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Manchester conference on Museums & Restitution

On 8th – 9th July 2010, Manchester University’s Centre for Museology is organising a two day conference on Museums & Restitution [1].

For more details of the conference & to book a place on it, go to their website [2].

A provisional programme of the conference is also available to download [3].

Centre for Museology [2]

Museums and Restitution – International Conference
Museums and Restitution is a two-day international conference organised by the Centre for Museology and The Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester. The conference examines the issue of restitution in relation to the changing role and authority of the museum, focussing on new ways in which these institutions are addressing the subject.

Restitution is one of the most emotive and complex issues facing the museum world in the twenty first century. Its current high profile reflects changing global power relations and the increasingly vocal criticisms of the historical concentration of the world’s heritage in the museums of the West. The 2002 Declaration of the Importance and Value of Universal Museums, which was signed by the directors of eighteen of the world’s most prominent museums, pushed the subject to the forefront of debate as never before.

Over recent years, the issue of restitution has taken on a new complexion with different processes emerging. We have seen an increasing emphasis on museums working with source communities, and with new forms of restitution other than object restitution – such as visual and knowledge restitution. The language of discussion too has changed, with the term ‘reunification’, for example, rather than ‘repatriation’ now often being used in relation to the Parthenon Marbles. The opening of New Acropolis Museum in Athens in June 2009 has added a further dimension to the debates. We are also seeing new countries gaining increasing prominence in restitution debates: for example, the official response from the government of the People’s Republic of China to the Yves Saint Laurent auction of Chinese looted bronzes at Christie’s in Paris in March 2009. This is a trend clearly set to continue.

This conference will bring together museum professionals and academics from a wide range of fields (including museology, archaeology, anthropology, art history and cultural policy) to share ideas on contemporary approaches to restitution from the viewpoint of museums.

Possible themes

* New museums, new developments
* Visual, knowledge and digital repatriation
* Authority and power: voices listened to, voices heard
* Beyond ownership? Loans, travelling exhibitions, exchanges
* Reflections on returns

*New* Lunch-Time Discussion on Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, Prague’s Terezin Declaration and latest legislation. Find out more and get involved.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers

– Tristram Besterman (Former Director, The Manchester Museum. Writer, adviser and mediator on museums and cultural issues)
Title of Keynote: ‘Cultural equity: an ethical paradigm for the sustainable museum’

– Prof. Piotr Bienkowski (Former Deputy Director, The Manchester Museum. Cultural, heritage and museums consultant, writer and researcher and Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester)
Title of Keynote: ‘Authority and the Power of Place: Exploring the Legitimacy of Authorised and Alternative Voices in the Restitution Discourse’

– Maurice Davies (Head of Policy and Communication, Museums Association)
Maurice will lead the onference closing session and discussion on Friday 9th July
Programme Panel

* Dr Sam Alberti, The Manchester Museum / Centre for Museology
* Dr Kostas Arvanitis, Centre for Museology
* Malcolm Chapman, The Manchester Museum
* Dr Zachary Kingdon, National Museums Liverpool
* Dr Helen Rees Leahy, Centre for Museology
* Prof. Sharon Macdonald, Social Anthropology
* Louise Tythacott, Centre for Museology


Standard Registration Fee: £100 (£50 per day)
Student Registration Fee: £50 (£25 per day)

Please complete the conference booking form and e-mail it as an attachment to:

Hannah Mansell at: Hannah.mansell@manchester.ac.uk

Or post it to:

Hannah Mansell,
Martin Harris Centre,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road,
M13 9PL

Tel.: + 44 (0)161 275 3319
*Spaces are limited. Book early to avoid disappointment! – Please register by Monday 7th June 2010*
Key Dates
Call for Papers Deadline: 11th December 2009
Notification of Acceptance: March 2010
Registration Opens: March 2010
Registration Closes: June 2010
Conference Dates: 8-9 July 2010

Provisional Conference Programme [17/5/10]
International conference, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester

9.15-9.45, Conference Room
Registration and coffee

9.45- 10.00, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Welcome and introduction
Nick Merriman (Director, The Manchester Museum)
Kostas Arvanitis and Louise Tythacott (Conference convenors)

10.00-10.45, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Key speaker (Chair: tba)
Tristram Besterman (Writer, adviser and mediator on museums and cultural issues). ‘Cultural equity: an ethical paradigm for the sustainable museum.’

10.45-12.30, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Overviews: power, politics, authority (Chair: Helen Rees Leahy, University of Manchester)
Maurice Davies (Head of Policy and Communication, Museums Association): ‘The UK’s inconsistent policies on return – politics, power and influence’
Neil Curtis (Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen): ‘Repatriation requests and museums in Scotland (provisional title)’
Conal McCarthy (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand): ‘Decolonising museums: the poetics, politics and pragmatics of restitution in New Zealand museums.’
Eleni Korka (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism): ‘Voluntary returns of cultural property.’

12.30-1.45, Conference Room: LUNCH
Provisional Conference Programme [17/5/10]

1.45 –3.15, Kanaris Lecture Theatre Reflections on returns (Chair: Louise Tythacott, University of Manchester)
Maureen Matthews (University of Oxford): ‘Repatriating agency: animacy, personhood and agency in the repatriation of Ojibwe artefacts.’
Koki Agbontaen-Eghafona (University of Benin): ‘After restitution what next? An appraisal of public attitude towards the museum and museum objects in Benin City, Nigeria.’
Reesa Greenberg (Art historian and museum consultant): ‘Restitution exhibitions and identity politics: a case study of displaying art and artifacts stolen from Jews during the Second World War.’

1.45 –3.15, Martin Harris Centre, G16a Seminar Room Digital, visual and knowledge repatriation I (Chair: Malcolm Chapman, Manchester Museum)
Sophia Sambono (National Film and Sound Archive, Australia): ‘Restitution of intangible cultural heritage from an Australian audiovisual archive.’
Catherine Moore (University of Kent): ‘Mimesis and recognition – the flash of the past in the present? The Powell-Cotton film archive in contemporary Namibia.’
Hein Vanhee (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Jasper Chalcroft (University of Sussex): ‘The idea of digital restitution: reflections on digital cultural heritage as a political concept and practice.’

3.15 –3.45, Conference Room and Martin Harris Centre: TEA

3.45 – 5.30, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Local and national power relations (Chair: Sam Alberti, University of Manchester) Bryan Sitch (Manchester Museum): ‘Lindow Man and restitution.’ (provisional title) Demelza Van der Maas (VU University Amsterdam): ‘Debating the restitution of human remains from Dutch museum collections: the Case of Urk.’ Eava-Kristiina Harlin (Norwegian Sámi museum): ‘Repatriation – political will and museums facilities.’

3.45 – 5.30, Martin Harris Centre, G16a Seminar Room
Second World War spoliation (Chair: Sharon Macdonald, University of Manchester) Evgeny Steiner (SOAS, University of London): ‘The point of no return? The problem of the WWII “Trophy Art” in Russia.’ Katenhusen Ines (Leibniz Universität Hannover): ‘A box in the basement. On the works of Kasimir Malevich loaned to the Hannover Museum.’ Michael Franz (Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg): ‘The Internet database www.lostart.de as an international service mean for museums.’

6.00-7.00, Martin Harris Centre: RECEPTION (including films relating to restitution).

7.30, Manchester Business School: DINNER

DAY 2: FRIDAY 9th JULY 2010

9.00-9.30, Conference Room
Registration and coffee

9.30-10.15, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Key speaker (Chair: Conal McCarthy, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Piotr Bienkowski (Cultural, heritage and museums consultant, writer and researcher): ‘Authority and the power of place: exploring the legitimacy of authorised and alternative voices in the restitution discourse.’

10.30-12.00, Kanaris Lecture Theatre The Parthenon Marbles (Chair: Kostas Arvanitis, University of Manchester)
George Vardas (Research Director of Australians for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures): ‘Who is afraid of the British Museum?’
Tor Einer Fagerland (Norwegian University of Science and Technology): ‘The Parthenon Marbles: national and global heritage in today’s Europe.’
Kalliopi Fouseki (Open University of Cyprus): ‘Displaying the Parthenon Marbles in the new Acropolis Museum: public perceptions within and outside the museum’s walls.’

10.30-12.00, Martin Harris Centre, G16a Seminar Room Digital, visual and knowledge repatriation II (Chair: tba)
Mark Turin (University of Cambridge): ‘Collect, protect, connect: the cultural politics of repatriation and curation in the digital age.’
Susan Rowley and Hannah Turner (University of British Columbia): ‘Developing the reciprocal research network.’
Friederike Krishnabhakdhi-Vasilakis (University of Wollongong, Australia): ‘The virtual museum of the Pacific: a digital ecosystem for a new museum environment.’

12.00-1.15, Conference Room: LUNCH

12.15-1.00, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Question & answer session (Organiser: David Glasser, Ben Uri Gallery) Discussion on museum responses to the protocols of Washington, Prague and the latest legislation.

1.15-3.00, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Africa and India (Chair: Laura Peers, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)
Charlotte Joy (University of Cambridge): ‘The empty museum: contestation over world heritage in Djenné, Mali.’
Johanna Zetterstrom (University College London): ‘Reanimating cultural heritage in Sierra Leone: a search for the “source community”.’
Rick Asher (University of Minnesota): ‘Indian art in US collections.’ (provisional title)
Aoiswarjya Kumar Das (National Museum Institute, New Delhi): ‘Politics of restitution of cultural properties: A south Asian dilemma.’

3.00-3.30, Conference Room: TEA

3.30-5.00, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
North America (Chair: Piotr Bienkowski, University of Manchester)
Helen Robbins (The Field Museum Chicago): ‘In consideration of restitution: understanding and transcending the limits of repatriation under NAGPRA.’
Emily Moore (University of California, Berkeley): ‘Propatriation: possibilities after NAGPRA.’
Laura Peers (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford): ‘Giving back: First Nations perceptions of restitution in two recent research projects.’
Sita Reddy (Smithsonian Institution): ‘Re-claiming culture: intangibles in museum restitution and repatriation.’

5-5.45pm, Kanaris Lecture Theatre
Conference closing session and discussion led by Maurice Davies (Museums Association)