovering cultural property.

Laurie Rush is a Board Member of the US Committee of the Blue Shield, and employed as an archaeologist by the US army; Luisa Benedettini Millington is a Faculty member of the Community College of Vermont, US

For more information, please visit the publisher’s website: http://boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=14845 

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ICHG Conference, London, 5th – 10th July

Today’s post is by Carolyn Gibbeson, ICCHS PhD researcher

ICHG Conference 2015

I was invited to participate in the the Asylum Geographies session at the International Conference for Historical Geographers held in London last week at the Royal Geographical Society. The two sessions, which spread across the whole of Thursday morning, were organised by Chris Philo and Cheryl McGeachen (both Glasgow University) and sought to highlight and explore the small group of researchers who investigate asylum spaces and geographies, to look at the wider societal roles and to explore the rise in the geographies of asylums.

The first session contained four papers from Lauren Farquharson (University of Glasgow) looking at The Scottish Poor Law of Lunacy, Caroline Bressey (UCL) examining geographies of the cosmopolitan asylum, Cheryl McGeachen (Glasgow) looking at psychiatric art therapy and finally Sarah Phelan (Glasgow) who spoke about Thomas Ferguson Rodger, the first Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Glasgow.  All four were fascinating papers looking at the past and present lives of people within the asylums and the asylums themselves. Caroline’s paper on the story of Caroline Brogdan who, when detained at the City of London asylum was living as a man was particularly fascinating and reveals the amazing stories that asylum archives contain, waiting to be explored and discovered.

Carolyn Gibbeson

My paper Memories, monuments and mansions: the multiple lives of former historic asylums started the second session. This drew on my current PhD research looking at the reuse of former asylum sites and concentrated particularly on place attachment/ place stigma to explore how different groups of people connected to these sites feel about them and portray them through their engagement with the reuse process. It argued that the current literature on place attachment (and place stigma) focuses less on negative places and different types of attachment and that these are areas that my research highlights. The sessions that followed mine were Nicole Baur (Exeter University) looking at the interplay between planned and non-planned space within the Devon County Asylum, a paper entitled Madhouse: or an investigation into “the regions below” by Chris Philo (presented by Cheryl McGeachen as Chris was in Canada) and Ebba Hogstrom who highlighted how the past, present and future exists in the new House of Psychiatry in Uppsala, Sweden.

All the papers presented provided a detailed and fascinating look into many different aspects of one particular building type and the research being done in this area. The links between past, present and future were really clear to see, as well as the continued discussions about how we present this work, given its often conflicting, challenging and difficult nature. I came away with renewed vigour and interest in my own work, as well as an interest in all the work presented in the sessions and some ideas for possible future research and publications should the PhD research time allow! It was a pleasure to be a part of the sessions at the conference and to be engaged in the continued discussions about these often forgotten places.

The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict – CALL TO ACTION

The UK National Committee of the Blue Shield (UKBS), the British wing of a global organisation frequently referred to as the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross, is leading a nationwide campaign to get the UK Government to finally ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols of 1954 and 1999. Professor Peter Stone OBE, Chair of the UKBS, said:

The 1954 Hague Convention is the primary piece of International Humanitarian Law concerning the protection of heritage during armed conflict. While many in the UK have reacted with justifiable horror and indignation at the recent appalling destruction of ancient sites, libraries, archives, and museums in the Middle East and Africa, few seem to realise that the UK remains the only Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, and arguably the most significant military power (and the only one with extensive military involvements abroad), not to have ratified the 1954 Hague Convention.

After the 2003 US/UK led invasion, the then Minister for Heritage, Andrew McIntosh, announced in 2004 the Government’s intention to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention as soon as Parliamentary business allowed. This claim has been repeated by every relevant Minister since. In November 2011, Jeremy Hunt, then Secretary of State at DCMS, made a joint UK Government and British Red Cross Society pledge “to make every effort to facilitate the UK’s ratification… and to promote understanding of the principles and rules of the Convention within the UK”. Ratification has cross-Party support and the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Department for Overseas Development; and the Ministry of Defence. Professor Eleanor Robson, Chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, added:

ISIS’ current rampage across northern Iraq and Syria is drawing urgent international attention to the plight of cultural heritage in times of war. By ratifying the 1954 Hague Convention, the UK Government would send a clear signal of its commitment to protecting civilian communities and their histories if it should ever intervene in this conflict or others, and provide the armed forces a clear mandate to do so.

For its campaign to be successful, the UKBS needs everybody who values cultural heritage in all its forms to write to their local MP urging them to pursue this matter. This can be done either by email or post. For those who would like guidance or some information to help them write their letter, a template (which can be adapted as necessary) and a fact sheet on the UKBS and the 1954 Hague Convention can be downloaded here and here. If anyone does not know the name of their MP or how to contact them, that can found here.

If you are still unsure of the need for the UK to ratify the 1954 Hague Convection, the UKBS ask that you please watch this three-minute film Protecting cultural property during war.
The UKBS is an entirely voluntary run organisation comprising academics and heritage professionals from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. You can stay up-to-date with its work and the progress of its campaign by following it on Twitter and Facebook. If you require any further information or have any outstanding queries, please do not hesitate to contact Philip Deans, Campaign Assistant for the UKBS, at philip.deans@ncl.ac.uk. Finally, to help the UKBS keep track of the campaign, it is also asked that when anyone does write to their MP, would they please let the UKBS know using the email address supplied above.

Protecting Cultural Property During War

Professor Peter Stone OBE, Head of Newcastle University’s School of Arts and Cultures, has been exploring what we tolerate as acceptable and, crucially, unacceptable practice towards protecting cultural property during war.

Video: Protecting cultural property during war

 

His research has investigated, within the context of jus in bello, the way in which we wage war and, by implication, the very nature of war itself. More information about Peter’s research can be found here: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/impact/protecting-cultural-property.php

Recent keynote address on cultural heritage and disaster resilient communities

Peter Stone recently gave a keynote address at a preliminary International Expert Meeting in Tokyo on ‘Cultural heritage and disaster resilient communities’. This was part of the preparation for the UN’s ‘3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction’ that Peter also attended as a member of the ICCROM Delegation in Sendai, Japan. Peter’s keynote was on ‘The Blue Shield as an important mechanism for creating and maintaining networks of heritage professionals for Disaster Risk Reduction.

For the full conference: http://www.wcdrr.org/conference

For the expert meeting: https://www.nich-wcdrr2015.com/index_e.html

‘Young, Religious and Judged’: Challenging prejudice through Co-Curating Muslim heritage in North East of England

At a time when tensions in Europe around the role of Islam in society are high, many British Muslims are working hard to counter the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media through collaborations with museums, libraries, archives and galleries, as well as community-led heritage initiatives. Traditional approaches to Muslim communities within the heritage sector have tended to adopt an ‘outreach’ model of community participation, whereby community groups are ‘invited in’ to the museum or archive to contribute to an exhibition or project determined by the organisation. Such approaches have been criticised for failing to address questions of who is doing the including and under what terms? What happens then, if heritage organisations and universities act as facilitators for community-led research, rather than as gatekeepers?

To find out more about how universities and heritage organisations can support the needs of Muslim communities ICCHS Research Associate Katherine Lloyd and Doctorial Researcher Ilmam Tharazi both attended the Everyday Muslim Symposium on Saturday 31st January at the Bishopgate Institute in London. The symposium brought together people from a range of sectors and backgrounds who share an interest in documenting and sharing Muslim heritage. The aim of the event was to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between individuals, groups and institutions working in the field of Muslim heritage.

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Inspiring the audience (including some proud parents) at the Everyday Muslim Symposium

Katherine co-presented a paper with the West End Young Digital Artists, a group of 12-17 year olds from Newcastle who want to challenge prejudice and encourage respect between people from different cultures and religions in the West End of Newcastle as part of their documentary project ‘Young, Religious and Judged’. Katherine has been supporting the group to undertake historical research at Discovery Museum and the West Newcastle Picture History Collection as part of her work on Co-Curate North East, a knowledge exchange project led by Newcastle University that supports communities to document and share their heritage online. The young people showcased their documentary and received a very positive response, with conference participants asking for advice about how they could support young people to undertake similar projects. They also connected with academic researchers who were able to provide them with more information about the history of Muslims in the UK, such as the Yemini community in South Shields. The group are now working on an exhibition of their work that will go in display in Destination Tyneside at Discovery Museum in March. We can’t wait to find out more about their research!

Researching the history of the Yemini community at Destination Tyneside, Discovery Museum

Researching the history of the Yemini community at Destination Tyneside, Discovery Museum

For more information:

WEYDA: Crowdfunding video: https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/resources/view/34950

Co-Curate North East: co-curate.ncl.ac.uk 

Everyday Muslim: everydaymuslim.org

New ‘Heritage Matters’ book published

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ICCHS is thrilled to announce the publication of ‘Displaced Heritage: Responses to Disaster, Trauma, and Loss’, the 16th volume in its ‘Heritage Matters’ book series. The publication has a strong ICCHS presence with Peter Davis and Gerard Corsane co-editing it Ian Convery. In addition, there are papers by ICCHS staff Gerard Corsane, Susannah Eckersley and Aron Mazel and by former ICCHS PhD students Sarah Elliott, Bryony Onciul and Diana Walters.

From boydellandbrewer.com:

Displaced Heritage (Edited by Ian ConveryEdited by Gerard CorsaneEdited by Peter Davis) 9781843839637 – Boydell & Brewer.

The essays in this volume address the displacement of natural and cultural heritage caused by disasters, whether they be dramatic natural impacts or terrible events unleashed by humankind, including holocaust and genocide. Disasters can be natural or human-made, rapid or slow, great or small, yet the impact is effectively the same; nature, people and cultural heritage are displaced or lost. Yet while heritage and place are at risk from disasters, in time, sites of suffering are sometimes reframed as sites of memory; through this different lens these “difficult” places become heritage sites that attract tourists. Ranging widely chronologically and geographically, the contributors explore the impact of disasters, trauma and suffering on heritage and sense of place, in both theory and practice.

Contributors: Kai Erikson, Catherine Roberts, Philip R. Stone, Stephen Miles, Susannah Eckersley, Gerard Corsane, Graeme Were, Jo Besley, Tim Padley, Chia-Li Chen, Jonathan Skinner, Diana Walters, Shalini Sharma, Ellie Land, Rob Morley, Ian Convery, John Welshman, Aron Mazel, Andrew Law, Bryony Onciul, Sarah Elliott, Rebecca Whittle, Will Medd, Maggie Mort, Hugh Deeming, Marion Walker, Clare Twigger-Ross, Gordon Walker, Nigel Watson, Richard Johnson, Esther Edwards, James Gardner, Brij Mohan, Josephine Baxter, Takashi Harada, Arthur McIvor, Rupert Ashmore, Peter Lurz, Marc Ancrenaz, Isabelle Lackman, Özgün Emre Can, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir, Mark Wilson, Pat Caplan, Billy Sinclar, Phil O’Keefe