Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

November 13, 2014

Professor Duncan Chappell appointed to the National Cultural Heritage Committee in Australia

Professor Duncan Chappell at ARCA conference in Amelia
ARCA Lecturer Professor Duncan Chappell has been appointed to the National Cultural Heritage Committee which supports the operation of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 which gave UNESCO's 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property "force" in Australian law.

The committee advises the Minister for the Arts on the maintenance of the National Cultural Heritage Control List and the operation of the National Cultural Heritage Account.

Professor Chappell is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney, and one of Australia's pre-eminent experts in the field of illicit trafficking in cultural property. A former Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, he has published widely on art crime and the illicit trade in cultural property. In 2013, Professor Chappell was awarded the Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art.

Dr. J. Patrick Greene OBE was appointed as chair of the committee. Other members appointed: Mr. Joseph Eisenberg, Professor Marett Lieboff, Ms. Tina Baum and Dr. Graeme Were.

March 2, 2013

Continued coverage of the Conference on Protection of Cultural Property in Asia

Textile conservator Julia M. Brennan continues coverage of last month's conference.

The conference was structured into 3 thematic working sessions: Policy and Institutional Framework and Capacity Building (Session 1);  Technical Aspects of Protecting Cultural Heritage Property: Networking with INTERPOL and the International Community (Session 2); and Recovery of Cultural Property, post Theft or Disaster (Session 3).  Here are highlights of a few of the talks: 

Session 1 presentations dovetailed, making a strong case for the use of preventative measures to protect cultural heritage.

Mr. Etienne Clement, Deputy Director of UNESCO, Bangkok gave the opening talk for Session 1 covering national and international laws, international conventions such as the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict1970 UNESCO Convention on Illicit Trafficking, and the UNIDROIT. He made a compelling argument for nation states to adopt and use these conventions; teach cultural heritage personnel and police about them; and use them as a foundation tool for combatting the illicit trade in antiquities and art.

Mr. Tshewang Gyalpo, Chief of Bhutan’s Department of Culture, spoke about the country’s national database of heritage; defined Bhutanese heritage; outlined the role of the conservation department and regional cultural officers and the trainings in place to better secure sacred sites.

Mr. Karl-Heinz Kind, INTERPOL, provided an overview of the important and active role that his agency performs, advocating member states to join and participate. The effectiveness of  INTERPOL's stolen works of art database and Project PSCHE (designed to utilize the Italian Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage's help in modernizing the database). He emphasized that investigations and recovery are only supported by nations’ involvement and called for greater involvement by nations to make protection of cultural heritage a priority.

Julia Brennan (left) and Fiona MacAlister (right) with
 Dasho Dorjee Tshering, Secretary of Home and Culture
Ms. Fiona Macalister, a disaster preparedness expert from the UK, and I, a textile conservator and consultant for preventative conservation, made the case for employing preventative measures at the front end to protect cultural heritage. Fiona provided a clear blueprint for risk management and disaster planning, outlining different disaster scenarios in the event of  fire, flood, earthquake, and theft and provided standards, checklists, and constructive methods of training. I outlined methods adopted from conservation including secure storage, good protective housings, training of local caretakers and cultural heritage staffs, the importance of detailed and updated documentation, analysis, collaborating with and training of law enforcement, raising public awareness and ownership through media outlets, and engagement of community based groups and tourist infrastructure.

Session 2 featured talks specifically focused on law enforcement efforts to combat the illicit trade. Among the presentators were:

Mr. Gaspare Cilluffo, Customs, Italy, provided an introduction to the law enforcement real time platforms of ARCHEO and COLOSSEUM. He provided clear how-to-use steps for these programs, for both customs and police, in an effort to broaden the international communications and work in real time. He emphasized the goals of sharing information about seizures and new trends, background profiles, best practices, and official consulting experts.

Ms. Silvilie Karfeld, from the German Police, provided extremely useful and creative methods to combat the illicit trade across uncontrolled borders. From the macro of international law enforcement efforts, collaboration between nations, to micro solutions such as neighborhood watch programs, physically marking artifacts as ID, registration of artifacts with cut off dates, pressuring and working with major online sales sites and insurance industry. Like Clement and Brennan, she advocated enhancing the awareness by common people, utilizing the media, and encouraging source countries to take action and monitor the art markets themselves.

Both Mr. Martin Finkelberg, Art Crime Police, The Netherlands, and Mr. Iain Shearer, formerly with the UK Police, gave inspirational and personal talks about investigations and seizures, and the importance of networking. Iain outlined some British successes in seizing illicit Afghan antiquities since 2006. Both an archeologist and police officer, his talk was a lively history of ancient sites and their importance, how they are pillaged, and arrive in the end market. Martin used several case studies to show the success of having informants, a strong prosecutor, utilizing databases, to solve heritage thefts.

Session 3 focused on recovery and methods employed.

Professor Duncan Chappell from Australia outlined several recovery cases in the market country Australia of SEA artifacts and human remains blatantly for sale by BC Gallery:  While some artifacts were recovered or pressure was brought to bear to remove artifacts from sale, the Australian laws are toothless and do not support timely prosecution or seizure. As with many countries, the little slap of the hand does nothing to stem the trade, Professor Chappell said, and called for greater funding for research, investigation and cross border collaboration in the Asian Pacific region.

Major Guy Tubiana, Chief of Security for France’s Museums and Cultural Sites, provided some sound and simple tips for securing sites and training staff. He emphasized the sixth sense of police and security experts, and the constantly changing landscape of theft and trafficking.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, Chief of Royal Bhutan Police, gave an excellent talk about the state of cultural heritage protection in Bhutan, the locations of highest thefts, the incentives and investigation methods employed, and some creative, if not controversial solutions to the problem of chorten vandalism.

The conference concluded with strategic working sessions on each of the three themes. Each group provided a set of recommendations for improving nation’s capacity building, and better protection of cultural heritage though the implementation of specific tasks, many adopted from the three days of presentations.

At the end of three days, attendees took away the strong message that as a global community, we must partner, deploy all the tools possible, engage and maintain strong active relationships across borders, and promote both loss and success more effectively through the media. It also underlined the greater need for the development of stronger Asian participation in law enforcement, liaison with INTERPOL and international customs, and prioritizing the protection of cultural heritage by Asian governments.

This conference was a good first step for combatting the illicit trade in Asia. And, to maintain the momentum, we need to follow up quickly, with additional sessions in Thailand, Singapore, and China, (at the very least), with a focused attempt to identify and bring key law enforcement and cultural heritage professionals to the table. In addition, we could strategically reinforce the message with post conference trainings of law enforcement, customs, and rural caretakers in methods of investigation, analysis, better security, filing stolen art, and monitoring of art sales. Too many major Asian players were missing in Bhutan, but there is a lot of opportunity ahead.  

Website of conference: www.mohca.gov.bt/conference

Published papers forthcoming in 2013

Julia M. Brennan is a Conservator and Cultural Heritage Protection Consultant www.caringfortextiles.com.

May 21, 2012

Police and Art Gallery of New South Wales Suspend Search for Stolen Self-Portrait of Frans van Mieris Stolen in 2008

A Cavalier, a self-portrait by Frans van Mieris
Andrew Taylor, arts writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, recently interviewed ARCA's CEO Lynda Albertson when reporting that the Art Gallery of NSW (New South Wales) has given up the search for the 17th century Dutch self-portrait of Frans van Mieris stolen almost five years ago.

The painting was insured for $1.4 million, Taylor reports, and the police have suspended the search "after exhausting all avenues of investigation."

New South Wales police told the SMH that the small painting may have been smuggled out of the country.

"The world is full of art lovers with rich tastes and and richer pocketbooks," Albertson was quoted by Taylor in the article.

Taylor reports A Cavalier was screwed into the wall with 'two visible keyhole plates' and 'in a room with no camera surveillance and a guard intermittently present' when it was stolen in 2008.

March 27, 2012

Workshop in Australia: Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime


by Dr. Saskia Hufnagel

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia will hold a workshop gathering international and Australian scholars and experts in the field of art crime detection, investigation and prosecution to discuss contemporary issues on 1 and 2 of May 2012. The workshop has been organised by Dr Saskia Hufnagel (CEPS), Prof Duncan Chappell (University of Sydney) and Prof Simon Bronitt (CEPS). It is directed in particular at assessing the areas of art theft, fraud, and illicit trafficking of cultural property, which have so far not received significant attention in the field of Australasian criminal law and policing research and practice. It attempts to uncover the nature and scope of the art crime problem in an Australasian context and examine how such crime is currently dealt with by criminal justice agencies within this region.

To inform this assessment the workshop applies a comparative perspective from Europe and North America regarding law enforcement and legal methods used to detect, investigate and prosecute art crime. It combines international academic and practitioner perspectives on the art crime problem to foster collaborative present and future research and linkages. The ultimate aim of the workshop is to address similarities and differences between the different regions and determine whether similar problems exist and common solutions can be identified.

The workshop is of particular significance not only because of the apparent lack of systematic scholarly research and practice in the field of art crime in Australia and the region but also because European and North American studies reveal that art crime is becoming a broadening and highly profitable area of criminal activity. Thus it needs to be determined whether art crime has become similarly significant in the Australasian region. Particular questions which require analysis include whether Australasian art crime is linked to money laundering and other forms of organised crime including the financing of terrorism. A further topic that has not been dealt with in most other regions of the world, but which is of particular concern in Australia, is fraud and illicit trafficking associated with indigenous art.

While the academic perspectives gleaned from this workshop will be invaluable, practitioner inputs are believed to be crucial to its success. The workshop will therefore also include representatives from Australian police services, the Australian Crime Commission, prosecutors and judicial officers; Australian customs and border protection officials; the insurance industry, museums and art dealers. Key note speakers include Prof Neil Brodie, Prof Ken Polk, Prof Duncan Chappell, Prof Noah Charney and Mr Vernon Rapley. Observers include representatives from Victoria Police, New South Wales Police, the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies.

The outcomes of the workshop are twofold. One outcome of the workshop is an edited collection, comprising papers by participants. The second outcome of the workshop is to lay a foundation stone for a much broader research agenda on art crime in the Australasian region. It will also contribute to the 2012 Annual CEPS conference  in Policing and Security (4-5 October 2012) which will include a significant section on art crime investigations. Both the workshop and the conference will be drivers for an application for an ARC Linkage Project on art crime in the Australasian region.