On 27 and 28 October 2016, the HEURIGHT Research Consortium held a meeting in London, at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. The meeting kicked off on the afternoon of Thursday 27th, with a discussion between Dr Damien Helly (European Centre for Development Policy Management) and the rest of the HEURIGHT Consortium to discuss our working papers regarding cultural heritage in the EU.
This internal discussion was followed by a public seminar entitled ‘Enforcing the Right to Cultural Heritage’; see the event programme.
During this two-hour seminar, members of HEURIGHT had the opportunity to present the current status of their research to an engaged audience of lawyers, cultural heritage professionals and academics working in the field. The first speaker, Dr Andrzej Jakubowski (Assistant Professor at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw)), discussed cultural heritage from the perspective of human rights law, focusing on the practice of regional European human rights institutions. Dr Hanna Schreiber (Adjunct Professor at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw) then presented on intangible cultural heritage, in the context of the ten years’ anniversary of the entry into force of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Dr Damien Helly (Deputy Head of Programme Strengthening European External Action at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)) then provided his thoughts on the role of cultural heritage within the EU’s external action. Dr Paola Monaco (post-doc fellow at the Law Faculty at the University of Trieste) explained the functioning of the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS). Richard Scott (Research Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law) closed the formal presentations with a discussion regarding the potential impact of Brexit on cultural heritage in the UK. The event, which was chaired by Kristin Hausler (Dorset Senior Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law), concluded with a lively debate with the audience on the topic.
A full report of this public event will be available shortly on this website.
The two-day meeting for the teams continued on Friday, with discussions covering the research conducted so far by the various teams, as well as the planning of the various activities for the end of 2016 and the year ahead. On third day (Saturday) Consortium members visited selected collections of the British Museum and National Gallery in London.
See more on the BIICL website.
Hanna Schreiber, member of the Polish Heuright team, took part in the Second Congress of Regional Cultures in Nowy Sącz (South of Poland, Małopolska Region), 18-21 October 2016. She participated in the panel discussion, where she presented contemporary challenges for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in Poland (National Intangible Cultural Heritage List and other programmes) as well as on the international forum. Discussions were accompanied by a range of cultural and artistic events, including the highlanders wedding, photography exhibition and concerts.
On 21-22 October 2016, Ewa Manikowska and Andrzej Jakubowski participated in the conference “What do Contentious Objects Want? Political, Epistemic and Artistic Cultures of Return,” organised by the Max Planck Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. Ewa Manikowska presented a paper entitled Entangled identities. The recovery of eastern European photographic collections. Abstract: In 2003 the antropologist Gretchen Schaff recovered in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History a forgotten collection of an anthropological survey (photographs, hair samples, fingerprints etc) of the Polish highlanders pursued by the the Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit (IDO), the Nazi scientific institute established in Cracow. Evacuated at the end of the war to Zandt and Miltach, the collection was accidentally sequestrated by the US army, in 1945. The restitution of this archive to the Jagiellonian University (seat the IDO archives) in 2009 resulted in a unique and unexpected ethnographic repatriation project. The photographs were shown to the surviving members of highlander community. In this way an ereased traumatic memory was returned and reconciled. In this paper I will consider the pre-1945 scientific photographic collections documenting the cultural landscape of Eastern Europe (of which the IDO archive is an example), a peripheral and contested a region inhabited over the time by an intermixed mosaic of nations and peoples, marked by dramatic political uphevals and by the theatres of the two world wars. Produced in such an entangeled reality as authoritative, often competing visualisations of imperial, national or local identities, today dispersed among numerous institutions worldwide and hardly known, they have lost their original context and meanings. The recent rediscovery of the 1912–1914 survey of the Jewish Historic-Ethnographic Society or of the photo-archive of the Königsberg provincial conservation office has shown however their great and unexpected cultural potential. In the latter case, the digitalization of the archive was a succesfull mean of its re-enacting in a rich variety of cultural contexts in Poland, Germany, Lithuania and in the EU. Inspired by current trends in the research of colonial photography and by the possibilities of digital access this paper will consider restitution through re-contextualisation as a way of giving contemporary value and meaning both to the bygone cultural heritage and to such forgotten photographic collections.
In turn, Andrzej Jakubowski gave a talk on Failed states, de facto regimes and the return of cultural objects: the role of safe havens. Abstract: In 2008, the ILA Cultural Heritage Law Committee adopted the resolution entitled ‘Guidelines for the Establishment and Conduct of Safe Havens’. According to the ILA definition, ‘safe havens are facilities created in order to care for cultural material that has been endangered by armed conflict, natural disasters, illegal excavation, or other insecurity and has therefore been removed for safekeeping and preservation from the territory of the source state to the territory of another state…’. Such ‘facilities’ are bound to ‘return cultural material items as soon as the established owner or other established source of the material so requests, provided that the safe haven is satisfied with the conditions for safekeeping and preserving the material by the requesting state or entity.’ The institution of ‘safe havens’, successfully employed inter alia during the conflicts in Lebanon (1975-90) and Afghanistan (1996-2001), has today gained more importance and world-wide recognition in light of current ‘insecurities’ for cultural heritage. These ‘insecurities’ mostly refer to hybrid, complex armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, involving enormous threats to cultural heritage. In particular, there is credible evidence that trafficking in looted ‘blood’ artefacts plays a significant role in the funding of Daesh (ISIS). In response to this worsening situation, the establishment of ‘safe havens’ for cultural material – coming from such ‘insecure’ territories via diverse channels – is treated today as moral obligation and commitment aimed to rescue, safeguard and return cultural objects to human communities who have created and/or enjoyed such heritage. Considering the actions envisaged by various international organizations and initiatives already taken by some of museum institutions, this paper discusses the role of cultural heritage safe havens as crucial tools in securing and rebuilding international peace and post-conflict reconciliation through the return of cultural heritage objects. Importantly, while recalling select current examples of such facilities the paper will also attempt to explore and assess legal, political, epistemic and human rights discourses surrounding this expanding international practice.
More about the event is to be found here.
On 27 October 2016 the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) will host a seminar ‘Enforcing the Right to Cultural Heritage’. This special seminar will discuss the enforcement of the right to cultural heritage from various legal angles. Access to cultural heritage will first be analysed from a human rights perspective, through a discussion of the practice of the European regional human rights institutions. More widely, the role of cultural heritage in foreign relations, including the role it may play in peace-building and reconciliation, and its place in international trade law will also be considered. Finally, the concept of cultural heritage itself will also be presented, including in particular its intangible aspect with a critical assessment of the impact of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The way culture can be measured through the UNESCO indicators will also be discussed, as well as the potential impact of Brexit on cultural heritage in the UK.
This event will be an opportunity for BIICL and the other teams participating in HEURIGHT to present their initial findings.
Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5JP.
For more information and registration see the website of the BIICL.
On 12-14 October 2016, the 1rst China – Central and Eastern European Countries Expert-Level Forum on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was held in Kraków, at the International Cultural Centre.
This was the first international meeting of this kind dedicated to intangible cultural heritage (ICH) as part of supra-regional co-operation format ’16+1′. The event gathered specialists from 17 countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and China. All those states are parties to the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. During the conference, experts shared and exchange: their knowledge and experience in adopting and adjusting legal regulations on the protecion of the ICH; research and documentation practices concerning ICH in their countries; best practices in terms of the intergenerational transmission. They also discussed on how to connect the principles for the safeguarding of the ICH in practice with the concept of sustainable development, adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly as Agenda 2030’s guiding princile which defines the goals of the international community for the next 15 years.
Hanna Schreiber, a member of the Polish team of the Project, was appointed a programme and thematic coordinator of the Forum.
More details and programme can be consoluted here.
Hanna Schreiber, member of Polish team, was appointed a programme and thematic coordinator of the I Expert-Level Forum China and East-Central Europe on the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. The event aims at sharing experiences, developing competence, and establishing a model of co-operation between the countries from the East-Central Europe and China in terms of the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.This will be the first international meeting of this kind dedicated to intangible cultural heritage as part of supra-regional co-operation format ’16+1′. The event will gather specialists from 17 countries. The format was proposed in 2012 by China. It covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. All those countries are parties to the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ratified by Poland in 2011).
We kindly invite to register for this event via website: 1st China – Central and Eastern European Countries Expert-Level Forum on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
On 29 September 2016, as part of its series on humanitarian law and policy, the Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) will host an online learning session on the legal protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict, with Kristin Hausler. She was recently interviewed ahead of this webinar.
For more info check the PHAP website.
On 10 September 2016, Kristin Hausler took part in a conference in Oxford, to discuss the protection of holy sites under international law, in particular under cultural heritage conventions, on a panel chaired by Dr Peter Petkoff. This event was organised by an international consortium for law and religion studies.
Updated Conference Program
Andrzej Jakubowski (Leader of HEURIGHT) participated in the 77th Biennial Conference of the International law Association (ILA), 7 – 11 August 2016, Johannesburg, International Law and State Practice: Is There A North-South Divide?. As a member of the ILA Cultural Heritage Law Committee he contributed to its recent Report on the Law Pertaining to Cultural Landscapes Significant to Indigenous Peoples.
Full programme of the ILA 77th Biennial Conference
ILA Resolution No. 3/2016
On 7 July 2016, the Research Team of the HEURIGHT Project held an open seminar aimed at disseminating the interim results of the international research on the right to cultural heritage in the European Union. The event was held at the University of Trieste, Department of Law, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies.