December 16, 2015

Meet the 2015 Students of ARCA - Jess Kamphuis

How did you hear about ARCA? What were your motivations behind applying to the post-graduate program?

As an undergrad, I combined security studies and art history; it’s rare to find a program in which I can pursue both of these disciplines. I also spent last summer studying cultural protection in Malta, and visited Amelia to attend ARCA’s annual art crime conference. My experience at the conference this year was actually really different, having also attended the year before: instead of frantically trying to absorb all the knowledge and information being presented on, I found the content this year much more approachable, and could focus on networking.

How does your academic background correlate with the work you are doing in the program?

As a recent graduate, in school I studied cultural discourse and security studies with a minor in art history. After the program, I will leave for England to get my masters in transnational security. I approach cultural discourse as a theoretical construct, as a means of understanding how ideas and people move throughout the world and interact. Security studies is likewise a way of observing how power constructs are formed, how nations and resistance movements are established, and the ways in which people agreeing or not agreeing about things shapes culture, identity, and a subsequent need for varied approaches to security. A lot of my work focuses on subcultures and parallel political systems.

In the program, I have researched and studied cultural heritage trafficking and how the appropriation of someone else’s culture can create funding for criminal activity. This lack of regulation in the art market contributes to self regulation, where individuals or groups of individuals create their own policy. I find this fascinating in relation to resistance movements and the ways in which war and conflict influence art.

Can you briefly describe your understanding of the connection between art and war?

Well art has always been an integral part of war. War is used to define oneself against another, while art is valued reflection of history and culture. Art is at the basis of what war and conflict is aiming to disrupt through the destruction of people and their culture.

What has been your favorite thing about the program? About living in Amelia?

About the program? Definitely everyone that’s here. Professors and students alike are engaging in varied, interdisciplinary fields; not everyone comes from an art history background. I’m used to a competitive honors program, where people were worried about the theft of intellectual property and ensuring they were the most successful student in the course. There’s support here in the ARCA classroom; everyone is coming from different perspectives, wants everyone to succeed, and are happy to be resources in their respective fields.

I think Amelia is a small town that is intimate but dynamic, and definitely conducive to providing an ideal academic environment. It’s easy to slip by as an unnoticed foreigner in a big city, but here people get to know you and give you space to express your own originality.


ARCA is accepting applications for the 2016 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.  For more information on how to apply, please click here.