Showing posts with label ARCA lecturer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ARCA lecturer. Show all posts

March 19, 2017

Lecture: Criminals without Borders - The many profiles of the (il)licit antiquities trade.

For those interested interested in the realm of illicit trafficking who will be in Rome, Italy April 21, 2017 Lynda Albertson, ARCA's Chief Executive Officer will be giving a talk on "Criminals without Borders."

This one hour lecture, at 6:00 pm at John Cabot University will provide a brief overview of the profile of actors in the illicit art trade, giving examples of how those in the trade avoid detection and prosecution.

This presentation will discuss the motives of trafficking in art and antiquities, highlighting cases from source and conflict countries emphasizing that the trade thrives on commercial opportunity i.e., a means of dealing in high value commodities that are often poorly protected, difficult to identify and easy to transport across national boundaries.

Her presentation will examine specific case examples and will underscoring response mechanisms that work to proactively counter the illegal trade.

The discussion will highlight

--the interchangeable participants in the illicit antiquities trade
--varying motives/opportunities
--how connections through single interactions can form loosely based networks

Lynda Albertson is the CEO of ARCA — The Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a nongovernmental organisation which works to promote research in the fields of art crime and cultural heritage protection. The Association seeks to identify emerging and under-examined trends related to the study of art crime and to develop strategies to advocate for the responsible stewardship of our collective artistic and archaeological heritage. 

Ms. Albertson, through her role at ARCA seeks to influence policy makers, public opinion and other key stakeholders so that public policies are developed and based on apolitical evidence, and which addresses art crime prevention and the identification of art crimes in heritage preservation initiatives.

In furtherance of that, Ms. Albertson provides technical, scientific and regional expertise to national and international organizations such as UNESCO, CULTNET, ICOM, in furtherance of ARCA's heritage preservation mission.   For the past five years, Lynda has focused part of her work on fighting the pillage of ancient sites and trafficking of artifacts, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, conducting research on the illicit trade in antiquities in MENA countries. 

Ms. Albertson also oversees ARCA's inter NGO - Governmental engagement and capacity building in MENA countries in recognition of UN Security Council Resolution 2199, which among other provisions, bans all trade in looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria and encourages steps to ensure such items are returned to their homelands. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CET)
Guarini Campus
Via della Lungara, 233

February 1, 2015

ARCA Founder Noah Charney returns to Amelia for seventh year to teach "Art Forgers and Thieves" for the 2014 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

Noah Charney in Ghent
ARCA founder Noah Charney returns to Amelia for the seventh year to teach "Art Forgers and Thieves" for the 2014 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.

What is the relevancy of your course?

Art theft and forgery fascinate professional and the general public alike, but both fields have received relatively little in the way of scholarly study prior to the foundation of ARCA. This course will examine historical case studies of art theft and forgery from which we can glean more global lessons about both phenomena. What are the preferred modi operandi for art thieves and how can knowing them help us better secure our art collections? What is the most common confidence trick used by art forgers, and how can we guard against it? We will examine these questions through the context of fascinating historical case studies.

Why do you keep coming back to teach in Amelia?

I love teaching and I love Amelia. It's an ideal small Italian town, one which provides the true immersion experience in Italian life. It is gorgeous, charming, and the locals adopt our students as their own. It's a great place to spend a summer.

What do you hope students will get out of the course?

My students should, first and foremost, enjoy themselves enough that they don't realize just how much they are learning until the end of the program. Then everything will shift into place and they will realize that they are among a tiny group of fellow experts and program graduates who know more about this subject than anyone else in the world. It's a very empowering feeling. But during my course, I try to teach through engaging anecdotes, to which I tie in theory, which makes the lessons far easier to comprehend and retain. If a course is interesting enough, students learn without feeling like they are "Working."

What would a typical day be like in your classroom?

I tend to talk a lot, as I have a lot of stories to tell. I'm something of a performance junkie, so I'm jumping around in front of my slides, but then we always engage in group discussion. I feel that if there's anything a student has not understood, it is because I have not taught it well enough, and I say that on the first day. So it's up to me to lay out case studies as examples of theories in practice, to make complicated matters clear.

In anticipation of your course, what book, article, or movie would you recommend to students?

In an act of shameless self-promotion, I recommend that my students read my non-fiction books on the subject: Stealing the Mystic Lamb; The Thefts of the Mona Lisa; Art & Crime, and even The Wine Forger's Handbook. Rare wine counts as edible art!

January 16, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015 - , No comments

Introducing ARCA Lecturer Dr. Tom Flynn — ‘The International Art Market and Associated Risk’

Dr. Tom Flynn at Terni Waterfall
Tom will be returning to Amelia this year to teach ‘The International Art Market and Associated Risk’. The course provides a comprehensive overview of the art market’s historical evolution as well as an insight into its diverse business practices today. Students are introduced to the market’s key institutions, public and private, in order to develop a critical awareness of the inherent risks and rewards of art commerce. The lecture program seeks to create a relaxed space of intellectual inquiry and exchange in which students are able to ask testing questions of the status quo and to challenge received wisdom about the market and its institutions. Discussions usually continue beyond the classroom to create a continuous forum for debate and informal exchange of ideas. 

The course interweaves historical and contemporary strands with a view to understanding the evolution of the market’s core relationships and business practices and how these often inadvertently create an environment in which a range of unethical activities can occur. We explore how the European art market developed out of the princely and royal collections of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; its emergence as a commercial activity during the eighteenth century; the rise of the professional art dealer in the nineteenth century; and culminating in the globalization and ‘financialisation’ of the market during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Throughout, students are prompted to explore the relationship between the aesthetic and economic spheres in the creation of value and to develop an understanding of the art market as a nexus of socio-economic activity.

The teaching introduces students to: • a historical view of the economic, social, political and cultural forces that have contributed to the development of the art market. • the concept of connoisseurship and its relationship to a fast developing culture of scientific and forensic analysis. • the broad range of objects and ‘commodities’ that constitute the art market’s multiple categories and specialist sub-markets • the sociological make-up of the art market’s key actors and institutions, embracing artists, auction houses, art dealerships, museums, contemporary art consultants, insurance agents, investment fund managers, fair organisers, public relations specialists, legal advisors, art critics, and the commercial interdependence of market participants • the increasing importance of finance and investment strategies in the global art market, including the growing prominence of art funds, arbitrage activities, art finance, portfolio diversification, etc. • the increasingly global nature of the twenty-first century art market and the forces propelling the markets of the ‘emerging’ BRIC economies and beyond • new communication and information technologies and their impact on art business
What will be the focus in your course? As in past years, the main aim is to create a relaxed, interactive environment in which students can help each other learn through dialogue and creative exchange. The content is built around understanding the relationships between the key actors and institutions constituting today’s market. At every point, we seek to explore the complex interchange of price and value, and how these concepts are created and negotiated.
Do you have a recommended reading list that students can read before the course? I would recommend that students start keeping an eye on the online market reports from Bloomberg, the International New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Art Newspaper. A comprehensive reading list will be provided closer to the course commencing, but meanwhile any of the following titles would be worth looking at: Dempster, A., (Ed), (2014) Risk & Uncertainty in the Art World, Boomsbury, London; 
Gould, C. & Mesplède, S. (Eds) (2012) Marketing Art in the British Isles, 1800 to the Present: A Cultural History, London, Ashgate; 
Fletcher, P. & Helmreich, A. (Eds) (2011) The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London: 1850-1939, Manchester University Press; 
Degen, N. (Ed) (2013) The Market: Documents of Contemporary Art, London, Whitechapel; 
Barragán, P. (2008) The Art Fair Age, Milan, Charta; Flynn, T. & Barringer, T. (Eds) (1997) Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum, London, Routledge
The deadline for the 2014 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection is March 30, 2014. Late applications will continue through April 30, 2014 subject to census and housing availability. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until census is full so apply early. You may send inquiries to

Dr Tom Flynn, FRICS — Professional background
Tom is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at Kingston University, London where he directs the Masters course in Art & Business, and is Adjunct Associate Professor in the International Art Market at Richmond, the American International University in London. A former auctioneer and art market journalist, Tom writes and and lectures widely on the art market, art crime, art & technology, museums, cultural heritage and historical and contemporary sculpture. He holds degrees from Sussex University and the Royal College of Art and wrote his doctorate on nineteenth century critical attitudes to the chryselephantine sculpture of antiquity.

June 17, 2014

ARCA Lecturer Dorit Straus Elected to Board of Directors for AXA Art

Art insurance specialist AXA Art announced last week the election of fine art insurance expert Dorit Straus to its Board of Directors:
Ms. Straus is an accomplished professional with a successful career in providing solutions on art and insurance matters, globally. She is widely recognized for her expertise in insurance and risk transfer needs of museums and cultural institutions, auction houses, galleries and private collectors. She has broad proficiency in legal issues relating to confiscation, repatriation and provenance.... For over 30 years, Dorit Straus has been an important contributor to the fine art insurance industry. She has authored commentary on the implications of art theft on the insurance industry and on insuring art. She currently serves on the faculty of ARCA (the Association for Research on Crimes Against Art) teaching a course on art crime and insurance in Amelia, Italy.
Ms. Straus will teach "Insurance Claims and the Art Trade" in July. She also recently joined Chris Marinello at Art Recovery International.

March 2, 2014

Gurlitt Art Collection: ARCA Lecturer Dick Ellis interviewed by "Voice of Russia" about the general issues of art restitution

Richard Ellis, retired Scotland Yard detective
Voice of Russia features an exclusive interview with ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis in "Holocaust victims' heirs to reclaim Nazi-looted artwork if Gurlitt bill passed" (February 28, 2013):
An act allowing the heirs of Holocaust victims get more powerful leverage to claim their property, i.e. the works of art looted by the Nazis, is being debated by Bavarian legislature.The bill is named after Cornelius Gurliit - a Munich pensioner and owner of a spectacular collection of modernist paintings, drawings and watercolors. The Art Management Group and former Head of the Art and Antiques Union of Scotland Yard Richard Ellis and Gurlitt’s representative Stephan Holzinger explained to the Voice of Russia the legal aspects of the intricate "treasure hunt".
Mr. Ellis, who is not involved in the Gurlitt case according to the article, 'exclusively told the Voice of Russia that even if Germany will change its laws considering the looted art, the Gurlitt collection will remain out of legal prosecution.'

You can read the interview here.

February 15, 2014

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis will teach "Unravelling the Hidden Market of Illicit Antiquities: Lessons from Greece and Italy" for the 2014 ARCA Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis will return to Amelia this year to teach "Unravelling the Hidden Market of Illicit Antiquities: Lessons from Greece and Italy" from July 28-30 and August 4-6 in ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.

Dr. Tsirogiannis attended ARCA's International Art Crime Conference last year to accept the award for "Art Protection and Security" in recognition of his work of matching objects at auction with police-confiscated archives, leading to repatriations for Italy and Greece.

Christos, a Greek forensic archaeologist, studied archaeology and history of art in the University of Athens, then worked for the Greek Ministries of Culture and Justice from 1994 to 2008, excavating throughout Greece and recording antiquities in private hands. He voluntarily cooperated with the Greek police Art Squad on a daily basis (August 2004 - December 2008) and was a member of the Greek Task Force Team that repatriated looted, smuggled and stolen antiquities from the Getty Museum, the Shelby White/Leon Levy collection, the Jean-David Cahn AG galleries, and others.

Since 2007, Tsirogiannis has been identifying antiquities depicted in the confiscated Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives with those in museums (e.g. the Michael Carlos Museum in Atlanta, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), galleries (e.g. Cahn AG), auction houses (Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonhams), and private collections (e.g. those of Shelby White/Leon Levy, Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, George Ortiz). Notifying public prosecutor Dr. Paolo Giorgio Ferri and the Greek authorities has led to repatriations (e.g. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome). He received his Ph.D. last October at the University of Cambridge, on the international illicit antiquities network viewed through the Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides archive.

What will be the focus in your course?
The trafficking of antiquities internationally, focusing on the last 50 years, and especially the developments in the illicit trade since 2005, using case studies throughout. We will start with a historical introduction, then survey the leading dealers of the international market. The central session of the course will consider the roles of auction houses, museums and galleries. Focusing on Greece, Italy, the UK and the USA, we will discuss the level of proof needed for a successful claim and repatriation, before we examine various strategies proposed for regulating the market in the future. Lectures will be combined with interactive discussion sessions.
Do you have a recommended reading list that students can read before the course?
CHIPPINDALE, CHRISTOPHER & DAVID W. J. GILL. 2000. Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting, American Journal of Archaeology 104:463-511.
MEYER, KARL E. 1977. The Plundered Past. Atheneum (NY): Hamish Hamilton. 
O’KEEFE, PATRICK J. 1997. Trade in Antiquities: Reducing Destruction and Theft. London: Archetype Publications and UNESCO.
RENFREW, A. COLIN. 2006. Loot, legitimacy and ownership. London: Duckworth.
*WATSON, PETER & CECILIA TODESCHINI. 2007. The Medici conspiracy. New York (NY): Public Affairs.
Here's a link to a 2012 BBC interview with Christos Tsirogiannis.

The deadline to apply to the ARCA program in Umbria is March 1. You may send inquiries to

February 11, 2014

A.J.G. "Edgar" Tijhuis Returns to Amelia to Teach "Transnational Organized Crime and Art'

Edgar Tijhuis, lawyer and assistant-professor of Criminology at the VU University in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, will return to Amelia for the sixth year to teach “Transnational Organized Crime and Art” (June 16-20) for ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies.

Tijhuis, the author of Transnational Crime and the Interface between Legal and Illegal Actors – The Case of the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trade (Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2006), published a chapter in Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009), “Who Is Stealing All Those Paintings?” He is also associated with the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement in Amsterdam.

What makes your course relevant in the study of art crime?

The current literature on art crime gives us some idea of art crimes that are committed all over the world. However, it is far less clear who is involved and how these crimes are organized. In this course we will look at art crime from a criminological perspective and focus on these issues. What kind of people are actually involved in specific types of art crime: organized crime, insiders, petty thieves, quaint characters, terrorists or all of them? And how can we explain their involvement in these crimes? Criminological theories and models help to answer these questions. This approach makes the course very relevant as it tries to fill the gap that is left between research from lawyers, archaeologists and others. Finally, trying to figure out who is involved and why, helps to define criteria for the most fruitful policies to deal with the problem of art crime.

Do you have a recommended reading list that students can read before the course?

A good starter would be "The Medici Conspiracy" by Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini. This landmark study touches upon many very important issues that we will deal with in this course.

Please give us a snapshot of a day in your classroom about what students might learn on a given day.  

Students will learn about a wide array of topics. Among other things, students will get a crash course of criminological theories spanning over 200 years and apply these theories to cases of art crime. We will dive into the world of transnational crime, from the trade in blood diamonds to arms trafficking and terrorism. And we will look at the process of "laundering" hot art and integrating it in the legitimate market.

What is your current area of focus as related to art crime?

At VU University I'm supervising a Phd study by Ruth Godthelp. She is analysing the nature of art crimes in the Netherlands. She is also a member of the heavy crimes (or serious and organised crime) unit of the Amsterdam Police Department (where she's combatting art crimes on a daily basis) and has built a unique database of over 4000 art crimes. Furthermore, I'm working with Jasper van der Kemp, who is specialising in profiling) We search for ways to profile art crimes, both big museum thefts as well as series of thefts from churches, libraries etc. Finally, I'm working on a book on histories of transnational crime, which will include an overview of over 2000 years of art crimes by Noah Charney.

September 17, 2011

Judge Arthur Tompkins Lectures on 'Stealing Beauty' at the University of Auckland Law School on October 6

Judge Arthur Tompkins, an instructor in ARCA's academic program, will be discussing 'Stealing Beauty' at the University of Auckland Law School on Friday October 6.

The lecture will be held at 1 p.m. at Northey Lecture Theatre (further information may be found at

Judge Arthur Tompkins is a Disrict Court Judge in New Zealand. He has presented at numerous international conferences and workshops, in New Zealand and elsewhere, on a variety of topics, including international art crime. Each year he teaches Art in War at the Summer Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Heritage Protection Studies, presented annually by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art ( in Umbria, Italy.
"Art always suffers during wartime. From the sack of the Temple of Solomon, through the many crimes committed against the Ghent Altarpiece, and the depredations of Napoleon and Hitler across Europe, this has always been so. This lecture will survey fascinating examples of these sorts of crimes, the people involved, and some of the stories and myths surrounding them. 
As well as the Ghent Altarpiece, the lecture will include the long history of the Four Horses of San Marco's Basilica in Venice, the theft of Veronese's Wedding at Cana, the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the miracle of the Alt Aussee salt mine, the survival of the Sarajevo Haggadah, and the bizarre story connecting Goya, the Duke of Wellington, James Bond, and television licensing fees."

February 27, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Judge Arthur Tompkins Reviews "The Taste of Angels" and "Art Plunder: The Fate of Works of Art in War and Unrest"

In the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Judge Arthur Tompkins reviews "The Taste of Angels" (First American Edition; Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1948) by Francis Henry Taylor and "Art Plunder: The Fate of Works of Art in War and Unrest" (John Day, New York, 1961) by Wilhelm Treue and translated by Basil Creighton.

Although both of these books are out of print, they can be found from second-hand internet-based booksellers, and are valuable sources for any student of art crime, writes Judge Tompkins.

In "The Taste of Angels", a former director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art surveys the history of art collecting across a wide variety of settings, including the Pharaohs in Egypt, through the Hellenic and Roman Civilizations,the Italy of the Renaissance,the Medicis and the Papacy, and on to the fall of Napoleon.

Wilhelm Treue's small (250 pages) work is an illuminating precursor to the modern study of art crime. According to Judge Tompkins, "it is probably the earliest work of serious scholarship that sets out to encompass, in a coherent form, the long history of art crimes committed during times of war."

Judge Arthur Tompkins has been a District Court Judge in New Zealand for 11 years, having been appointed in 1997. He gained his Bachelor's degree in Law from Canterbury University, in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1983, and subsequently graduated Masters in Law, with First Class Honors, from Cambridge University, England, in 1984. He has taught the Law of Evidence, and presented at numerous conferences and workshops on a variety of topics, including art crime, expert evidence, the intersect between law and science in courtroom, and forensic DNA, in New Zealand, China, England, Ireland, France, and Italy. He is an Honorary Member of Interpol's DNA Monitoring Expert Group, and an elected Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. He teaches "Art in War" at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection in Amelia each summer.

To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

January 18, 2011

Profile: ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis speaks about "Art Policing and Investigation:

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Former Detective Sergeant Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad, will be returning to Amelia next summer to teach “Art Policing and Investigation” from August 1 through August 12 at ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies.

Mr. Ellis ran the Art & Antiquities Squad for New Scotland Yard from 1989 until his retirement from the police in 1999. After working for Christie’s fine Art Security Services and Trace recovery services, in 2005 he joined with security and conservation specialists to form the Art Management Group. He is also director of Art Resolve and Art Retrieval International Ltd.

As a specialist art crime investigator both in the police and in the private sector, Mr. Ellis has been involved in many notable recoveries such as ‘The Scream’ stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in 1994, Audobon’s ‘Birds of America’ stolen from the State Library in St. Petersburg, antiquities looted from China and Egypt as well as the recovery of numerous items of art and antiquities stolen from private residences throughout the United Kingdom and abroad including in 2005 silver stolen Stanton Harcourt and in 2006 paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard and Duffy stolen in London.

ARCA blog: Mr. Ellis, how would you describe the scope of your course? And how can students best prepare for your class?
Mr. Ellis: In scope, I have tried to ensure that my course gives the students a clear understanding of the breadth of cultural property crime, the responsibilities of the police/law enforcement nationally and internationally and the legal basis upon which investigations are built. The art market is global and cultural property crime mirrors this in every way, from theft and the disposal of the stolen objects, to fraud and the faking and forging of cultural objects. For a criminal investigation to be successful it is essential that the investigator understands how to project the investigation in to other jurisdictions, how evidence is legally obtained and then presented in courts foreign jurisdiction.
ARCA blog: In your course, you speak about working closely with former smuggler and Dutch art dealer Michel van Rijn. Does he still help the authorities and are you still in contact with him?
Mr. Ellis: I use Michel van Rijn to illustrate not only the importance of "informants" to the criminal investigator, but also the problems that "informants" can create for an investigator and hence the care that must be used when dealing with such individuals. I play an interview that I recorded with Michel in 2004 at the request of the Dutch Government, which was played to an EU conference to illustrate how criminals fabricate provenance and the difficulties that this presents for all those involved in cultural property. I am still in contact with Michel, which provides me with a constant insight in to the darker side of the art market. Michel will of course help the authorities if it is in his interest to do so and this is another reason why I introduce him to the students. Understanding why people become informants is essential to being able to use them and the information that they provide safely and legally and this is another part of the scope of my course. Understanding why people become involved in cultural property crimes, their motives and expectations will assist the investigator in reaching a successful outcome to a case.
ARCA blog: In the past three decades, do you think police agencies are more or less interested in investigating stolen art and antiquities? Do you think there are more resources out there today? What role does the Internet play in investigations today?
Mr. Ellis: The past three decades has been interesting in respect of the response to cultural property crime by the police in many countries. At the start of the 1980's there was little interest in this area of crime with the exception of Italy, who throughout this time have devoted considerable resources to protecting their cultural property and investigating those responsible for the theft of it. In 1984 the art squad at Scotland Yard was actually closed and its 14 detectives were dispersed on to other crime squads. In the USA the FBI had no dedicated team and only in the police departments in New York and Los Angeles was there any recognition that art and antique crime posed a problem. It was largely due to the restructuring of the art market during the 1980's and the rapid increase in prices that this generated that criminals recognised the potential in art crime. The resulting increase in crime forced law enforcement to adjust and review the situation.

By the end of the 1980's I had reformed the art squad at New Scotland Yard, the FBI in New York were handling an increasing number of international requests through one dedicated office and in Los Angeles an art detail was put in place run by a detective Bill Martin who was later appointed to the President's advisory panel on cultural property crime. During the 1990's more countries recognised cultural property crime as a problem and with the end of the cold war and the opening of international borders the trafficking of cultural property crime grew rapidly becoming a major concern.

The introduction of computer systems during this period, which recorded and made accessible information on stolen objects was a major step forward and Interpol has been able to provide a central record of at least the most important stolen cultural property. France, Italy, the USA and a handful of other countries developed their own databases of stolen cultural property supported by dedicated investigators. UNESCO developed a programme of workshops through which it was able to raise awareness of cultural property crime and by utilising the help of specialist police officers such as myself, it delivered a programme designed to assist countries in protecting their cultural heritage.

There followed a number of high profile cases which illustrated how with the cooperation of these dedicated national squads successful prosecutions could be achieved such as the recovery of the Scream and the prosecution of Tokeley Parry and Fred Schultz to name but two of my own cases. However, as we entered the new millennium, other international crimes overtook cultural property crime in importance for law enforcement. Drug trafficking, people trafficking and terrorism now occupy the top three positions and with the global economic crisis financial fraud has also moved above cultural property crime in importance and I fear that we shall see a gradual reduction in the number of specialist officers dedicated to cultural property crimes. This makes the work of ARCA all the more important as the private sector will now be required to handle the many crimes and disputes left untouched by law enforcement and only through some serious academic research to demonstrate the true scale of the problem that cultural property posses will governments and law enforcement agencies be persuaded to direct more of their limited resources to it. The internet offers a fantastic tool for the investigator in terms of information about objects and where they are appearing on the market for sale. It does not however replace the need to actually talk to victims of crime or to interview those in possession of disputed items in order to reach some kind of resolution to a dispute. These are skills that you can only gain by actually doing the job and no amount of internet research will give you those skills.

Finally and in answer to the last part of your first question, "How can students best prepare for your class?" I would suggest that they cover as many art thefts and investigations as they can find in books and on the internet. To keep an open mind on who has committed the crime and not to be influenced by the often ill-informed opinions of the journalists. To read "The Irish Game" by Mathew Hart, which sets out probably the most thoroughly investigated art thefts of a single collection and gives a good insight in to who commits such crimes and how the criminal has arrived at the routes to market available to them for iconic works of art. A topic to be covered in my class.
ARCA blog: Thank you, Mr. Ellis.

The application for the postgraduate program in Art Crime Studies and Cultural Heritage Protection is this Friday on January 21.