Showing posts with label Cultural protection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cultural protection. Show all posts

July 1, 2015

Islamic Manuscript Collections in Conflict Zones: Safeguarding Written Heritage, hosted by the University of Cambridge from 5 to 7 October 2015

Dear Colleagues,

The Islamic Manuscript Association, in cooperation with the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and the University of Cambridge and with the support of Harvard University, is pleased to announce an inaugural short course entitled Islamic Manuscript Collections in Conflict Zones: Safeguarding Written Heritage, hosted by the University of Cambridge from 5 to 7 October 2015.

This intensive, three-day course is intended for academics, policy makers, cultural experts, lawyers and military experts, and will also be of interest to conservators, librarians, art historians, and other researchers working with Islamic manuscripts and documentary heritage in conflict areas. Ten speakers will introduce the concepts and mechanisms that underpin cultural property protection in the present day and educate participants in best practices of managing, protecting, and preserving manuscript collections at risk. Individual case studies will concentrate on Bosnia, Iraq, Libya, and Mali, while presentations and roundtables will be structured around the themes of the legal aspects of cultural property protection, military involvement in cultural property protection, and the destruction of memory.

To register your interest, please fill the application form found at: goo.gl/qBDlIK.

Scholarship Opportunity: The Islamic Manuscript Association is also pleased to offer a scholarship for a place on the course. Sponsored by the Barakat Trust, this scholarship will enable a senior conservator, codicologist, librarian, art historian, curator, researcher, or any other scholar or specialist of Islamic manuscripts who resides in the Islamic world to attend the full course.

Best wishes,

Armin


------
Armin Yavari
Assistant Director
The Islamic Manuscript Association
c/o 33 Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1QY
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0)1223 303 177
F: +44 (0)1223 302 218
E: armin@islamicmanuscript.org
W: www.islamicmanuscript.org

March 8, 2015

Sunday, March 08, 2015 - No comments

Open Letter to New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the Security Council, and New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

8 March, 2015 
Dear Ambassador Jim McLay and The Honourable Murray McCully,
Destruction of Cultural Heritage by ISIS
I address this open letter to you in your capacities as the New Zealand's representative on the United Nation's Security Council, and as New Zealand's Foreign Minister respectively. 

Given New Zealand's independent voice as a member of the Security Council, I believe that you should use the opportunity now afforded New Zealand to seek an immediate and urgent debate by the Security Council concerning the war crimes being committed in Syria by the Islamic State group, as they relate to the wanton destruction of irreplaceable cultural heritage and antiquities by ISIS.  

Whilst not for a moment overlooking or minimising the horrific crimes being committed, it seems daily, by ISIS against civilians, refugees, displaced persons, peoples of other faiths and fellow Muslims, the offences ISIS is committing against the world's irreplaceable cultural heritage are appalling, irreversible and, it seems increasing in both frequency and seriousness. The United Nations generally, and the Security Council itself, must take real and effective action.

In just the last few days it was, first, the museum at Mosul. Then the destruction of Nimrud, the ancient city of the Kings of the Assyrians. Just today, news is filtering out of the likely additional and tragic destruction of Hatra.

A golden thread runs through all the efforts that have, over decades, been made to protect the cultural heritage of all humankind from the ravages of war.  Two out of many examples will suffice. The Preamble to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict records:

“Being convinced that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind...”

When the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established by the United Nations Resolution 827 on 25 May 1993, specific jurisdiction was conferred to prosecute violations of the Laws or Customs of War, and in particular:

“seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, historic monuments and works of art and science.”

I urge New Zealand to call for a immediate and urgent debate in the Security Council, and for the Council thereafter to request or direct the International Criminal Court that immediate indictments be issued to bring those responsible for cultural heritage war crimes in and around Syria and Iraq, or alternatively for the Security Council to mandate the immediate establishment of an Ad Hoc War Crimes Tribunal to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed during the Syrian/Iraq/ISIS conflict, including (but of course not limited to) crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed, by the destruction of humankind's shared and irreplaceable cultural heritage both within Syria and Iraq, and within the territory controlled by ISIS.
Yours sincerely,

Judge Arthur Tompkins.

District Court Judge

Trustee and Faculty Member, Association for Research into Crimes against Art

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.

February 14, 2013

Non-profit Sustainable Preservation Initiative Launching Crowdfunding Campaign for Two Projects in Peru


by Rebekah Junkermeier, Sustainable Preservation Initiative

In two previous guest blog posts in May of 2012, I introduced the unique way the Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI), a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, approaches the problem of cultural heritage site degradation. Often, this degradation is caused by residents of communities near the site that live far below the poverty line. In an attempt to provide themselves and their family with the essentials, they loot the site or use it for other purposes (grazing animals, growing crops, etc.). SPI fights looting and site devastation by empowering local residents through entrepreneurship. By investing in local businesses whose financial success is tied to preservation of the site, SPI preserves cultural heritage and alleviates poverty in these communities. Eight months later, I’m here not only to report the astounding results of our first two projects at San Jose de Moro, Peru, and Pampas Gramalote, Peru, but also to announce the launch of SPI’s crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com to raise money for our two newest projects at Bandurria, Peru, and Chotuna, Peru.

San Jose de Moro
San Jose de Moro is home to one of the most important ancient cemeteries in all of Peru and a ritual center of the ancient Moche civilization, which flourished from 100-800 AD. Excavations have not only uncovered evidence of the Moche’s finely painted ceramics, but also their ritual of human sacrifice. Despite its rich cultural heritage, San Jose de Moro is also home to an impoverished community. Our project there has transformed the lives of local residents, creating over 40 jobs and generating over $16,000 in an impoverished community where the daily wage is only $9.50. Local archaeologists have reported that looting and destructive practices at the site have come to a halt as local residents now view the site as an economic asset.  After just one year of operations, the project is completely economically sustainable, no additional funding needed. 

Our second project at Pampas Gramalote, Peru, is well on its way to the same type of success. It has created 10 permanent jobs through a touristic and artisanal program, with trainees receiving practical lessons on how to carve gourds, their traditional uses in Peru and other countries, and their role at the archaeological site of Pampas Gramalote. It is providing the basis for further nondestructive and sustainable economic development. 2012 year-to-date sales have exceeded $3,000, with over $1,000 of online sales through NOVICA, an online global platform that connects local artisans to customers around the world. With such economic opportunities for local residents, we’re transforming lives in the surrounding community AND preserving its archaeological site.

This week, SPI is launching its first crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com to raise the $49,000 needed for our two newest projects in Bandurria and Chotuna, Peru. Both sites are home to poor communities and rich cultural heritage. 

Bandurria Pyramids
Bandurria contains pyramids in Peru older than those of ancient Egypt. Excavations have revealed evidence of the origins of civilzation in the Andes. Chotuna is a 235-acre monumental temple and pyramid complex where several ancient royal tombs have been discovered. Just this past August, archaeologists discovered a remarkable burial over 1,000 years old containing such precious items as pearl and shell beads and gold earspools amongst four corpses -- the face of one covered with a copper sheet. Unlike any other tomb of a revered person in the region, this one was likely built by an ancient water cult and meant to be flooded periodically, perhaps as a means of ensuring the region’s agricultural fertility (see National Geographic article here).

Neither place, however, can afford such basics as running water and electricity or has a sewer system. There are few jobs, little income and no opportunity to escape this cycle of poverty. At Bandurria, our project will construct a communal artisan center where locals can produce their traditional reed weaving handicrafts and train future artisans, creating more local jobs in the community. The project includes a store for the sale of the handicrafts, a snack bar, and clean toilets for tourists. Our project at Chotuna empowers the local textile, gourd carving and other artisans by constructing a facility for artisan training and production as well as a small picnic and sales area for their work near the archaeological site.

By collaborating with local archaeologists, archaeological projects, and the local community, our project aims for nothing short of alleviating poverty and saving these archaeological sites, and we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to come on board.

Help us save sites and transform lives! Click here to makea tax-deductible contribution at indiegogo.com today and spread the word by liking our campaign on Facebook, retweeting us on Twitter, or pinning our project video on Pinterest!

October 25, 2012

ARCA Lecturer Dorit Straus' on how a stolen violin inspired "Orchestra of Exiles"

Bronislaw Huberman with Albert Einstein
 who was instrumental in raising funds to
 start the orchestra./Orchestra of the Exiles
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

The documentary opening tomorrow in New York City, “Orchestra of Exiles”, tells the story of cultural preservation of people and music, and also features the family history of one of ARCA’s Lecturers, Dorit Straus, who returns each summer to Amelia to teach “Investigation, Insurance and the Art Trade”. Before Ms. Straus studied archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, her father was one of many musicians who escaped Jewish persecution from the Third Reich.

The film's writer, director, and producer Josh Aronson spent two years filming in Germany, Poland, Israel and New York.  The film centers on the story of polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s struggle to bring Jewish classical musicians to British Palestine in 1936 to found what would later become the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

One of those musicians, David Grunschlag, was Dorit Straus’ father. We asked Ms. Straus via email about the film -- and discovered her story also involved an anecdote about a stolen -- and recovered -- Stradivarius violin once owned by Bronislaw Huberman.

ARCA Blog: According to Mr. Aronson, it was your dedication to honor Huberman’s memory that was the initial driving force behind this film.   Could you elaborate for us?
Ms. Straus: In 1995 I set down with my father to do an oral history about his life as a musical prodigy and what it was like to live in Vienna during the the 20s.  I was particularly interested to know if there was any intersection between the musical life and the visual arts, since it was such an interesting time in the arts. I also knew that he was Bronsilaw Huberman's protege and I wanted to know more about what it was like to be a "Wunderkind" and what exactly his interactions were with Huberman. My father told me about growing up poor but rich in talent which opened all kinds of doors for him.  He played in some of the most opulent homes in Vienna. There was indeed a direct link to the visual arts as both my father and his sisters would often play in the homes of the wealthiest Viennese families including the Bloch-Bauer family.  My father told me how Bronislaw Huberman was one of the most famous violinists of his time and very hands-on in my father's education -- sending him to Berlin at age 14 to study at the most famous music academies such as "Hochshule fur music" so that he would have a very rounded education.  At the same time, Huberman took care of finding my father a patron in Berlin to live with and arranged to pay for all the expenses through his personal banker.
The following year, my father passed away so it was very lucky for me to have this material to keep for future generations of my family.  In 2004, I was attending a conference in Dresden and decided to make a trip to Berlin to see if I could find any materials relating to my father's studies in Berlin.  I was so surprised to find so much material in the archives of the conservatory including letters from Huberman's banker as well as letters from my grandfather relating to my father's stay there. I connected with my father's younger sisters who were duo pianists, and for the first time I heard how Huberman had personally arranged for them to leave Vienna in 1939 when they had no hope of getting out.  I had never heard that story before and that was a real awakening for me. A few years later, I was visiting family in Israel and noticed that in the hall where the IPO plays there was no mention of Huberman at all or of the founding members so I went to the orchestra management.  In 2006, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the orchestra, we dedicated a plaque to Huberman and all the founding musicians at a wonderful ceremony with Zubin Mehta and descendants of the original players.
Around the same time, I met by chance Joshua Bell who was riding on the NY subway carrying with him the Stradivarius that used to belong to Huberman.  The violin was stolen in 1936 when Huberman was playing at Carnegie Hall raising money for his orchestra.  The violin did not surface for 50 years when in 1986 the thief on his death bed confessed to his wife that he had stolen it. She reported it to the police and got a reward. The police turned the violin over to the insurance company who sold it through a well known violin dealer to Norbert Brainin the violinist of the Amadeus String Quartet, and eventually in 2004 Joshua Bell purchased it from Norbert.  I felt that this was a sign from heaven, and that it was up to me to remind the world who Huberman was and what he did to save so many musicians from certain death. First I produced a concert in Vienna with Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk to commemorate Huberman and that led to the film.
ARCA Blog: What was your role in the development of the film?
Ms. Straus: First, I pitched the idea to Josh Aronson.  Then I helped in the research and made introductions in Israel to the General Manager of the Israel Philharmonic and many of the people who are featured in the film -- like the violin maker Amnon Weinstein; the composer Tzvi Avni who complied the Huberman archives with Huberman's secretary Ida Ibbeken after Huberman died in 1947;  Leon Botstein who told me that everything about Huberman interested him and he would be happy to help. Leon did a marvelous job in providing historical context and more, and last but not least my aunt Rosi Grunschlag who died  earlier this year who has an incredibly moving interview sort of in the "golden section" of the movie telling how Huberman helped them.
I helped in translations from Hebrew as well as giving advise about images and identifying people.  I found a not-for-profit entity with a mission compatible with the subject of the film who were able to offer tax deductible charitable deductions for contributions.  I contributed financially, as well as raised money from others, wrote letters asking for support, and spoke to anyone who would listen about the film.  For the last three years in addition to my "day" job, I was totally absorbed in the project.  This was a large project with a budget of over $1 million.  We started the film just when the (Bernie) Madoff scandal came out -- so raising money was incredibly difficult when so many Jewish foundations and funders who would have naturally supported such a project were not in a position to do so. So it is incredible that we were able to complete the film without going into a deficit.
ARCA Blog: The website for “Orchestra of Exiles” says that the movie sets out to answer two questions: “How did living through WWI and the Depression change Huberman from a self-absorbed eccentric genius into an altruistic statesman dedicated to egalitarian politics and humanism? How did Nazism and its cultural policies ignite Huberman and inspire him to bring music to Palestine, to save Jews and to fight anti-Semitism?” What is your personal response?
Ms. Straus:  Josh Aronson the filmmaker, did a fabulous job in answering these questions.  When I started out to make this film it was going to be a small personal story, but Josh -- through his research and his creative mind -- saw the bigger picture and asked these questions and answered them very dramatically in the film.
ARCA Blog:  What does Huberman have to teach us today about being heroic and living productive lives that make a difference to others?
Ms. Straus:  In Huberman’s case, the producers of the movie estimate he saved more than 1,000 lives. What made him different from the others who felt so powerless against a repressive government? I think that is the question that is most difficult to answer - why would someone at the height of his career dedicate himself totally to the plight of others when he could have gone to Switzerland and then to the US and continued with his career -- unlike ordinary people, there would have been little difficulty for him to relocate  particularly as early as 1933 -- but that is what makes him and Arturo Toscanini and Pablo Casals unique -- they had a broader world view and a conscious and they acted upon it!
"Orchestra of Exiles" opened October 26th at New York City's Quad Theater at 13th Street between 5th and 6th. NOTE:  The Quad Cinema at 34 W 13th Street is back up and running post hurricane Sandy and the documentary will be running from Friday November 16th for another week.  Josh Aronson will be at the 7:30 showing on Sunday, November 18th for Q & A.

Simultaneously, the film will be shown in LA at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 and will open soon at the Laemmle Monica - both on a limited schedule.  Please consult the Laemmle Theaters website for schedule.  The film will also be screened in the Hudson Valley at Upstate Films November 16th.

In Europe, the documentary will premiere at the Berlin Jewish Museum on November 22 with a 2nd Berlin screening on November 23rd and in Paris on December 11th and on January 15th.

Here’s a link to the film’s trailer and more information about the film: www.orchestraofexiles.com.

Here's a link to an interview with Josh Aronson and his meeting with Ms. Straus and her story about Joshua Bell and the stolen violin.  And here on Joshua Bell's website is the "Story of His Violin".