Showing posts with label annual conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label annual conference. Show all posts

September 30, 2014

International Committee on Museum Security, Copenhagen, Denmark: Conference celebrates the ruby anniversary in a royal city

SMK (national gallery of Denmark)
by Penelope Abram, alumna of ARCA 2013

The Danish capitol of Copenhagen welcomed a lively crowd for the 40th Annual International Committee on Museum Security. Greeted with smiling faces and sunny weather, was the landmark National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst). Security professionals from many countries and established institutions were represented as presenters and participants. The theme for this milestone year was “Implementing and maintaining security and safety at cultural institutions with fewer or limited financial resources today and in the future”. My ARCA thesis, written for the 2013 year, fit right into the theme of making security cost effective and highly capable. I presented on my thesis of museum security, which was a theoretical plan for the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. I designed an organizational method for security while combining inventory and time management based on my previous retail experience and on the Everson’s methods currently in place.

The first speaker enlightened us with a “Year in Review”. He remarked on just a glimpse of the thefts, damages, and general misfortunes that struck cultural institutions in the past year. He commented and observed some trends and using graphs and statistics, he revealed how these change drastically, or minimally, within a year’s time. This led to a great conversation on how something as seemingly banal as flood damage could pose a tremendous risk to cultural heritage.

A Business Director of a Museum in the Netherlands gave a presentation that was as suspenseful as an action movie. In early 2014, a large bushfire was ablaze in the countryside, which threatened the museum if it continued to spread. While rapidly approaching, the plan of action was to protect everything in the museum, which led to a system that was currently in place to secure as many art pieces as possible in the vault before the fire reaches their doorstep. Not to keep anyone in suspense, everything was kept perfectly safe and the fire never burned through the museum’s immediate campus.

View from the lawn of the Louisiana museum
During the course of the conference, a panel discussed some of the ingenious ways to save an institution’s security team time, money and personnel. LJ Hartman of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City discussed the implications of being open one more day and how to calculate security personnel in a much more organized and balanced way. Vernon Rapley of the Victoria and Albert Museum discussed how his Museum uses gallery staff on a temporary or on-call basis. Although this is considered controversial in the UK, his use of “zero hour workers” to enhance the security team for certain events, exhibits and occasions, seems to be an inventive way to keep up with the ebb and flow of visitors.

A large part of the conference was exploring the security dilemmas of local Copenhagen museums. I was assigned the National Museum of Denmark and as a student of ARCA I was reminded instantly of our security audit we conducted. Although in Italy, we were students with basic knowledge, in Denmark, I was surrounded by professionals from all different fields examining and asking relevant questions, all using their well-honed skills and points-of-view. The expertise of our host Security Director, Rune Hernoe was impressive and admirable, and the group collaboration taught me further the hands-on world of museum security.

New security methods were on demonstration a couple times that week and to see ways to prevent thefts, damage and catastrophes, was sometimes a stimulating display. Watching a flame go from ablaze to absent with just a unique combination of gases was quite spectacular, while seeing technologically advanced cameras was informative.

A highlight of the conference was to get an insider’s tour of some of the best art museums and castles Denmark has to offer. Seeing the crown jewels in the Rosenborg Castle, touring a genuinely unmodified Victorian apartment owned by the National Museum, walking through the modern and contemporary art exhibits of the SMK and ARKEN, and taking in the view of the ocean while on the lawn of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art were my personal favorites.

From the first day to the last, the willingness to share ideas and strengths was motivating as a young professional like myself to witness. Just listening to some of the conversations over coffee breaks it is apparent that these security professionals value working together. Hearing how investigating problems and solving solutions while trading stories over dinner reminds me how much museum security is a team effort rather than a solo trial. Last summer, while in Dick Drent’s Museum Security course during the ARCA program, I changed my perception of the museum world, and attending this conference only added and enhanced that outlook. Having him there to watch me present, the thesis that he inspired, was another bonus of this event.

April 15, 2013

American Institute for Roman Culture To Host Third Annual UNLISTED Conference on Archaeological Cultural Heritage

"Cultural Heritage in Digital Media: Conversation for Conversation, Sustaining Global Storytelling Online" is the subject for the third annual UNLISTED conference to be sponsored by the American Institute for Roman Culture.

This program, which offers simultaneous translations in English and Italian, will be held at the Marconi University in Rome from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.
"Conversation for Conservation" 
It is essential to tell a good story on a global level in an accessible manner through the various channels of digital media (e.g., FB, Twitter, Instagram), to foster conversation. This dialogue, in turn, leads to action, having a direct beneficial effect on sites and monuments because of the broad range of people and organizations involved through existing partnerships and participation."
Here's a link AIRC's conference page. The conference can be followed via live streaming courtesy of Marconi University.

Brent E. Huffman, producer of the documentary "The Buddhas of Mes Aynak" (2013), will speak at this conference. Other participants include Stephan Faris, a freelance journalist who writes for TIME (e.g. Gladiator Tomb); Nicolee Drake, professional photographer; Erica Firpo, freelance writer and social media consultant; Sam Horine, professional photographer; and AIRC Documentary Films.

December 8, 2011

Post from London: The Institute of Art and Law's "A Round Up of Recent Events in the World of Art and Antiquities"

by Kirsten Hower, ARCA 2011, ARCA Blog London Correspondent

The Institute of Art and Law in London, England, hosts both academic certificates and accompanying events such as conferences and study forums. On Saturday, November 26th, they held a study forum titled, “A Round Up of Recent Events in the World of Art and Antiquities,” which focused on current legislation concerning art and antiquities. The forum was attended by lawyers, art historians and students, giving a broad scope to the seminar’s coverage.

Norman Palmer, Professor of Law at the University College London and a central figure of the day, opened the day’s talks by addressing the issues surrounding anti-seizure statutes in the United Kingdom. He focused on the problems of anti-seizure which do not allow a claim to be taken to court while an artwork is on loan. However, loopholes inside the statutes create further problems, most of which could be, potentially, avoided with a good provenance. The point, as Palmer noted, is that, “Art is mobile. It should be able to move and be able to move safely.” This is, of course, a notion many of us hope for.

The next speaker was Nicholas Querée, a solicitor of Hickman Rose, who expounded on “Theft and Handling of Stolen Cultural Objects.” It was a very lively presentation filled with theft stories such as the 1961 theft of Goya’s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington and the theft of the Stone of Scone. In addition, he addressed existing UK legislation concerning theft and handling stolen goods (such as the 1968 Theft Act) as well as fraud (the 2006 Fraud Act). The most difficult issue concerning the handling of stolen cultural objects, as Querée pointed out, is establishing suspicion or knowledge that the object is stolen—which is far more difficult than one can imagine.

Tony Baumgartner, of Clyde & Co. LLP, rounded off the morning session with his talk “Targeted Offences: the Iraq Order and the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003” in which he recalled the sad tale of the Baghdad Museum in 2003. He stressed the fact that, though there is an estimate of how many works are missing, the true amount is unknown as to how much was looted from the museum from April 10th to April 16th. What happened to many of these works, is also not known. Baumgartner did, however, focus on the legislation enacted after the fact: the 2003 Act and the 2003 Iraq Order. The 2003 Act, which deals with tainted cultural objects, is limited to protecting objects stolen after December 30, 2003, (when it was commenced) and prompted the creation of the Iraq Order which prohibits all imports and exports of items illegally taken from Iraq.

The second half of the forum started with an interesting talk by Elizabeth Weaver, Barrister at XXIV Old Buildings, outlining the problematic case of Accidia Foundation v. Simon C. Dickinson Ltd. The convoluted case boiled down to the problem of certain parties acting as both agent and dealer in regards to the sale of artwork. As Weaver pointed out, agent and dealer are, in the eyes of the law, two very different roles and typically mutually exclusive. However, attempting to act in both capacities can cause infinite problems, especially in the art market which, as Weaver pointed out, is rather document shy.

Paul Stevenson, Barrister at Tanfield Chambers, continued on Weaver’s final note of the art market being document shy by speaking about, “Contracts and Exclusion of Liability,” and the problems that arise in court due to a lack of documentation. He focused specifically on exemption clauses in contracts that deal with the liability of each party in the context of their contract. Stevenson focused on two pieces of legislation that deal with liability within sales contracts: Unfair Contract Terms Act (UCTA) 1977 and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (UTCCR) 1999. These pieces of legislation deal with breaches of contract dealing with sales—something very important within the art market.

Kevin Chamberlain, Barrister at York Chambers, gave one of the most instructive talks of the afternoon, “UK Implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention.” Chamberlain paid specific attention to the articles of the Convention that UK law either initially conformed to or that it adapted to conform to. It was both interesting and helpful to have someone speak about the individual articles and to speak about their importance in the construction and evolution of UK Law.

Janet Ulph, Professor at the University of Leicester, gave an enlightening talk on “Art and Money Laundering” to give an overview to the legal aspects of art theft and fraud as well as their link to money laundering. She drew attention to the case of R v. Tokeley-Parry (1999) which concerns the problems of handling goods that have been stolen abroad. In addition, Ulph explained Confiscation Orders and how they have been upheld in United Kingdom. Quoting statistics of these Orders, “Between April 2007 and February 2008, 4,054 confiscation orders were made for a total of £225.87 million.” The main difficulty, as Ulph pointed out, is the statute of limitations that keeps casing from being prosecuted; an unfortunate reality throughout legal systems. Keep an eye out in the coming year for Ulph’s new book on this same subject.

The IAL’s study forum, like many of the other programs of the IAL, was a great combination of art and law that brought together those looking to study and protect art. For more information on the Institute of Art and Law, their events and certificate programs, visit

March 12, 2009

ARCA Announcements UPDATED

ARCA 2009 Award Winners
ARCA is pleased to announce the winners of its new annual awards. Each year ARCA will award individuals for their outstanding efforts for the protection and recovery of cultural heritage, and the study of art crime. Awards are voted on by ARCA’s Trustees and the Editorial Board for The Journal of Art Crime
The winners of the 2009 ARCA Awards are as follows:

Art Policing & Recovery: Vernon Rapley, Scotland Yard 
Art Security & Protection: Francesco Rutelli, former Italian Minister of Culture 
Art Crime Scholarship: Norman Palmer, King’s College London 
Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art: Giovanni Nistri, Head of the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage 

ARCA honors these individuals for their exemplary work.

Summer Internship in Italy, 2009
ARCA offers a summer internship on location in Amelia, Italy (between Rome and Orvieto) during the Postgraduate Program that we run, from June 1-August 26. Applicants must be proficient in Italian. The work schedule is 25-30 hours per week. Duties include administration, research for our various projects, and aiding students, faculty, and the Dean during the program. Housing in Amelia for the summer and a meal allowance will be provided by ARCA. This presents an excellent opportunity for professional work training in the broad and interdisciplinary field of cultural property protection and work against art crime, while spending a lovely summer in Italy. If you are interested, please thoroughly acquaint yourself with the information about our Program on our website, and contact .

ARCA Annual Conference
11-12 July 2009
Amelia, Italy

The focus of this international conference is the academic and professional study of art crime, and how the study of it can help contemporary law enforcement and art protection. ARCA seeks to encourage scholars and students worldwide to turn their attentions to the understudied field of art crime and cultural property protection. The more minds working in the field, and the better the relationship between scholars and professionals (from police to security to the art world), the better protected art will be in the future.

ARCA welcomes submissions of papers for presentation at the conference. Papers should be 20 minutes in length, and should be related to the academic study of art crime or the collaboration between scholars and professionals for the prevention of art crime.

ARCA Members may attend the conference free of charge. A small attendance fee, in the form of a tax-deductible donation to ARCA, is required of attendees who are neither members nor presenters. Tickets may be reserved by email, with limited numbers available.

A complete schedule with further information on the conference, keynote speakers, and beautiful Amelia, Italy, will be available on our website. The conference will include presentation of the 2009 ARCA Awards, and a keynote speech from Col. Giovanni Pastore of the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Please send submissions, ticket requests, and inquiries to .