Manchester conference on Museums and Restitution

Manchester University is organising a conference on Museums and Restitution. One fo the speakers at the conference will be George Vardas from the Australian Committee. The event will also be attended by Fabrizio Micalizzi from the Swiss Committee.

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

Registration

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,
Manchester
M13 9PL
UK.

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

Read the original announcement here.

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