On 14 December 2017, the International Journal of Cultural Property published an article co-authored by Marina Lostal (Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands), Kristin Hausler (BIICL and a member of the HEURIGHT team) and Pascal Bongard (Head of the Policy and Legal Unit at Geneva Call, Switzerland), entitled “Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict”.
This article presents the preliminary findings of a scoping study that Geneva Call is conducting to understand the existing dynamics between armed non-state actors (ANSAs) and cultural heritage. Geneva Call is a Swiss-based nongovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the respect of international humanitarian law by ANSAs. The study centres on three case studies—Syria, Iraq, and Mali—on which information has been obtained through desk and field research, interviews with ANSAs operating in those countries, and with leading organizations committed to the protection of cultural heritage, globally or regionally. The article first maps the various attitudes of ANSAs toward cultural heritage, highlighting both positive and negative examples from current practices. Then it analyzes the response of specialized organizations to the impact of ANSAs on cultural heritage and their level of engagement with these actors on cultural heritage issues. Finally, the conclusion offers some tentative recommendations to enhance the respect of cultural heritage by ANSAs in non-international armed conflicts.
We are delighted to announce that a member of our research team, Professor Ewa Manikowska, has recently been awarded a new grant within the context of the JPI Cultural Heritage, under the JPICH Digital Heritage Call. The project titled “DigiCONFLICT: Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts” will be implemented by an international consortium: Project Leader – Dr. G. Pasternak, De Montfort University in Leicester (United Kingdom), Prof. Manikowska, Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland) and Dr. M.T. Tureby, Linköping University (Sweden).
DigiCONFLICT will explore the impact of digital heritage on contemporary engagements with the past in specific national frameworks in Poland, Sweden and Israel. Focusing on oral history, photography and multimedia museums as some of the most common media used to digitalize cultural heritage, the project responds to the Call’s ‘Critical Engagements with Digital Heritage’ trajectory, endeavoring to challenge widespread claims about the universality and democratizing abilities of digital heritage. Even though digital heritage maintains the potential to increase cohesion across nations and social groups, it is equally used to cement elite power structures, define what counts as cultural heritage, and determine whose cultural heritage is worthy of preservation. While acknowledging the role digital heritage plays in shaping and distributing cultural heritage, the project’s point of departure is that digital heritage cannot be considered in separation from historical, cultural and national contexts. The project has three main aims: 1) to explore how national politics affect digital definitions of cultural heritage, 2) to investigate who creates and engages with digital heritage, and how, and 3) to study how the scope and value of cultural heritage are being negotiated and reformulated in a digital context. The consortium will elaborate innovative research approaches to digital heritage through analysis of policy documents related to the case studies, to understand how specific institutions, governments and communities define, mark, and share cultural heritage. To achieve its aims, the consortium will employ interviews with professionals and members of communities who participate in the digitalization of cultural heritage. It will study what parameters affect the creation of digital heritage products, inquire what is gained and lost when cultural heritage becomes digital, and explore who the main beneficiaries are. Findings will mainly be disseminated via scholarly and mainstream publications, workshops, and a dedicated interactive website.
More info about transnational research consortiums which will receive funding in the programme Digital Heritage can be found here.
This article analyses how the International Criminal Court dealt, in the case of Al-Mahdi, with the crime of intentional attacks directed against protected cultural heritage sites. The case is discussed in the context of the previous experience and jurisprudence of other international criminal tribunals in prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of cultural heritage crimes. In this respect, the article examines the complementary function of international criminal justice in relation to the shortcomings of national criminal jurisdictions. It also deals with a set of fundamental issues emerging at the junction of the international protection of cultural heritage and individual criminal responsibility, being the gravity of international crimes; cultural genocide as affecting the identity of a group; and the primary obligation of States to exercise criminal jurisdiction over individuals. The core aim of the article is thus to critically analyse the extent to which the ICC judgment in Al-Mahdi may be seen as a breakthrough towards a more efficient international mechanism for counteracting impunity in crimes against cultural heritage.
On 3 November 2017, the Polish team of the Project HEURIGHT had the honour to host special guest lectures by Dr Charlotte Woodhead, from the University of Warwick. Dr Woodhead’s research interests lie in cultural heritage law. She has studied and written on the restitution and repatriation of objects from museum collections. She has a particular interest in the work of the Spoliation Advisory Panel and the legal and self-imposed moral obligations under which museums act in their dealings with their collections and with the people they serve.
The lectures were addressed to the students of the Master Programme in Art History. Dr Woodhead explained legal, technical and financial difficulties and barriers to restitution of looted or plundered cultural property. In this context, she dealt with the realization of the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art in various European jurisdictions. Special focus was given the actual practice of the Spoliation Advisory Panel in the United Kingdom. The Panel provides a mechanism to bring claims to recover cultural objects of which the original owners were dispossessed during the Nazi era. Its paramount purpose is to achieve a fair and just solution for the parties and it does this by assessing primarily moral considerations. By referring to particular cases reviewed by the Panel, Dr Woodhead offered broader observations on available remedies for past cultural wrongs and injustices.
The event was held at the Institute of Art History of the University of Warsaw.
Hanna Schreiber, Polish Research Team, has been a guest speaker in the course organized for soldiers in the NATO Military Police Centre of Excellence located in Bydgoszcz (25-26 September 2017). Dr Schreiber has cooperated with the Centre for many years – it has been her 8th course already. She has delivered lectures on the topics of cross-cultural awareness, culture and cultural heritage protection in the operational environment. Twenty six participants from sixteen countries took part in the training.
Hanna Schreiber, from Polish research team, did her research at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. Her research related to the challenges ahead the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. She did several expert interviews and visited the UNESCO archives.
On 12 September 2017, two Principal Investigators of the Project HEURIGHT, Kristin Hausler and Andrzej Jakubowski, participated in the conference titled ‘Innovative legislation, policies and ICT tools for Forget Heritage’, organized by the City of Bydgoszcz (Poland). The conference was organized within the framework of the international project FORGET HERITAGE (titled ‘Innovative, replicable and sustainable Private Public Cooperation management models of the abandoned historical sites by setting up Cultural and Creative Industries’). The main aim of the project is promoting cooperation between European cities in order to identify innovative, replicable and sustainable management models of the historical sites by valorising them through setting up cultural and creative companies.
See full programme.
On 6-9 September 2017, Andrzej Jakubowski participated in the 13th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) conference titled ‘Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law’. The event took place in Naples (Italy), on 7-9 September 2017. The conference was hosted by the University of Naples Federico II. The opening session of the conference was held in the Teatrino di Corte, the King’s private opera theatre inside the Royal Palace, and the main conference was held in the Castel dell’Ovo, a magnificent medieval building which is the oldest standing fortification in Naples. Pre-conference ESIL Interest Group events were organized at the historical premises of the School of Law of the university.
The core objective of this conference was to explore how international law has responded, or can or should respond, to the fundamental challenge of defining and regulating global public goods, global commons and fundamental values. Andrzej Jakubowski presented a paper ‘Global Commons, Cultural Nationalism and the International Protection of Cultural Heritage’ at the 4th conference Agora The Protection of Cultural Heritage in International Law.
Full conference programme.
Hanna Schreiber, from Polish research team, took part in the ICH seminar in Riga (Latvia), organized by dr Anita Vaivade, UNESCO Chair on Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy and Law
within the framework of the project OSMOSE
, 7-9.09, titled: ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nature: Spaces, Resources and Practices’.
The seminar hosted researchers from Latvia, France, United States, Lithuania, Estonia, Iceland and Poland. First day of the seminar was held in Salacgriva, within the natural bioreserve, the only biosphere reserve in Latvia, covering the 60-kilometer long Vidzeme shoreline of the Gulf of Riga and broad territories of North Vidzeme region, including one of the biggest areas of raised bogs in the Baltic states, as well as the largest area of littoral or randu meadows in Latvia. The second day, in the format of an open conference took place in the Latvian Academy of Culture
in Riga. Hanna Schreiber discussed the issues related to the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention into national legislation, she presented an example of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, a site inscribed on the World Heritage List, due to its intangible importance. She also addressed problems related to building bridges between 1972 and 2003 Conventions.
Member of our team, Hanna Schreiber gave an opening speech on the Polish Culture Conference on folk art, that was held in Lublin, on 6th September 2017, in the Centre for the Meeting with Cultures
. The title of her speech was: ‘The Protection of Folk Creators in Europe and in the World: Comparative View on 10 Countries’. She also moderated the first panel, hosting as speakers Professor Sławomir Ratajski, Secretary General of the Polish UNESCO National Committee and Adam Jankiewicz, a constitutional lawyer and expert in heritage matters.
The Conference was opened by Wanda Zwinogrodzka, Vice-minister of Culture, and is a part of nation-wide consultations with diverse groups: researchers, NGO representatives, local communities and folk artists on the foreseen ammendments in the legal regulations protecting culture, cultural acitivities and cultural heritage in Poland.
See conference site