"The Contentious Museum" Aberdeen, UK Nov. 20-21

The biennial University Museums in Scotland conference will be taking place at my old school, the University of Aberdeen in November:

The 6th biennial University Museums in Scotland conference Museums have become increasingly contentious places, engaging with debates on issues such as repatriation, genocide, slavery, censorship, power and the treatment of human remains. This conference will discuss how responding to such challenges can enable museums to depart from tradition and embrace different ways of thinking, working and developing new audiences. One session will focus on challenges to the display and curation of human remains, which will contribute to the development of the ‘Guidelines for the Care of Human Remains in Scottish Museum Collections’ as well as wider thinking and practice. The legacy of empire and slavery will include a focus on an assessment of museum presentations celebrating the bicentenary of the 1807 abolition of the slave trade alongside similar issues relating to empire and racism. The second day will consider how the often conflicting demands of different interests affect museum practice with a focus on current negotiations with relevant communities and the legacy of previous practices that continue to be contentious. Four keynote papers will give further depth to these themes, while there will also be poster presentations to expand on some of the issues raised by speakers and by others who have already expressed an interest in the conference. A discussion panel towards the end of the conference will debate whether museums should aim to be contentious and what the impacts are of doing so. Selected papers are to be published in a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship. ‘the international forum for museum professionals’, edited by Robert Janes and published by Taylor and Francis. ‘The Contentious Museum’ conference is the sixth biennial University Museums in Scotland conference, drawing together a variety of people with professional, academic and community interests in museums in Scotland and elsewhere.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

"Acquiring and Maintaining Collections of Cultural Objects: Challenges Confronting American Museums in the 21st Century" Chicago

Forthcoming Symposium at De Paul in October:

8th Annual Symposium
Acquiring and Maintaining Collections of Cultural Objects: Challenges
Confronting American Museums in the 21st Century

Museums face increasingly difficult challenges in collecting cultural
objects-challenges that must be dealt with in ways that are consistent
with best practices. On October 16, 2008, DePaul University College of
Law will hold a major conference where leading experts will examine the
basic rules of nonprofit museum governance and how those rules apply to
the growing challenge of collecting cultural property in light of new
laws, court decisions and professional ethical guidelines; evolving
museum practices and standards in collecting antiquities; sovereign
immunity and immunity of art works; and the need for further standards
for donor/collector museum relationships.

OCTOBER 16, 2008
DePaul Center, Room 8005
1 E. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM


www.law.depaul.edu/museum http://ciplit.cmail2.com/l/499054/615d46d4/j>


Andrews Kurth LLP http://ciplit.cmail2.com/l/499054/615d46d4/t>
The Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation
Herrick Feinstein http://ciplit.cmail2.com/l/499054/615d46d4/d>

DePaul University College of Law is an accredited Illinois MCLE
provider. The Symposium has been approved for 6 hours of CLE credit.

Featured Speakers

Joseph Brennan
, Vice President and General Counsel, Field Museum of Natural History

Patty Gerstenblith
, Professor, DePaul University College of Law

Julie Getzels, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Art
Institute of Chicago

Gary T. Johnson, President, Chicago Historical Society

Thomas Kline
http://www.law.depaul.edu/centers_institutes/ciplit/museum/kline.asp> ,
Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP

Stephen J. Knerly, Jr. Esq., Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP

Jennifer Kreder
, Professor, Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law

Richard Leventhal
p> , Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Jane Levine, Senior Vice President and Worldwide Director of Compliance,

Louise Lincoln, Director, DePaul University Art Museum

Dan Monroe
, Director, Peabody Essex Museum

Rhoda Rosen, Director, Spertus Museum

John Russell, Professor, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Howard Spiegler, Partner, Herrick Feinstein, New York

Martin Sullivan, Director, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Susan M. Taylor, Former Director, Princeton University Art Museum

Stephen Urice, Professor, University of Miami School of Law

Laina Lopez, Attorney, Berliner Corcoran & Rowe


Program starts at 8:30 a.m. and reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.

For more information go to www.law.depaul.edu/museum
http://ciplit.cmail2.com/l/499054/615d46d4/1> or contact:

Ellen Gutiontov, Esq., Associate Director CIPLIT
eguti@depaul.edu or (312) 362-5124

Vadim Shifrin, Assistant Director, CIPLIT
vshif@depaul.edu or (312) 362-8415

DePaul University College of Law
25 East Jackson Boulevard * Chicago * Illinois * 60604 * 312.362.8701

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Forthcoming Program "Free Exercise, Historic Religious Properties and Sacred Sites", Washington DC, Sept. 18, 2008

For those in Washington DC, there’s an interesting forthcoming program on the protection of sacred sites in America:
The Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, in conjunction with the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, the Program on Law and Government, and the National Park Service, will hold its first program of the year on “Free Exercise, Historic Religious Properties and Sacred Sites: The Effect of RFRA and RLUIPA”.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 6th Floor 

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) created a cause of action for persons whose exercise of religion is substantially burdened by a government action, regardless of whether the burden results from a neutral law of general applicability.  In 1997, the Supreme Court invalidated RFRA as applied to the States, in a case involving a town’s denial of a permit to demolish a historic sanctuary building (the law still remains operative as to the Federal Government and to the District of Columbia). The response of Congress to that decision was its  enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).  RLUIPA reinstated the general rule of RFRA — that government action which substantially burdens religious exercise can be justified only if it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest — but this time, the law only would apply to  Local, State or Federal action involving land use or institutionalized persons. How have the courts applied RFRA to Federal actions involving historic religious properties or sacred sites, and what effect might RLUIPA have on otherwise valid and neutral historic preservation laws?  Drawing on recent case law and current litigation, the speakers will address these questions.
Speakers will include: 
•       Julia Miller, an attorney with the National Trust for Historic Preservation
•       Tersh Boasberg, an attorney specializing in historic preservation, chairman of the DC      Zoning Commission, and chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board.
•       Louis Cohen, partner, WilmerHale
General Registration:   no charge, but we need you to pre-register 
CLE Accreditation (2 credits) will be applied for – CLE Registration –  $35
For more information and to register, please contact:
Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education, American University Washington College of Law
Tel: 202-274-4075

You can also visit the LCCHP web site at http://www.culturalheritagelaw.org/events/lcchp-events/free-exercise.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Gustav — Levees Holding

Apologies for the light posting in recent days. I was in a hurry to pack up some clothes and head out of New Orleans. I’m safe in Austin Texas, watching and reading the Times-Picayune coverage of the storm. Things appear to be in flux at the moment. There are scattered reports of flooding in the Lower 9th Ward, but it looks like the levees are holding so far.

Driving West on I-10 on Saturday I saw hundreds of buses and ambulances coming in to get folks out of the path of the storm. The silver lining may be that people were able to get out of the area in time.

One issue during Katrina and during this storm is how to protect works of art during these disasters. I noted with great interest the forthcoming ICOM/ICMAH annual conference on “Museums and Disasters” which is scheduled to take place Nov. 12th – 16th 2008 in New Orleans. The scheduled presenters re seeming to take an interesting approach — by looking at how to present disasters as the subject of exhibition, but also how to protect museum collections during disasters. I had never considered before what the art museums in New Orleans (and elsewhere) do with their works of art to protec them during storms and natural disasters.

Hopefully I can shuffle my teaching duties to be able to attend most of these events in a couple of months. I’m also eager to get back to work at Loyola as soon as I can, but I did check out a big box of art law and contract law treatises to get to work on a new article this week.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Community Archaeology Conference

Via the Portable Antiquities Scheme Blog, I noticed there is an upcoming community archaeology conference in early 2009:

Community Archaeology in South West England
Free Conference held at Exeter University on the 21st of February 2009.

For abstract submissions and registration please see their website or contact Faye Simpson at fs216@exeter.ac.uk.

The South West of England has a plethora of innovative community archaeology projects working within the region to provide archaeological outreach to local communities. These archaeological outreach and education projects are varied in both there approaches and organisation. They range from ‘grass roots’ projects initiated and organised by interested amateurs, individuals and local societies, to ‘top down approaches’ by commercial archaeology firms and universities. Furthermore, they include a range of hands on activities such as standing building surveys, historical research, field-walking, oral history projects, excavations and finds processing, to name just a few.

As hosts, the Heritage Lottery Fund and University of Exeter’s Exploring Archaeology Project (XArch), provides the means in which the conference can act as a forum to discuss the variety of community initiatives in the South West of England, and assess how they work in practice. It will also open up communication between these different individuals, groups and organisations as to where the future lies for community archaeology in this region, and investigate the possibility of partnerships between these groups and projects.

Abstracts for papers should be no longer the 200 words in length and should be received by the 30.09.08.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Update on Wednesday’s Art Crime Panel

Wednesday’s panel at the British Society of Criminology was very engaging, and would have garnered a great deal of attention among cultural heritage scholars. But I’m sad to report that I’ve had considerably more folks email me to ask about the presentation than were actually present at the presentations.

Lucky for us, all of the papers we were discussing are published (or in my case will be soon).

My presentation was based on a forthcoming article in the International Journal of Cultural Property on the Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. I’ll shamelessly self-promote that when I have a copy available.

Simon Mackenzie‘s paper is: “Performative Regulation: A Case Study in How Powerful People avoid Criminal Labels” British Journal of Criminology 2008 48(2):138-153.

Carolyn Shelbourn’s presentation was based on a few articles:

Shelbourn, C “Time crime” – looting of archaeological resources and
the criminal law in England and the United States [2008] Criminal
Law Review, 204-213.

Shelbourn, C. Protecting Archaeological Resources In The United
States: Some Lessons For Law And Practice In England? [2007] Art
Antiquity and Law, 259-278.

Shelbourn C, Bringing The Skeletons Out Of The Closet? The Law and
Human Remains In Art, Archaeology and Museum Collections [2006] Art,
Antiquity and Law 179-198.

These two presentations were excellent and I enjoyed them a great deal. One problem with the current state of Heritage Law Scholarship, is that many of the best work is in specialty journals that can be hard to find. I think in particular a lot of the work by UK academics is underutilized by American authors because they don’t know about it. I’m working on a project which should help to correct a lot of those problems, and I’ll have a lot more to say about that in a few weeks hopefully.

Some of the journals, in particular Art, Antiquity and Law are not available electronically as far as I am aware. This is a real shame, and I think more authors should consider putting their work online so it can be accessed via sites like SSRN and others (or those journals need to consider putting stuff online). There are tradeoffs perhaps, and some Journals may not like stuff being given away, but I don’t see much point in writing articles if people are unaware of them or don’t read them.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Presentation Tomorrow At British Society of Criminology Conference

Tomorrow afternoon I will be presenting a short paper at the British Society of Criminology 2008 Conference in Huddersfield along with Carolyn Shelbourn and Simon Mackenzie. It should be a great panel, I’m looking forward to both the other presentations, and I’ll post a short summary of my talk and the panel on Thursday. For any who may be attending, the information on the panel is here:


Simon MacKenzie, University of Glasgow

Carolyn Shelbourn, University of Sheffield

Derek Fincham, University of Aberdeen

Chair and panel leader: Simon MacKenzie, University of Glasgow

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com