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Museums and Restitution

Museums and Restitution (2013-14)

Lead Researchers: Dr Louise Tythacott (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London) and Dr Kostas Arvanitis (Centre for Museology, Institute for Cultural Practices, The University of Manchester)

Museums and restitution conference banner

The conference brought together 107 museum professionals, policy makers, consultants, academics and postgraduate students

Project summary

Dr Kostas Arvanitis (Centre for Museology Institute for Cultural Practices, University of Manchester) and Dr Louise Tythacott (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London) organised in collaboration with the Manchester Museum an international conference on 'Museums and Restitution', on 8th-9th July 2010.

The conference brought together 107 museum professionals, policy makers, consultants, academics and postgraduate students from around the world (Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Nigeria, Norway, UK and USA) to examine the issue of restitution in relation to the changing role and authority of the museum, focusing on new ways in which these institutions are addressing the subject. The 30 presented papers were structured around 8 themes: Power, Politics Authority; Reflections on returns; Digital, visual and knowledge repatriation; Local and national power relations; Second World War spoliation; The Parthenon Marbles; Africa and India; and North America. Speakers included:

  • Kokie Agbontaen-Eghafona (University of Benin)
  • Tristram Besterman (writer, adviser and mediator on museums and cultural issues)
  • Neil Curtis (Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen)
  • Maurice Davies (Museums Association)
  • Eava-Kristiina Harlin and Anne May Olli (Norwegian Sámi museum RiddoDuottarMuseat)
  • Jonathan King (British Museum)
  • Eleni Korka (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
  • Conal McCarthy (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Laura Peers (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
  • Helen Robbins (The Field Museum, Chicago)
  • Sophia Sambono (National Film and Sound Archive, Australia)

The conference included a reception with films relating to restitution and a Q+A session with Andrew Dismore, former MP for Hendon, who introduced and steered recent legislation on the return of cultural objects (The Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Bill), Charles Goldstein, Counsel for the Commission for Art Recovery, and Freda Matassa, an Expert Adviser to the Minister of Culture on Immunity from Seizure applications. The closing session of the conference was chaired by the Deputy Director of the UK Museums Association.

Download the Conference Handbook (including the conference schedule, abstracts and speakers' biographies)

Publications and other outputs

Museums and Restitution book cover

The book was published by Ashgate in September 2014

Audience attending a conference lecture in Manchester Museum

Presentations were held in Manchester Museum's Kanaris Lecture Theatre

Book

Tythacott, L. and Arvanitis, K. (eds). 2014. Museums and Restitution: New Practices, New Approaches. London: Ashgate

Book reviews

Mireille Lamontagne (2015) Museums and restitution: new practices, new approaches, Museum Management and Curatorship, 30:2, 169-171

Bealby, M. S.; Louise Tythacott and Kostas Arvanitis (eds.); Museums and Restitution: New Practices, New Approaches. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited 2014 Rosetta 17: 132 – 136

Conference paper

'Reflections on the Museums and Restitution Conference 8 - 9 July 2010, University of Manchester', Museums Association Conference, 4 - 6 October 2010

Review of conference