Showing results 13 - 24 of 97 for the tag: London.

February 18, 2013

Greek school students protest at the British Museum for return of Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 3:17 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Students from the 2nd High School of Corinth have protested at the British Museum for the return of the Elgin Marbles. It appears from the article, as though there was some sort of trouble with the museum staff when they were there. From past experience, the British Museum is happy with protests if they are pre-arranged, but doesn’t like ones that just turn up unexpectedly. The Marbles Reunited campaign has in the past helped to organise protests with Greek schools – dealing with the museum on their behalf to get the correct authorisation & avoiding possible problems with the museum’s security staff.

From:
Greek Reporter

Students Wave Greek Flag at British Museum
By Christina Flora on February 15, 2013 in news, United Kingdom

Fifteen-year-old students of the 2nd High School of Corinth accompanied by three teachers traveled to London and gave their own message of the Parthenon Marbles waving four Greek flags and shouting the slogan: BRING THEM BACK!

The students delivered 36 letters written in English to the director of the museum in which they explained the factual reasons why the British Museum should return the marbles stolen by Lord Elgin to Greece.
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Stealing a work of art – that some claim was vandalism in the first place

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

This story is interesting on a number of levels. Coming from Bristol, I saw Banksy’s work long before he was famous outside his home city & before his work became seen as art rather than vandalism. It was interesting to note the change of heart of the local newspapers, who switched their point of view within the space of a year, from stop this vandal ruining our city, to young Bristol artist achieves international recognition… Anyway, the case in this story is a peculiar one – the art appears without permission – an nobody gets paid for it initially, but if it is good enough, then it adds some sort of value to the wall that was picked as its location. At the end of the day, the artist expects many of their works to be erased by those who do not appreciate them, so the only person who really loses out is the owner of the wall it was on (and the other people who passed by the wall & appreciated it).

On the other hand, I don’t entirely buy into the idea that the artwork was a gift to the local community – I think it happened to be a wall in the right place & that was all there was to it.

That said, while the work was produced for free & was not commissioned as such, the idea that someone can come along & remove it without permission for purely personal gain is entirely wrong, just as much so as in other cases of stolen / looted art. The fact that it is possible to sell works such as this on the open market, suggests that many dealers & collectors are still completely lacking in any sort of moral framework to their dealings & that self policing of the industry does not work.

The fact that no complaint has been lodged with the police suggests that perhaps there is no crime to be reported – it would not surprise me if the person who authorised the removal & was doing the selling was in fact the owner of the wall.

It would be interesting to hear Banksy’s viewpoint on the story.

From:
Daily Mail

Banksy’s ‘Slave Labour’ mural taken from wall and put on U.S. art auction website for £450,000
Street art cut from London wall last week is now up for sale in America
Banksy Slave Labour could fetch nearly half a million at auction
Locals are furious their ‘gift’ from the mystery Bristol artist has been taken
By Sam Webb
PUBLISHED: 10:41, 18 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:57, 18 February 2013

A painting by the elusive British guerilla artist Banksy has been gouged out of a wall in North London and is being sold by an American art dealer.

Banksy Slave Labour, depicting a child labourer sewing Union Jack bunting, is expected to fetch £450,000 on the Fine Art Auctions Miami website.
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November 7, 2012

Videos online from London Colloquy on return of Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:07 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Following on from the Colloquy on the return of the Parthenon Marbles in June, they have now put online videos of all the speakers who were there.

You can view them on Youtube here.

August 3, 2012

Reshowing of Parthenon Marbles debate in Australia

Posted at 1:01 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

ABC’s Big Ideas has re-broadcast June’s debate on the Parthenon Marbles organised by Intelligence Squared.

From:
ABC (Australia)

Published 23 July 2012
IQ2 Debate: ‘Send Them Back’ The Parthenon Marbles Should Be Returned to Athens

The proposition for this IQ2 debate from the UK is ‘Send Them Back: The Parthenon Marbles Should Be Returned to Athens’. These marbles, also known as the Elgin marbles, were removed by Lord Elgin (British Ambassador to Constantinople 1799-1803, Greece was under Turkish rule until the 1830’s War of Independence) and shipped back to London in the early part of the 19th century.

The Parthenon sculpture included a large amount of 5th century BC sculptured freize (about 75 metres) that once ran around the Parthenon and life size sculpted figures.
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July 17, 2012

The structural and philosophical problems confronting the Universal Museum concept

Posted at 7:43 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Dr Tom Flynn was one of the speakers at the London Colloquy on the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, where, rather than speaking about the reasons for returning the Parthenon Sculptures, he confronted one of the main arguments given by the British Museum for keeping them here – that of the Universal Museum.

From:
Tom Flynn

The Universal Museum
by Dr. Tom Flynn
London, 2012

Well, you should be ashamed of yourselves, assembling here in a sinister conspiracy to dismantle our Universal Museums, to rob us of the cultural treasures that have contributed so much to the legacy of the European Enlightenment. Just think for a moment of the implications of what you’re doing — if you have your way the great cultural institutions of Europe and North America — the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago — these noble collections will be dispersed to the far corners of the earth, delivered into the hands of nations and cultures driven by rabid nationalism who lack the curatorial skills and the museological expertise to care for their material heritage. If you succeed, our classical temples to world culture will stand empty or will be turned into multiplex cinemas, football stadiums or basketball courts. The reputation of this once proud nation will be damaged beyond repair, tourism will cease, and as a people we will be forever impoverished.

It’s ridiculous isn’t it? I’m exaggerating to make a point, but that is essentially the message that is being circulated by those striving to resist the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. If the British Museum were to accede to the calls for return, the fabled floodgates would open, leading to a veritable deluge of repatriation requests. It would be a slippery slope that would lead inexorably to a mass exodus of objects, a wholesale denuding, a great emptying, a hollowing out. Or would it?
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June 14, 2012

British Museum to permanently return some of Lewis Chessmen to Stornoway in 2014

Posted at 12:58 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

After briefly returning to Scotland in 2010, some of the Lewis Chessmen are going to return on a semi permanent basis to the island where they were discovered. It is unclear how much SNP leader Alex Salmond’s demands for their return have led to this decision & moreover, whether the British Museum is getting anything in return for the deal. I am very interested to find out more details of the exact loan agreement that has been made.

From:
BBC News

13 June 2012 Last updated at 15:20
Historic Lewis Chessmen returning to Western Isles

Six Lewis Chessmen are to be displayed long-term at a new museum on the Western Isles, where more than 90 of the historic pieces were found.

An agreement has been reached between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) and the British Museum.
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June 13, 2012

Colloquy on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles later this month

Posted at 6:10 pm in Elgin Marbles

More information on the colloquy on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, to be held in London later this month.

From:
Source Wire

GLOBAL COLLOQUY ON REUNIFICATION OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES CONVENES 19-20 JUNE 2012 IN LONDON
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

(London, UK, Wednesday, May 22, 2012) – Today, three campaigning organizations for the Parthenon Marbles, from the UK, USA and Australia, announced the launch of an international colloquy on “The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles” to be held in London. The event is timed to coincide with the third year anniversary of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum and the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics one month later. There are plans to videotape and stream the proceedings online following the event for a global audience.

The colloquy is aimed to promote an open dialogue and create further effort for change, and will be held 19 June 2012, at the London Hellenic Centre, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. On 20 June, a planned organized attendance at the British Museum will take place followed by the launch of the “MISSING” global awareness campaign. This will include events scheduled around the world and online to mobilize support for the campaign. The colloquy is jointly presented by The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (ACRPS), and The International Organizing Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles (IOC-A-RPM).
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Re-examining the controversial status of the ‘Universal Museum’

Posted at 5:38 pm in Elgin Marbles

As part of the colloquy on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, Tom Flynn is going to look at what the Universal Museum really claims to be – and the many problems with the reasoning behind it.

From:
PR Newswire

Universal Museum Concept & Debate at the Global London Colloquy June 19, 2012
LONDON, June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

The concept of the Universal Museum is at the heart of current debates about cultural property and nowhere more so than in the case of the Parthenon Marbles being held by the British Museum – arguably the definitive example of a ‘Universal Museum’. It is a subject that will be examined at the an international colloquy on “The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles” to be held in London 19 & 20 June, to register please visit http://www.parthenonuk.com

As the start of the London Olympics approaches, pressure is mounting on the British Museum to reunify the Parthenon Marbles in what is universally acknowledged as their rightful home – the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, which opened in 2009. Greece’s acute economic plight has merely amplified the need for a cultural gesture that many believe would have an immeasurable impact in kindling a sense of optimism and hope among the Greek people.
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Stephen Fry convinces the public that returning the Elgin Marbles would be the right thing to do

Posted at 1:12 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the Intelligence Squared debate on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles held at Cadogan Hall last Monday. The London Bytes blog also has a good writeup of the event.

From:
Guardian

Stephen Fry steals show, and Greek hearts, in Parthenon marbles debate
A talk in London about whether the British Museum should return the sculptures was screened live to an audience in Athens
Posted by
Lizzy Davies
Tuesday 12 June 2012 15.00 BST

They came in their Athenian finery, filing patiently into the low-lit auditorium and waiting to hear a message of hope. Its deliverer: a man who until recently was unknown to them but who is now regarded as something of a hero; a saviour of the Greek people in the face of foreign meddling and arrogance; a man who has come to their rescue in troubled times to fight for Hellenic pride.

No, restrain yourselves; it wasn’t Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras. The man they had come to see was one Stephen Fry, and the issue at stake was the future of the Parthenon marbles, currently held by the British Museum.
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More coverage of Andrew George MP & Stephen Fry’s success in Monday’s Parthenon Marble debate

Posted at 1:00 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the results of Monday’s debate on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, organised by Intelligence Squared.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Stephen Fry calls for Britain to return Parthenon Frieze to Greece
Stephen Fry said that the classical Greek sculptures, which reside in the British Museum, should be returned to “a country in dire need”.
By Florence Waters
10:51AM BST 12 Jun 2012

The actor has said that restoring the marbles, which rank among the greatest treasures in British Museum’s collection, would be the ultimate show of “friendship” to a country in crisis – and would send out the right message to the rest of the world.

The Parthenon Frieze, part of a wider collection of classical sculptures called the Elgin Marbles, has resided in Britain since the early 19th century when they were brought over to Britain by explorer Lord Elgin.
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Stephen Fry: “It would be a ‘classy’ move for Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles”

Posted at 12:46 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Some press coverage of the Intelligence Squared Parthenon Marbles debate that took place on Monday.

From:
BBC News

11 June 2012 Last updated at 22:30
Stephen Fry’s Parthenon Marbles plea backed in debate vote
By Trevor Timpson BBC News

A call backed by actor Stephen Fry for the return to Greece of the British Museum’s Parthenon Marbles has come out on top in a debate held in London.

Fry said it would be a “classy” move to restore the sculptures brought to the UK by Lord Elgin in the 19th Century.
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June 12, 2012

The Intelligence Squared debate over whether the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens

Posted at 1:52 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Events

Along with many others, I attended the debate at Cadogan Hall in London last night, on whether the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens.

The final line up for the debate was:

For the Motion
Andrew George MP
Stephen Fry

Against the motion
Tristram Hunt MP (& historian)
Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (Professor of History at Notre Dame University in the USA)

The debate was chaired by BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi.

As people entered the debate, a poll was taken, and gave the following results:
For the motion: 196
Against the motion: 202
Undecided: 158

So, at this stage, those who wanted to keep the Marbles in the British Museum were in the majority, albeit by a small amount. The hope was, that even if these people couldn’t be convinced, to changed their minds, then those who were undecided would be able to be swung towards the case for their return.

I won’t go into too much detail on Andrew George’s arguments & Stephen Fry’s, as articles by both of them have already been posted on this site & there were no major surprises in the approach that they took (links to previous articles – Andrew George – Comment: No bailout, but will the Elgin marbles do? & Stephen Fry – A modest proposal). Andrew George opened, with his recounting of attempts to table an Early Day Motion about the Stone Henge megaliths in Greece (followup here), which although it is on the face of it just an amusing story, highlights that people may well see things differently, when they look at a similar situation from the opposite side of the table.

Stephen Fry’s assertions were for us to show that we can be a classy country – that we can do the right thing & make Britain look good on an international stage, rather than clinging on to the many fallacious arguments that often seem to engulf this issue.

Tristram Hunt mentioned early on, that “Athens is just as well equipped to look after the Marbles as Britain“. Coming from someone arguing to keep them here, perhaps this should finally put to rest, the contention (which probably should have gone away about the same time the British Empire ended) that the Greeks could not look after the artefacts as well as the British.

After this positive (for those arguing for their return) start though, there was some slight topic drift, with comparisons to the Wedgewood china around the world that comes from the potteries of Stoke-on-Trent (singing the praises of his own constituency as much as anything else). While he is right that Wedgewood pottery has made Stoke on Trent famous around the world, what we are talking about here is a product of the industrial revolution – something that is mass produced & designed to be sold. In most cases, there are no doubts over the rightful owners & none of the plates that I know of were ever designed with the purpose as serving as integral structural elements of a building in a UNESCO World Heritage site. He argued, that the people of Greece should be proud that their marbles are on display in the British Museum. Whether or not they are proud, is not quite the point here, as they never requested that they were put on display in Britain – so it can’t be compared to the popularity of loans made to museums, with the main intention of exhibiting culture around the world.

Then, the assertion was made, that the marbles had been acquired completely legally by Elgin. This statement (which he would not back down from), goes against much of the research into the firman, which we only know of through a single surviving translated copy in Italian, which gives Elgin no clear permission to do anything other than take casts & remove loose pieces of stone that had already fallen to the ground. Alluding to the run up to the second gulf war, Andrew George had already referred to the firman, as Elgin’s dodgy dossier. Even at the time of Elgin’s sale of the sculptures to the British government, the speaker’s notes read “Lord Elgin’s petition presented. The collection praised. Lord Elgin’s conduct, and his right to the collection as his private property much questioned. Petition to lie on the table.” so clearly not everyone sees this as quite such a clear cut case of completely legitimate ownership.

Hunt (Tristram, not Elgin’s chaplain) stated, that he sees the firman as entirely legal, on the basis that it has never been challenged in law. I wanted to ask him (but did not get the chance to), whether, on this basis, were the case of legitimate ownership by the British Museum challenged in a British or International court, he would then be willing to revoke this argument & accept that they were in Britain unlawfully.

Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, took the stage after Stephen Fry, although he had earlier made some pointed comments that the motion for the debate had to be stuck to – that we were only discussing the merits of returning the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, & that whether or not they were going to be displayed in the New Acropolis Museum was not a relevant point.

After a complete derailment of the argument where he tried to describe Stephen Fry as a national treasure, he settled down to actually discussing the issue at hand. He sees the New Acropolis Museum as a different type of Museum to the British Museum, where we should think of it as being a mirror, rather than a window. This might be the cases, and they are definitely different types of museum – but that does not necessarily mean that one role or mode of display is somehow any more valid than another.

A lot of his reasoning hung on the Universal Museum argument – something that has received much criticism in the past & is definitely not an idea accepted universally. He pointed out that for professionals, having centres of reasearch is important, but it is unclear, why Athens itself (it does not have to be limited to a single institution, as they are all relatively near to one another) could not become a centre for the research of Greek sculpture on this basis. He suggested that only in the British Museum are researchers able to uncover new facts about the artefacts, but surely perhaps a whole different set of new findings might emerge if the sculptures could be observed in the context of other artefacts from the same location, but different eras?

The slippery slope (also known as the floodgates) argument was raised, yet this argument tends to ignore three points – the first being, that many artefacts have already been returned from museums for a variety of reasons & in a variety of circumstances, without opening any floodgates. The second point, is that each cases is unique & assessed on its own individual merits, so it is hard for a precedent to be set. The final problem with this argument, is that it advocates not taking the right action now, for fear that you might have to repeat it again in the future – when surely, if it is the right action, then it is right for it to be repeated?

He also raised the possibility that the campaign for return of the marbles was a recent thing & a sign of Greek nationalism – comparing it (somewhat insultingly) to the rise of Golden Dawn & Neo-Naziism at the most recent elections in Athens (I know many who support the return of the Marbles & none of them are even vaguely close to supporting the principles of Golden Dawn). This argument ignores many earlier restitution requests & proposals, along with the fact that Elgin’s actions were mentioned in a critical way less than fifty years after the removal of the sculptures.

There was quite a lengthy Q&A session, where members of the audience raised their own points both for & against the return of the sculptures. This revealed one other interesting point – they wanted to get the opinions of some Greeks, and it became clear, that while there were many Greeks in the audience, they were clearly outnumbered by the non-Greeks, probably constituting less than 20% of those there.

At the end, a new poll was taken, giving the following result:

For the motion: 384
Against the motion: 125
Undecided: 24

Note that the totals vary slightly, because a number of people had to leave early, as the debate lasted longer than had originally been indicated.

So what had begun as a slight win for those in favour of keeping the sculptures in Britain turned into a resounding vote in favour of their return.

If we look at the numbers more closely, we can see that the number in favour of return almost doubled, while those wanting to keep them here reduced by 60%. Only 15% of the original fence sitters were left, with the rest having managed to make up their mind one way or the other.

As an overall result, nearly three times as many people were in favour of the return of the sculptures as wanted to keep them in the UK, with less than 5% being unwilling to express an opinion either way.

This highlights what I have thought for a long time – that the more people know about the Marbles, the more they are likely to support their return. It definitely appeared to be true in this case.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the debate (on both sides) & attended it – I think a lot of people learned many new points about the subject & some were even persuaded to change their point of view on it. Thank you especially to Zeinab Badawi, for managing to control both sides, keeping them on topic & trying to let as many people have their say within a limited amount of time (and adding a bit of amusement to the proceedings at times too).

Edited recordings of the event will be broadcast on BBC World News at 09:10 and 21:10 on 23 June, and 02:10 and 15:10 on 24 June. See this post for more details of how to watch it.

After the first TV broadcast date, the recording will also be available to watch on Intelligence Squared’s website and on their Youtube Channel

Please use the #iq2marbles hashtag if you want to search for (or discuss) coverage of the event on Twitter