Showing posts with label Amelia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amelia. Show all posts

February 2, 2020

Dick Drent returns to Amelia to teach "risk management and crime prevention in museum security” at ARCA's 2020 Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

By Edgar Tijhuis

This year, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection will be held from May 28 through August 12, 2020 in the beautiful heart of Umbria in Amelia, Italy. In the months leading up to the start of the program, this year’s lecturers will be interviewed. This week I speak Dick Drent, the Van Gogh Museum's former security director and on of the worlds leading experts on museum security.

Dick Drent
Though Dick and I both located in Amsterdam, I have to this interview via Skype as Dick is constantly flying around the world to assist museums from the US to the Far East and in between. When I talk with him to discuss his return to Amelia in 2020, Dick is heading for Dubai and Abu Dhabi as the first two emirates to talk about bringing proactive security to the UAE. Soon to follow by the other emirates.

Can you tell us something about your background and work?

My background is based on law enforcement with the Dutch police, where I worked for 25 years, mainly involving international investigations hinging on organised crime. In that capacity I worked for 15 years in the Undercover and Sensitive Operations Unit on counter-terrorism projects and on setting up, running and managing (inter)national infiltration projects. I also worked as the Liaison Officer for the Dutch Police to the UN War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, a tribunal set up in 1992 for the prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law set up following the war in what is the former Yugoslavia.

In 2005 I was approached by the Van Gogh Museum to serve as their Director of Security, responsible for dealing with their threat and risk issues as it relates to the museum’s complex physical security as well as it's the museum’s approach to organizational, construction and electronic risk management. Leading up to my hire, these were not sufficient for a museum of this calibre and had resulted in the 2002 burglary of the museum in which two Van Gogh paintings were stolen. So, I was mandated to change and overhaul the museum’s overall security which I did, developing and implementing a new proactive security strategy which effectively assessed risk and minimized the potential of future breaches. Next to that I was pinpointed as chief investigator with the goal of getting the museum's two stolen Van Gogh paintings back. In 2016 after many years of tracing and tracking tips, gathering information, connecting with informants and conducting investigations all over Europe we were ultimately successful. Fourteen years after the robbery, and in close cooperation with Italy’s Guardia Di Finanza of Naples, we were able to recover the paintings at a house connected to one of the bosses of the Camorra organized crime clans in Naples. There, the paintings were seized by law enforcement authorities and when authenticated, were returned to the Van Gogh Museum where they have been restored and are now once again a part of the museum’s collection.

Recovery of the Van Gogh's
In 2014 I left the Van Gogh Museum to further develop my own business enterprise where I continue to be successful in an advisory and consultancy capacity, a segment of which is specialized on providing security and risk training as it relates to protecting cultural heritage. I have also expanded my company Omnirisk through a merger with the International Preventive Security Unit (IPSU) where knowledge and expertise is combined. We will operate under the name International Security Expert Group. (ISEG). ISEG works with experts from law enforcement and special forces from the military and will cover the full range of training and courses in security and safety for any situation in the world. Next to this I’m still busy with assisting museums and cultural projects all over the world to improve their security. At the moment I’m in touch with Mark Collins, a law enforcement officer from Canada and an ARCA alumnus, to set up training programs on proactive security in Canada.

What do you feel is the most relevant part of your course?


Dick Drent on a field trip during the
2019 program
As it relates to my course with ARCA, aside from creating security awareness in the broadest sense of the word, especially for those participants who have no security experience in their backgrounds, the most relevant part of my course involves a change of mindset. This is done by literally letting them climb into the skin of the criminal or terrorist, where they are asked to assume an adversarial role or point of view in order to understand how easy it is to commit an art-related crime. By considering, how they themselves would set about attacking a museum or an archaeological site or infiltrating a private institution with the intent and goal of stealing or destroying something, they are better able to see and understand the site's security vulnerabilities, by simulating a real-world attack to evaluate the effectiveness of a site’s security defenses and policies.

What do you hope participants will get out of your course? 

I want them to understand that the protection of cultural heritage doesn’t begin with chasing stolen, falsified, counterfeited, looted, plundered or destroyed art or heritage. I want them to learn that it starts with thinking about threats and actors, and risk in advance of an incident and exploring how we can prevent incidents before they happen. By changing from a reactive method of security as we know it, ergo, reacting to incidents after they occur, where, per definition, you are already too late to have prevented it), to a proactive strategy is what is needed for comprehensive security strategies. Pro-activity involves identifying the hazardous conditions that can give rise to all manner of risk, which we address in a variety of methods, including predictive profiling, red teaming, utilizing security intelligence and other proactive approaches which lead to the actual protection of cultural heritage.

A second thing I know for sure the participants come away with from my course is that when finished they will have a strong understanding of how security should, or more correctly, has to be an intrinsic part of any organisation. It’s not unusual for those who study under me, to say afterwards that they will never be able to walk into museum again without looking for the security issues at hand and in their head making a survey how easy it would be too…… For them, the days of solely enjoying a museum or art will be over. Forever.

In anticipation of your courses, what book, article, or movie would you recommend to participants? 

Next to reading everything that is mentioned on the advanced reading lists we provide to participants, I would highly recommend reading the book: Managing the Unexpected (2007) by Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe. This book discusses the ideas behind the High Reliability Organization (HRO) and it's principles. In my opinion every organization that is involved in the protection of cultural heritage, should be managed as an HRO. Read it and you will find out why.

Is there anything you can recommend about the program or about it being in Amelia or Umbria? 

Coffee break during the conference
An added value to your investment in following this program in Amelia is the opportunity to develop one’s network with other participants and with all the professors and lectures who come to Umbria because of ARCA and the ARCA conference. This sometimes isn’t obvious in the beginning, but I am still in contact with a lot of the participants and presenters from the previous year’s courses and conferences and have also been able to connect them to other people in my network long after the summer is over. So, for a future career, even it is not clear yet what or how that career will look, this program offers opportunities too good not to make use of! Tip: Print business cards to give to the people you contact and ask for theirs. Make them notice you, by your questions and drive to learn

Regarding Amelia, Umbria and of course Italy as a whole, there are not enough words even to begin to explain why someone should travel around in this big playground where every stone represents a part of history. Not to mention the beautiful food, wines and various dishes they serve in all the different regions and the friendship you can experience if you are really interested in the people and the country. It’s worth soaking up and living it!

What is your experience with the yearly ARCA conference in June?

Throughout the years that the Amelia Conference has taken place, I have watched it become more and more focused and specialized. The number of attendees has also grown from 40-50 at its start to well over 150 attendees, even without using publishing or marketing tools. That is what a conference should be about, interesting topics, good speakers, interesting discussions and the opportunity to network and get to know people. Due to my work, I am not always able to attend every year and feel this as a missed opportunity to grow and to extend my knowledge and network. For the participants it is very important to be there and to connect with the people that could be interesting for their line of work or career or just because it is good to meet interesting people. This applies also the other way around. I’m looking forward to meeting all of the participants during this coming 2020 program!

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For a detailed prospectus and application materials or for general questions about this postgraduate program please contact us at education@artcrimeresearch.org 

Edgar Tijhuis is Academic Director at ARCA and visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology in Ljubljana. He is responsible for the postgraduate certificate program in the study of art crime and cultural heritage protection. Since 2009, Edgar Tijhuis has taught criminology modules within the ARCA program.

January 17, 2020

Marc Balcells comes to Amelia this summer to teach on the criminology of art crimes at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection


By Edgar Tijhuis

This year, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection will be held from May 28 through August 12, 2020 in the beautiful heart of Umbria in Amelia, Italy.

In the months leading up to the start of the program, this year’s lecturers will be interviewed. This week I meet professor Marc Balcells, one of the world’s leading scholars on art crime.

Can you tell us something about your background and work?

I am a professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and an associate professor at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). I teach criminology and criminal law. I hold degrees in Criminology, Law and Human Sciences, as well as a Masters in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. I also hold a PhD in Criminal Justice. My research focuses mostly around transnational and organized crime, mostly related to cultural heritage crime, among other topics in criminology that I am researching as we speak, such as sexual abuse in the church and cybercrime.

What do you feel is most relevant about your course? 

The course changed drastically last edition. Before, it was all about criminological theory applied to cultural heritage crime. But I felt a responsibility with my students regarding teaching them how to design and conduct good research in this field, always within a criminological angle.  That is, instead of piling up information on any given art crime that will probably be collected from books and newspapers, the course gives participants tools to conduct serious quantitative or qualitative research and learn how to design a research project within the field of cultural heritage crime. Challenging participants to see what serious research they are able to conduct in order to improve our knowledge on this field is essential! And of course, in the meantime participants not only learn about cultural heritage crime but also about criminology and criminological theory, using other crimes as examples of crime in general, as it is one of our everyday realities that we must live with. Last edition we worked with seminal articles and books that explored cultural heritage crime: in 2020 we have more new articles and academic books exploring forgeries, art theft or looting (to name a few) which are important as they can be used by students to see how research is being conducted in this field.

The 2019 class with Marc Balcells..
What do you hope participants will get out of the courses? 

A fascination for a criminological point of view when analyzing cultural heritage crime, as well as an enchantment with the field of criminology and a fascination for the craft of research. Again, it is very important to have a knowledge not only about the existing literature but also on how to produce more research like the one that is being disseminated in conferences and academic journals and books. I do hope to train more and more serious and disciplined researchers in this fascinating field.

What would a typical day be like in your classroom?

A dialogue between myself and the students. I do ask a lot of questions in order to prompt debate: getting to know what participants think about on different topics is very enriching. But I also like to challenge them and to see how they research art theft, or looting, to name two crimes, by giving them research examples and seeing how they would improve them or simply do things differently. Gathering data on cultural heritage crime is not always easy (on the contrary!) and we researchers struggle finding them: the opinion of the students is always valuable.
The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime..
While each year participants are very enthusiastic about your course, is there anything that you learn from them in class?

So many things! Go figure: as I said, over the years I gather brilliant insights from students that are original and intelligent. Participants must know that before I became a professor in this degree, I was a student in it: I have sat on both sides of the classroom and, therefore, I do know what is to be a student and what I wanted from a professor when I was studying. I am not only a professor on the ARCA Program but I am a graduate of it! 

I am inquisitive by nature, but much more in class. I love to ask questions and see their points of view. Also, I do love to meet with the participants after classes and enjoy a tea with them while chatting about art crime in general or helping them with their projects.

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

In my case, I would recommend that they read academic research produced by scholars in whichever field of cultural heritage crime they are interested in. I can assure you that they are as fascinating as any other art crime book that is being written by journalists, for example. Therefore, I would recommend they read everything that interests them, but mainly within academia. Right now I am reading the Trafficking Culture’s book Trafficking Culture: New Directions in Researching the Global Market in Illicit  Antiquities, and Hufnagel and Chappell’s The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime, both new additions to academic literature published in 2019.

Field trips..
What makes the annual ARCA program so unique?

Let’s say it like this: it is the intensity. Where else can you learn so much, working with top experts in this field? It is intensive and complete and, at the same time, it immerses you in the local culture of Amelia! Field trips organized by the program gives participants the in-depth experience needed to grasp most of the subjects discussed in the courses. It is the perfect setting!

Which other course in the program would you love to follow yourself and why? 

So many. Since I was once an ARCA participant myself, new courses have developed, and I would love, especially, to attend Professor Christos Tsirogiannis’ course on the hidden market of illicit antiquities. I admire his work and he is a great colleague. He was a great help with my earlier research and I could not be more grateful. He is widely acknowledged as an expert in the field and his media attention and the scope of his work is simply amazing! Again, it is the living proof of what I mentioned in my previous answer. Learning all about antiquities trafficking with Professor Tsirogiannis in Italy is an opportunity not to be missed!

Amelia...
Is there anything you can recommend to future participants of things to do in Amelia or Umbria? 

Come with an open and ready mind. Learn the culture of the place in which you will be living during your summer there. And be ready to learn a lot: work hard and there can be fantastic rewards afterwards. It is a fantastic field and it requires more and more trained minds to work in it!

Are there any funny or interesting things you experienced in Italy, outside class? 

Indeed! We are still good friends after all these years, with my colleagues. We have so many good memories with the locals, the professors, etc: after all, it is a summer-long experience. The food, the setting, the people... everything counts!

What is your experience with the annual ARCA conference in June? 

Sadly, I am always immersed teaching courses at that time and I cannot attend as much as I would like to, but I hope to change this in the near future. I have presented and attended years ago, and it is overwhelming being able to meet colleagues in this field and getting to know their research and the latest advances. These are very intense days: it is not only the conference, but the networking involved, in every single meeting. And of course, some fun to be had too, as the dinners and lunches are always fantastic!

Anything last thoughts? 

I would like to end this interview by saying that I am looking forward, as every year, to meeting our new cohort. I always come back to Amelia and ARCA with a fluttering heart, knowing I will get to meet and get to know new participants, see again some old friends, and spend days teaching and talking about cultural heritage crime.

For a detailed prospectus and application materials or for general questions about this postgraduate program please contact us at education@artcrimeresearch.org



Edgar Tijhuis serves as the Academic Director at ARCA and is a visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology in Ljubljana. He is responsible for the postgraduate certificate program in the study of art crime and cultural heritage protection and since 2009, has taught criminology modules within the ARCA program.

June 2, 2019

ARCA welcomes its 11th class in the study of art and heritage crime in Amelia.


Criminal acts against works of art happen more frequently than the public imagines. The stories of these objects range from the dramatic to the all but forgotten. Art works are plundered during war, dug up for profit, stolen from museums, laundered on the art market and sometimes held as collateral by organised crime groups.  Art will always attract criminals. Not because criminals are charmed or fascinated by it more than other people, but because with it, there will always be a market.

This week ARCA begins its 11th annual postgraduate training program in Amelia, Italy.  Here participants will begin exploring the theoretical as well as practical elements related to art and heritage crime.   During their courses they will examine art crime’s interconnected world and begin to develop a longitudinal multidisciplinary approach to the study of this type of criminal behaviour, as well as its trends and motivating factors. 

Welcome aboard class of 2019!




May 26, 2019

Interview with Monica di Stefano, ARCA’s Social Director

By Edgar Tijhuis


Since the beginning of ARCA’s program in Amelia, Monica di Stefano has been involved in ARCA’s activities to organize many local affairs for ARCA. 

We asked her to tell us more about her work for ARCA and life in this unique, more than 3200 years old, town in Umbria.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born in Amelia where I have basically spent my life among lots of travels. After obtaining my first degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, I started working in different fields, all related to the use of foreign languages. Currently I teach Spanishand English in Umbrian high schools.

And your work for ARCA? 

I started working for ARCA in 2009…. so I can say I am the oldest person in ARCA’s history together with Noah Charney and Edgar Tijhuis. In the first edition of the program I was involved by chance teaching some participants of the postgraduate program. I have worked as a teacher of Italian for ARCA participants until few years ago. In that same year Professor Charney asked me to help in the organization of some trips and extra academic activities so I started working as the ‘Social Director’ who takes care of events, field trips and logistics.

What is it like in Amelia? 

Amelia is a small medieval town, far from the crazy, busy, polluted world that maybe people are used to. Life is slow, technology can be slow, but this makes Amelia and its surroundings very special and unique. I recommend to be ready for a very quite place. A homebase where ARCA participants can discover the real Italy and make lifelong friendships, in a summer without air conditioning, but with experiences to be remembered forever...

What is so special about this program? 

Our program is exceptional because participants and professors live close to each other everyday, in a town where it is hard not to meet even after class and it becomes a pleasure to share a pizza and a glass of wine with people from many countries, all together after a long day. Our participants and professors live almost 3 months together under the common interest of cultural heritage, in a town which offers the basic services that are necessary for a serious academic program and which permits those studying with us ample time and space to concentrate on studies while having fun at the same time immersed in a history of more than 3 millenniums…

And what do you enjoy at ARCA? 

I feel that I am really lucky to be part of ARCA world because in these past 10 years hundreds of people from all over the world have come to Amelia and I have been blessed to know them, to be in contact with people of different nationalities, to explore different cultures and languages from which I have learned a lot. It is the entire world that comes to our small lovely town and the entire town benefits from this culturally diverse exchange.

Which course would you like to follow yourself? 

After 11 years working for ARCA I realize I would love to be on the side of the particpants and follow the eleven courses myself!!! If only I could….if I was not so busy…I believe every subject has its own peculiarities and every professor has his/her charm….so nothing has to be missed!

Any advice for the participants that come to Amelia? 

Enjoy every single day of this experience, try to travel around with trains, local buses, and take the time to get to know the local people…

Keep in mind that you came here to study but….doing it in Amelia has a definitely special touch!


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Edgar Tijhuis is Academic Director at ARCA and visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology in Ljubljana. He is responsible for the postgraduate certificate program in the study of art crime and cultural heritage protection. Since 2009, Edgar Tijhuis has taught criminology modules within the ARCA program



March 26, 2019

A humorous look at life in Amelia from the eyes of a former participant

A medieval town & its secret passageways
by Summer Clowers, ARCA Alumna

WARNING: this essay is a work of satire.  It will be best understood if read in the voice of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, from Downton Abbey.

As an ARCA alumna, I have come to warn you about all of the things that you will hate about this small program on art crime. In that vein, I here offer you a list of the woes of living in a small Umbrian town the likes of which will keep you up at night as you scroll through old Facebook photos.  A letter of warning, if you will, to all prospective ARCA-ites. Should you choose to ignore my advice, I cannot be responsible for the consequences.

Your first few days in Amelia will leave you with an intense urge to explore and make friends.  The town is ancient, surrounded on most sides by a Neolithic wall with even more history buried beneath it.  There are secret passages and hidden rooms and you’re going to want to grab a new-found buddy and sneak through every one of them.  DON’T.  The more you explore, the more you will love the town, and it will make it that much harder to leave.  Yes, there are three secret Roman cellars to be discovered as well as an ancient Roman cistern.  Yes, the town’s people do scatter the roads with rose petals in the shape of angels once each summer.  All of these things are beside the point.  Walk steady on the path and avoid all temptations to adventure.

As for friends, stick with people that live near to you back in the real world.  I know Papa Di Stefano is fantastic, and yes, he will befriend you in a way that transcends language, but do you really want to miss him when you’ve gone?  And your fellow students?  Well, most of them are going to live nowhere near you.  Do you really need to have contacts in Lisbon and Melbourne and New York and Amsterdam?  No, you don’t.  It’s so damp in the Netherlands and we all know London is just atrocious.  I mean really, all those people. Take my advice, ignore anyone that lives far away from you.  You are here to learn and leave, not make connections that will last you the rest of forever.

You will also want to avoid the town’s locals.  Amelia is tiny, so getting to know most of its shopkeepers and inhabitants will not be very hard, but you must resist the urge to do so.  It’s true that Massimo will know your coffee order before you get fully through his door, and the Count will open his home with a smile to show you around his gorgeous palazzo, and Titi will make you the best surprise sandwich, but these things are not proper.  Do not mistake their overflowing kindness and warmth for anything other than good breeding.  And when you find yourself sobbing at the thought of saying goodbye to Monica, you can just blame your tears on the pollen like the rest of us.

Your instructors are going to be just as big of a challenge.  The professor’s are really too friendly.  I know that Noah Charney says that he’s available for lunch and the founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques squad, Dick Ellis, will happily have a beer with you, but is getting to know your professor socially really appropriate?  I mean, we’ve all attended seminars where you barely see the speaker outside of stolen moments during coffee breaks, and that’s the best way for things to go, isn’t it?  Sterile classroom experience with little to no professorial interactions is the way academic things should run.  I know I never saw any of my professor’s outside of class.  And I certainly don’t keep up with Judge Tompkins' travels through his prosaic emails; that would just be inappropriate.

And then there’s the conference.  It lasts an entire weekend.  Why would I want to attend a weekend long event where powerhouses in the field open up their brains for poor plebeians?  I mean honestly, meeting Christos Tsirogiannis at the conference will be a high point in your year, and it will be too difficult to control your nerdy spasms when Toby Bull sits down next to you at dinner.  And then, when you find out that Christos joined ARCA's teaching team in 2014, you’ll find yourself scrambling to come up with a way to take the program a second time just so you can pick his brain. Think about how much work that will be.  They aim to make this an easy experience where you rarely have to use powers of higher thinking.  This should be like the grand tour, a comfortable time away from home so that you can tell others that you simply summered in Italy. 

And the program would be so much better served in Rome.  I mean, just think on it.  You would never have to learn Italian because you’d be in a city full of tourists.  You’d get to pay three times as much for an apartment a third of the size of the one you rent in Amelia, and you wouldn’t have to live near any of your classmates.  A city the size of Rome is big enough that a half hour metro ride to each other’s places would be pretty much de rigueur.  This means you wouldn’t have to deal with any of those impromptu dinner/study salons at one another's apartments.  And there certainly wouldn’t be random class-wide wine tastings at the Palazzo Venturelli. That’s just too much socializing anyway.  It’s unseemly.

And finally, let’s talk about the classes.  Do we really care about art crime? Sure, Dick Drent is pretty much the coolest human you’ll ever meet and you will never look at a museum the same way again, and Dorit Straus somehow manages to make art insurance spectacularly interesting, but really, do we care?  Isn’t that better left to one’s financial advisor?  And the secret porchetta truck that the interns will show you as you study the intricacies of art law, could surely be found on one’s own.  Couldn’t it?  I think we would all be much better served by just watching that terrible Monuments Men movie, fawning over George Clooney and Matt Damon, and thinking about the things we could be doing all from the safety and comfort of our own homes.  I do so hate leaving home.  The ARCA program involves work, and eleven courses with fifteen different professors, and classmates that will quickly become family, well it's all so exhausting.  I mean really, tell me, does this sound like the program for you?

ARCA Editorial Note:  Late applications are still being accepted.  If you would like more information on ARCA's 2019 program please write to education (at) artcrimeresearch.org for a copy of this year's prospectus and application materials. 

January 30, 2019

Save the Date: June 21-23, 2019 ARCA's 10th Annual Art Crime Conference


Conference Date:  
June 21-23, 2019
Abstract Submittal Deadline:  
March 30, 2019
Location: Amelia, Italy

Celebrating a decade of academic conferences, ARCA will host its 10th summer interdisciplinary art crime conference the weekend of June 21-23, 2019. 

Known as the Amelia Conference, the Association's weekend-long event aims to facilitate a critical appraisal of art crimes and the protection of art and cultural heritage and brings together researchers and academics, police, and individuals from many of the allied professions that interact with the art market, coming together to discuss issues of common concern. 

The Amelia Conference is held annually in the historic city of Amelia, in the heart of Italy's Umbria region where ARCA also plays host to its Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection and a joint ARCA-HARP Provenance Training course, “Provenance and the challenges of recovering looted assets.”

ARCA welcomes speaking proposals from individuals in relevant fields, including law, criminal justice, security, art history, conservation, archaeology, or museum security and risk management on the topical sessions listed here. We invite individuals interested in presenting to submit their topic of choice along with a presentation title, a concise 400-word abstract, a brief professional biography and a recent CV to the conference organizers at:

italy.conference [at] artcrimeresearch.org

Accepted presenters will be asked to limit their presentations to 15-20 minutes, and will be grouped together in thematically-organized panels in order to allow time for brief questions from the audience and fellow panelists.  

Registration

For more details on this event please watch the conference information page on the ARCA website where the list of accepted speakers will be posted by April 07, 2019

To register for this event, please go to our eventbrite page located here.

We hope to see many of you in Amelia in June!

January 24, 2018

Conference: Save the Date and Call for Presenters - the 2018 Amelia Conference

Conference Date:  
June 22-24, 2018
Abstract Submittal Deadline:  
March 30, 2018
Location: Amelia, Italy

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, ARCA will host its annual summer interdisciplinary art crime conference the weekend of June 22nd through June 24th this summer. 

Known as the Amelia Conference, the Association's weekend-long event aims to facilitate a critical appraisal of art crimes and the protection of art and cultural heritage and brings together researchers and academics, police, and individuals from many of the allied professions that interact with the art market, coming together to discuss issues of common concern. 

The Amelia Conference is held annually in the historic city of Amelia, in the heart of Italy's Umbria region where ARCA also plays host to its Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection and a joint ARCA-HARP Provenance Training course, “Provenance and the challenges of recovering looted assets.”

ARCA welcomes speaking proposals from individuals in relevant fields, including law, criminal justice, security, art history, conservation, archaeology, or museum security and risk management on the topical sessions listed here. We invite individuals interested in presenting to submit their topic of choice along with a presentation title, a concise 400-word abstract, a brief professional biography and a recent CV to the conference organizers at:

italy.conference [at] artcrimeresearch.org

Accepted presenters will be asked to limit their presentations to 15-20 minutes, and will be grouped together in thematically-organized panels in order to allow time for brief questions from the audience and fellow panelists.  

Registration

For more details on this event please watch the conference information page on the ARCA website where you can register and where a list of accepted speakers will be posted by April 07, 2018

We hope to see many of you in Amelia in June!

May 17, 2017

Blast from ARCA Program Pasts: ARCA'13 Alum Summer Clowers asks: Is the ARCA program for you? Really now.

A medieval town & its secret passageways
by Summer Clowers, ARCA 2013

WARNING: this essay is a work of satire.  It is best understood when read in the haughty voice of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, from Downton Abbey.

As an ARCA alumna, I have come to warn you about all of the things that you will hate about this small program on art crime. With that in mind, I here offer a list of the woes of living in a small Umbrian town the likes of which will keep you up at night as you scroll through old Facebook photos.  A hue and cry, as it were, to any prospective ARCA-ites. Should you choose to ignore my advice, I cannot be responsible for the consequences.

Your first few days in Amelia will leave you with an intense urge to explore and make friends.  The town is ancient, surrounded on most sides by a Neolithic wall, and even more ancient history buried beneath it.  There are secret passages and hidden rooms and you will want to grab a new-found "buddy" as the Americans are saying and sneak through every one of them.  DON’T.  The more you explore, the more you will love the town, and it will make it all that much harder to leave.  Yes, there is a secret Roman cellar underneath one of the restaurants.  No, I will not tell you which one.  Yes, the town’s people do scatter the roads with rose petals in the shape of angels every June. No, pictures do not do it justice.  Yes, there quite possibly is a hidden room in your classmate's flat.  All of these things are beside the point.  Walk steadily on the path and avoid all temptations to adventure.

As for friends, stick with those gentle people that live near to you back in the real world.  I know Papa di Stefano is fantastic, and yes, he will befriend you in a way that transcends language, but do you really want to miss him when you’ve gone?  And your fellow students?  Well, most of them are going to live nowhere near you.  Who needs to have contacts in Lisbon and Melbourne and New York and Amsterdam?  Certainly not you.  No, you don’t.  It’s so damp in the Netherlands and we all know London is just atrocious.  I mean really, all those people. I do try to stay out of the south. Take my advice, ignore anyone that lives far from you.  You are here to learn and leave, not make connections that will last you the rest of forever.

You will also want to be wary of the town’s locals.  Amelia is tiny, so getting to know most of its shopkeepers and inhabitants will not be very hard, but you must resist the urge to do so as it is deeply improper to fraternize with the proletariat.  It is true that Fabio will know your coffee order before you get fully through his door, and the Count will open his home with a smile to show you around his gorgeous palazzo, but these things are not proper.  Do not mistake their overflowing kindness and warmth for anything other than good breeding.  And when you find yourself sobbing at the thought of saying goodbye to Monica, you can just blame your tears on the pollen like the rest of us.

Your instructors are going to be just as big of a challenge.  The professor’s are really too friendly.  I know that Noah Charney says that he’s available for lunch and Dick Ellis will happily have a beer with you, but is getting to know your mentor's socially, really appropriate?  I mean, we’ve all attended seminars where you barely see the speaker outside of stolen moments during coffee breaks, and that’s the best way for things to go, isn’t it?  Sterile classroom experience with little to no professorial interactions has been the way of academia for generations.  I know I never saw any of my professor’s outside of class.  And I certainly don’t keep up with Judge Tompkin’s travels through his hilarious emails; that would just be gauche.

And then there’s the conference.  It lasts an entire weekend.  Why would I want to attend a weekend long event where powerhouses in the field open up their brains for plebeians?  I mean honestly, meeting Christos Tsirogiannis at the conference will be a high point in your year, and it will be too difficult to control your nerdy spasms when Toby Bull sits down next to you at dinner.  And then, when you find out that Christos joined ARCA's teaching team in 2014, you’ll find yourself scrambling to come up with a way to take the program a second time just so you can pick his brain. Think about how much work that will be.  This should be like the grand tour, a comfortable time away from home so that you can tell others that you simply summered in Italy. 

And the program would be so much better served in Rome.  I mean, just think on it.  You would never have to learn Italian, because you’d be in a city full of tourists.  You’d get to pay twice as much for an apartment a third of the size of the one you rent in Amelia, and you wouldn’t have to live near any of your class mates.  A city the size of Rome is big enough that a half hour metro ride to each other’s places would be pretty much de rigueur.  This means you wouldn’t have to deal with any of those impromptu dinner/study sessions at the pool house.  And there certainly wouldn’t be random class-wide wine tastings at the Palazzo Venturelli. It's too much socializing anyway.  It really is unseemly.

And finally, let’s talk about the classes.  Do we really care about art crime? Sure, Dick Drent is pretty much the coolest human you’ll ever meet, and Dorit Straus somehow manages to make art insurance interesting, but really, do you care?  Isn’t that better left to one’s financial advisor?  And the secret porchetta truck that the interns will show you as you study the intricacies of art law, could surely be found on one’s own.  Couldn’t it?  I think we would all be much better served by just watching that  Monuments Men movie, fawning over George Clooney and Matt Damon, and thinking about the things we could be doing all from the safety and comfort of our own homes.  I do so hate leaving home.  The ARCA program involves work, and ten courses with ten different professors, and classmates that will quickly become family. It’s all so exhausting.  I mean really, tell me, does this sound like the program for you?

ARCA Editorial Note:  If you would like more information on ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program, please write to us at: education (at) artcrimeresearch.org 

We will put you on the list to receive application materials when the 2018 application period opens in Autumn 2017. 

January 24, 2017

ARCA is now accepting abstracts for its June 2017 art crime conference

Conference Dates 
June 23-25 2017


Conference Location
Sala Comunale F. Boccarini
Boccarini cloister, Amelia Italy


Conference Fees:
$120 for all Saturday and Sunday sessions for professionals


$75 for all Saturday and Sunday for university students providing proof of enrollment in an academic program

ARCA will host its annual interdisciplinary art crime conference the weekend of June 23rd through June 25th 2017.  Known as The Amelia Conference, the association's weekend-long event aims to facilitate a critical appraisal of art crimes and the protection of art and cultural heritage.  As it has for the last eight summers, the event will bring together researchers and academics, police, and provenance researchers as well as members from many of the allied professions in the art world, to discuss issues of common concern. 

Held annually in the historic city of Amelia, in the heart of Italy's Umbria region. Amelia also plays host to ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection and for the first time, the joint ARCA-HARP Provenance Training course, “Provenance and the challenges of recovering looted assets.” 

Topics center on the following subject areas:

• art crime and its prevalence
• art crime during war and symmetric and asymmetric conflicts
• archaeological looting and predation
• art crime policing and investigation
• art and heritage law and legal instruments
• the art market and its associated risk
• risk management in the art world
• the provenance of works of art and their historical record of ownership

ARCA welcomes speaking proposals from individuals in relevant fields, including law, criminal justice, security, art history, conservation, archaeology, or museum security and risk management. We invite individuals interested in presenting to submit their topic of choice along with a presentation title, a concise 250 word abstract, a brief professional biography and a recent CV to the conference organizers at:

italy.conference [at]artcrimeresearch.org

Accepted presenters will be asked to limit their presentations to 15-20 minutes, and will be grouped together in thematically organized panels to allow time for brief questions from the audience at the conclusion of each panel session.

The accepted speaker list will be posted March 30, 2017.

To register for this event and read more about the conference please visit the conference information page on the ARCA website. 

We hope to see many of you in Amelia in June!



January 6, 2017

Conference: Save the Date - The Amelia Conference - Call for Presenters


ARCA will host its 2017 interdisciplinary art crime conference the weekend of June 23rd through June 25th.  Known as The Amelia Conference, the association's weekend-long event aims to facilitate a critical appraisal of art crimes and the protection of art and cultural heritage.  The event brings together researchers and academics, police, and members from many of the allied professions in the art world, who come together to discuss issues of common concern. 

This conference is held annually in the historic city of Amelia, in the heart of Italy's Umbria region.  Amelia also plays host to ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection and for the first time, the joint ARCA-HARP Provenance Training course, “Provenance and the challenges of recovering looted assets.” 

ARCA welcomes speaking proposals from individuals in relevant fields, including law, criminal justice, security, art history, conservation, archaeology, or museum security and risk management. We invite individuals interested in presenting to submit their topic of choice along with a presentation title, a concise 250 word abstract, a brief professional biography and a recent CV to the conference organizers at:

italy.conference [at]artcrimeresearch.org

Accepted presenters will be asked to limit their presentations to 15-20 minutes, and will be grouped together in panels organized thematically, to allow time for brief questions from the audience at the conclusion of each panel session. 

Registration

For more details on this event please watch the conference information page on the ARCA website where you can register and where a list of speakers will appear March 30, 2017

We hope to see many of you in Amelia in June!

Key Dates:
Conference Date:  June 23-25, 2017
Call for Presenters Deadline: March 15, 2017

July 29, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - ,,, No comments

A Carabinieri officer, Amelia residents, and Uganda: ICAD works to provide maternity services to a mission in northern Uganda; Volunteers can attend a course on security

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, 
  ARCA Blog Editor


Luca Del Moro, an officer with the carabinieri office in Amelia, was stationed in Uganda from 2004 to 2008 — however, the hard work of Italian Catholic missionaries in this land-locked African country left an impression on him. Del More is CEO and Founder of ICAD Onlus - International Cooperation and Development Association.

This September, Del Moro will be leading the third course on security and volunteering. The course on security in countries plagued by terrorism will be held for teachers from the United Nations, universities, armies, police, and missionaries. The subjects include radio communication; personal security (working with interpreters; negotiation and communication; security risk assessment; survival skills; weapons awareness; basic first aid; basic self defence; four-wheel drive vehicles (driving, maintenance and map reading); travel, convoy and vehicle security; and Italian Embassy and crisis unit; background, history and cultural awareness; stress management; and making photo reports and interviews.

In July, Ambassador Grace Akello, Head of the Diplomatic Mission of Uganda to Rome, wrote a letter to ICAD expressing her gratitude for the organization’s participation in a promotional event for Uganda’s role at Milan EXPO held on April 27 in Rome.
My colleague Ambassadors who came to the promotional events, appreciated how your organization is helping to building practical capacities in all the areas that you are working in. This means that if ever you were to decide to move out, the people left behind would continue as normal and would not be left bereft of knowledge. Secondly, my colleagues appreciated your statement that you did not go there to change people. They saw this as expressing the right to people to manage their own lives, with your technical input, that also passes on the soft and hard technology. This way people learn from you and make their own choices on how they want to utilize this knowledge in their own communities. This is what partnership is made of. Allow me to take this opportunity to assure you of my highest esteem.
You can find out more information about ICAD through Facebook, searching under Luca Del Moro (http://www.facebook.com/luca.delmoro.33/), or ICAD Onlus (http://www.facebook.com/ICAD.org/)

Giulia Spernanzoni
Another Amelia resident, Giulia Spernanzoni, a university student studying security, traveled with ICAD Onlus to the northern part of Uganda (Karamoja) in February to follow different project and inspect the clinic which will be supplied by “tools and medicines for the benefit of the IK tribe gatherers and hunters” (ICAD).

Ms. Spernanzoni is also a member of the ICAD board. She attended the 2nd Course for Humanitarian Operators, completing both phases in Italy and in Uganda.

ICAD has focused is efforts to help new mothers and their children at a maternity center in northern Uganda. A more modern facility opened in April 2014, but ICAD is working to raise funds for other structures such as the kitchen, the toilettes, and sleeping areas. 

One of the founding members and board members in charge of ICAD, Msgr. Sandro Bigi, passed away in the middle of June, his funeral at the Duomo in Amelia closed down the town as everyone turned out to remember “his big heart and his dedication in helping his neighbors” (ICAD).

In June at the Parish of Saint Maria Maddalena of Torre Angela in Rome, ICAD held a charity dinner to raise funds needed to building a small house for the pregnant women living near the Morulem Maternity Centre (Uganda).

Next September, during the last two weekends (19-20 and 26-27) there will be the 3rd Intensive Course for Humanitarian Operators - Safe & Secure approaches in Field Environments. The cost is 250 euros, included the application and accommodation. The location is the gorgeous “La Tenuta dei Ciclamini” (www.iciclamini.it/) in Avigliano Umbro, owned by the famous Mogol. For more information write at info@icad-italy.org.

June 2, 2015

Countdown to ARCA's 7th Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference in Amelia, Umbria

Here's a link to ARCA's website for information on the 2015 Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference in Italy to be held in Amelia, Umbria, the last weekend of June. The list of speakers includes:

“A View on Heritage Protection from Southern Iraq”
Franco D’Agostino, PhD. Professor of Assyriology
Director Iraqi-Italian Mission at Abu Tbeirah
Sapienza Università di Roma
Licia Romano, PhD
Co-Director Iraqi-Italian Mission at Abu Tbeirah
Sapienza Università di Roma
“So How Did We Get Here? Trying to Understand the Reasons Behind the Unprecedented Destruction of Archaeological Heritage”
Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, MA Archaeology, MA Journalism
Biladi: Heritage for Peace Building (Lebanese N,G.O)
“The INTERPOL Expert Group’s Role in Safeguarding the World’s Cultural Heritage from Crime and the Dangers of Conflict”
Françoise Bortolotti, Criminal Intelligence Officer
INTERPOL General Secretariat (Lyon, France), Sub-Directorate -Drugs and Organized Crime- Works of Art Unit
“Future without a past: the extinction of the cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq”
Paolo Brusasco, PhD., Professor of Archaeology and Art History of the Ancient Near East
Scuola di Scienze Umanistiche
Università degli Studi di Genova
“One Culture, Two Systems : Changing Attitudes to Cultural Heritage Protection and Illicit Smuggling in Hong Kong and China”
Toby Bull, MSc.,
Founder, TrackArt – Art Risk Consultancy
Steven Gallagher, Barrister
Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
“The Italian Carabinieri and the Evolution of its Art Crime Databases”
Salvatore Rapicavoli, Captain
Data Processing Unit Deputy Commander
Carabinieri Headquarters for the Protection of Cultural Heritage
“Connoisseurship in a Globalized Art Market: Reconciling the Conflict Between Artistic and Economic Values”
Clare Diamond, PhD., candidate
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
“Mediation, as an Alternative to the Court for Resolution of Art and Cultural Heritage Disputes”
Pierfrancesco C. Fasano, Attorney-at-Law
FASANO – Avvocati
Ivett Paulovics, Attorney-at-Law
FASANO – Avvocati
“EU = 28 Countries + 28 Legislations = 1 Million Problems”
Martin Finkelnberg, Head of the Art and Antique Crime Unit of the Netherlands
Dutch National Police
“Protecting China’s Archaeological Artefacts Against Looting and Illicit Art Trafficking”
Stefan Gruber, PhD.,
Associate Professor, Kyoto University
“Art Fraud in Germany or How Criminals Become Celebrities”
Saskia Hufnagel, PhD., Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law

Queen Mary University of London
“Siena, Dunedin, Rome: the Tale of Five Macchiaioli School Paintings”
Penelope Jackson, M.Phil
Trustee of the NZ Art Crime Research Trust
“Dealer Conversion of Consigned Art: When Drugs and Greed Make the Art Disappear”
Dorit Straus
Fine art Insurance Expert and ARCA Lecturer
Thomas R. Kline, J.D.
Of Counsel Andrews Kurth, LLP and Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University
Victor Wiener, Ph.D.,
Victor Wiener Associates, LLC, Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University
“Give and Take: Museum Professionals’ Attitudes and Ethics Toward the Acquisition and Repatriation of West African Cultural Objects”
Meg Lambert, PhD Candidate
University of Glasgow
“A Collection of Thefts: What One Museum’s Responses to Five Incidents Can Teach Us About Ideal Resolution”
Katherine Luer, ARCA alumna and future MLS graduate
Independent Researcher
“Opining on the Authentic”
Philippa Malas, Barrister, England and Wales
Law Lecturer, University of Glasgow and author of the MSc Art, Law and Business at Christie’s Education, London
“The Opaque Market of Egyptian Papyri in a Globalised Context: Sellers, Buyers, Prices and the Role of Academics”
Roberta Mazza, Dr
Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, University of Manchester
“Uncovering the Illicit Traffic of Russian Ancient Icons”
Laure Coupillaud Szustakowski, PhD Candidate
Chief Operating Officer at CAPABILIS
“Perspectives on Crime and Crime Control Policy from the Trafficking Culture Project”
Neil Brodie, PhD
Simon Mackenzie, PhD
Donna Yates, PhD
Trafficking Culture, SCCJR, University of Glasgow
“Sentencing the Art Thief: Deterrence, Responsibility, Protection, Reparation and Restoration – Uneasy Bedfellows in a Courtroom?”
Arthur Tompkins, Judge
New Zealand Ministry of Justice
“Discovering and Visualising the Criminological Value of The Medici Conspiracy”
Christos Tsirogiannis, PhD.,

Research Assistant, Trafficking Culture, SCCJR, University of Glasgow
“Art CSI: When Science Solves the Puzzle of Forgery. The Case Study “Vase of Flowers”, Painting Attributed to Filippo De Pisis (1896-1956)”
Lisa, Volpe, PhD.,
Research Fellow, Conservator Scientist, TekneHub – University of Ferrara, Italy
Marilena Leis, PhD.,
Research Fellow, Conservator Scientist, TekneHub – University of Ferrara, Italy
“Libya and Heritage Protection in the Absence of Security”
Hafed Walda, PhD.,
Research Fellow. King’s College London
Pending Deputy Ambassador to the permanent Libyan delegation at UNESCO
“Art Crime in Relation to Museum Security in the United States: A Survey of Recent Security Measures and Criminal Trends Within Accredited Art Museums”
Christine A. Weirich, PhD Candidate
School of Social and Political Science University of Glasgow
“Europol’s Involvement in the Fight Against Cultural Goods Crime”
Michael Will, Manager
EUROPOL, Organised Crime Networks Group – Focal Point Furtum