November 4, 2017

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.