Museums and Restitution Conference at the University of Manchester

Call for papers for a conference on Museums and Restitution in July:

Museums and Restitution
International Conference
8-9 July 2010, University of Manchester

Museums and Restitution is a two-day international conference organised by the
Centre for Museology and The Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester.
The conference examines the issue of restitution in relation to the changing
role and authority of the museum, focussing on new ways in which these
institutions are addressing the subject.

Restitution is one of the most emotive and complex issues facing the museum
world in the twenty first century. Its current high profile reflects changing
global power relations and the increasingly vocal criticisms of the historical
concentration of the world’s heritage in the museums of the West. The 2002
Declaration of the Importance and Value of Universal Museums, which was signed
by the directors of eighteen of the world’s most powerful museums, pushed the
subject to the forefront of debate as never before.

Over recent years, the issue of restitution has taken on a new complexion with
different processes emerging. We have seen an increasing emphasis on museums
working with source communities, and with new forms of restitution other than
object restitution – such as visual and knowledge restitution. The language of
discussion too has changed, with the term ‘reunification’, for example, rather
than ‘repatriation’ now often being used in relation to the Parthenon Marbles.
The opening of New Acropolis Museum in Athens in June 2009 has added a further
dimension to the debates. We are also seeing new countries gaining increasing
prominence in restitution debates: for example, the official response from the
government of the People’s Republic of China to the Yves Saint Laurent auction
of Chinese looted bronzes at Christie’s in Paris in March 2009. This is a trend
clearly set to continue.

This conference will bring together museum professionals and academics from a
wide range of fields (including museology, archaeology, anthropology, art
history and cultural policy) to share ideas on contemporary approaches to
restitution from the viewpoint of museums.

Possible themes

  • New museums, new developments
  • Visual, knowledge and digital repatriation
  • Authority and power: voices listened to, voices heard
  • Beyond ownership? Loans, travelling exhibitions, exchanges
  • Reflections on returns

Please send a title and a short proposal of no more than 300 words and
biographical details to Louise Tythacott and
Kostas Arvanitis

Deadline for Abstracts: Friday 11th December 2009

Questions or Comments? Email me at

3 thoughts on “Museums and Restitution Conference at the University of Manchester”

  1. I am very interested in alternatives to repatriation, such as digital repatriation, cultural exchanges/collaborations, etc. If anyone has good examples, pls share.

  2. There is a museum in Peru called “Museo Regional de Ica” in these museum you can find amazing skulls that are definitively not human, they said they are human but we do not believe all what we are told, one can come up with our own conclusion and realize that those are not human remains.

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