News

General news items

Australian government ministers call for the return fo the Parthenon Marbles

Two Australian government ministers have called for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.

Ministers lose their marbles

Gemma Jones Political Reporter

July 12, 2010 12:00AM

THE state’s infrastructure is creaking, public transport is overloaded and the hospital system is sick – but two Government ministers seem more interested in 2500-year-old marbles.

Arts Minister Virginia Judge and Local Government Minister Barbara Perry have decided to dabble in foreign affairs by demanding the return of the Elgin Marbles.

The marbles are sculptures and panels that were removed from the ancient Parthenon, in Athens, by Thomas Bruce, the seventh earl of Elgin, in 1801.

Bruce sold them to the British government and Greece has long demanded that the “Parthenon Marbles” – as it prefers to call them – be returned from the British Museum in London, where they now reside.

Ms Judge accused the museum of acting like “some colonial power” and called on Britain to return the sculptures. Ms Perry also waded in and said: “I hope the message from this Parliament will be heard in Britain.”

But in the two weeks since they spoke in Parliament, Britain appears not to have heard their plea.

An international campaign to have Britain return the marbles has been waged for years and both ministers said they had raised the issue on behalf of their thousands of Greek constituents.

“I do not ask the British Museum to return a vase or some statue with a missing limb. I ask it to return half the Parthenon, return it to Greece so it may be reunited with the rest of itself,” Ms Judge told parliament.

“It would be like having the Mona Lisa displayed in the Louvre, in Paris, while her smile is displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in London.”

Ms Judge’s office said support for the return of the sculptures had also been raised in Federal Parliament by a Liberal MP.

A spokeswoman said 3000 Greeks lived in Ms Judge’s electorate of Strathfield and many had asked her to raise their plight in parliament.

“The president of the International Committee for the Parthenon Marbles, David Hills, also asked the Minister to raise the issue and was in Parliament when she made her speech,” she said.

Ms Perry added: “NSW has a very large Greek-Australian population, a lot of whom live in my electorate of Auburn. Many in the local Greek population are rightly concerned about this ongoing international issue. I simply put forward their views.”

Read the original article here.

The New Acropolis Museum celebrates its first birthday

It is now one year since the official opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. almost eveyone who has visited since then is in agreement that the new museum presents an extremely persuasive argument for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

06/23/2010

New Acropolis Museum celebrates first anniversary

More than two million people have visited the new Museum of the Acropolis during its first year of operation, according to figures presented by the museum to mark the first anniversary since it first opened to the public on June 20, 2009.

The museum’s board chairman Prof. Demetris Pandermalis said the museum received a total of 2,010,641 visitors in that time, had set research and scientific goals, made progress in the area of conservation and also in educational programmes.

He also announced the launch of the museum’s first touring exhibition “Pericles Xanthippos” on June 20. This uses archaeological finds such as inscriptions, coins and other artifacts to illustrate and explore the life of the famous ancient Athenian statesman, the man who led Athens during its ‘Golden Age’ and who conceived the idea of building the Parthenon. The exhibition will run until January 31, 2011.

The Acropolis Museum is the first public museum in the country that operates as a public-sector legal entity and its aim is to cover its costs with its own revenues as much as possible. It currently employs a staff of 200, some of whom are contract workers and civil servants detached from the culture ministry. It currently covers its public utility bills on its own and gets financial assistance from the Organisation for the Building of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA).

Once a presidential degree on the operation of the museum is completed, following delays caused by the change of ministers and government, this will allow the museum to address the issue of hiring managerial staff and the position of the director will be proclaimed.

Pandermalis also referred to the museum’s medical unit and in-house doctor, noting that this had dealt with 377 incidents from November 1, 2009 until May 31, 2010, of which 67 percent were visitors to the museum.

The ticket will remain at 5 euros in 2011, by decision of the museum’s board, while it has also allowed the lease of the restaurant and cafe area on terms decided by the museum management.

Read the original article here.

Richard Allan, founder of the Marbles Reunited campaign is to become a life peer

Marbles Reunited campaign founder, the former MP Richard Allen has been made a life peer in the House of Lords in the diissolution honours list.

Dissolution honours: the full list of new peers

This is the full list of the new members of the House of Lords created in the Dissolution Honours.

Published: 8:00AM BST 29 May 2010

[...]

Liberal Democrat life peers:

Richard Allan, Nick Clegg’s predecessor in Sheffield Hallam and Chairman of the Information Select Committee.

[...]

Read the full article here.

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.

Nick Clegg - Britain's best option for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures?

Out of the candidates in the upcoming UK general election, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats party has spoken out vociferously in the past in favour of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, as shown in this press release from 2002.

Embargo:    00.01, Wednesday 29th May, 2002

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SHOWS SUPPORT FOR THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES – RICHARD ALLAN MP

Today, the (Parthenon) Marbles in Exile Conference and Exhibition will take place at the European Parliament.  Nick Clegg MEP, chair of the Marbles in Exile Conference, says:

“I am thrilled by the positive response across Europe to this issue. After all, it’s about preserving our common European heritage. It is absurd that the Parthenon monument remains torn apart in this way. Imagine the outrage in Britain if Big Ben’s clock face was taken from Westminster and housed in the Prado museum in Spain.”

Richard Allan MP, initiator of Parthenon 2004, says

“The issue of cultural restitution is gaining more and more importance worldwide. The United Kingdom should not shy away from this debate, which is a natural consequence of increasing international cooperation.

“The Olympic Games will provide the perfect opportunity for the United Kingdom to make such a historic but also forward looking gesture.  It will show Britain is firmly committed to being a part of Europe and appreciates the interests of her fellow European countries.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Marbles in Exile, European Parliament

The Marbles in Exile conference will take place on May 29th from 5pm to 7pm.  It will be hosted by five MEPs – Alexondras Alavanos MEP, GUEINGL, Dimitrios Tsatsos MEP, PES, Stavros Xarchakos MEP, EPP, Nicholas Clegg MEP, ELDR, Nuala Ahern MEP, GREENS. Mr Poettering MEP, leader of the EPP the largest political group in the European Parliament will participate in the conference.

This will be followed by the inauguration of the photographic exhibition on the Parthenon sculptures by the Greek Minister for Culture, Professor Evangelos Venizelos and the European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Viviane Reding. The President of the European Parliament, Mr Pat Cox, is expected to attend the exhibition, which is presented in collaboration with the Melina Mercouri Foundation and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. It will highlight the parts of the monument which have been separated from the monument.

Speakers at the conference include Jules Dassin (President of the Melina Mercouri Foundation), Prof A Delivorlas (Director of Benaki Museum, Athens), Prof Dr WD Heilmeyer (Director of Archaelogical Museum of Berlin), Jack Lang (Former Minister of National Education, France), Prof St Miller (Dept of Classics – University of California, Berkeley), and Professor A. Snodgrass (Chairman of the British Committee for the

Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles)

Previously, the European Union has made two declarations supporting the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, the first was signed by 252 MEPs and the second had 347 signatories.

Other European Campaigns

The Belgian Parthenon 2004 Campaign was launched on 13 March 2002 by two Belgian senators, Francois Roelands du Vivier and Paul Wille. They are currently collecting signatures of support for return of the Parthenon Marbles, so far this has numbered a thousand which includes 155 MPs (out of a possible total of 225). The signatories of support from all over Belgium will be collected and given to the UK ambassador in Belgium after the summer.

The Cypriot Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles was launched on April 17th 2002 and in June 18-23 Nicosia will host the marbles in Exile exhibition.

Ministers of Culture and Ministers of Sports of the South Eastern European Countries participated in an informal meeting held in Thessaloniki on 22nd and 23rd February 2002.  Here they pledged their support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles back to Athens by the time of the Olympics Games in 2004.

Other international campaigns

On March 21, 2002, the Quebec National Assembly became the first North American legislature to formally express support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.  The following motion received unanimous approval and was supported by the Minister of Culture, ” That this Assembly supports Greece’s request for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles by expressing its deep wish that this common heritage of the humanity may be returned to its place of origin in time for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.”

There are active and prominent Committees for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles in Canada, Australia, the United States and New Zealand.

You can read more detail about this here.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer