Upcoming Conferences

Next week in London the American Bar Association will be holding its fall international meeting. On Thursday, from 4-5.30 there will be a panel discussion on the International Movement of Art & Cultural Property:

Public International Law

Museums around the globe confront numerous obstacles in dealing with claims made on the art works and cultural objects in their collections. In some cases, works may have been placed on loan years ago and a museum may not know the current owner or may be presented with a claim to restore the works to the lender. Museums must also safeguard the ownership rights of victims of theft, including nations whose antiquities have been illegally excavated and removed and Holocaust victims and their heirs whose art properties were stolen during World War II. Finally, works on loan may be claimed to satisfy judgments received against the owner. In the United States, the ability of museums to remove art works from their collections through deaccessioning depends on laws that vary from state to state. The problem is more complicated in countries where museums are prohibited by law to remove any works from their collections. This panel will address issues of deaccessioning, long-term loans, and return guarantees for works on international loan and consider policies that may lead to greater cooperation in this complicated area of international law.

Co-Sponsoring Committees:

Europe Committee International Commercial Transactions, Franchising, and Distribution Committee, International Intellectual Property Committee , Information Services, Technology, and Data Protection Committee, Immigration and Naturalization Law Committee, and Financial Products and Services Committee

Program Chair:
Cristian DeFrancia, Legal Adviser, Iran – United States Claims Tribunal, The Hague, Netherlands

Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Chief Prosecutor, Grafton County, Concord, New Hampshire


Lawrence M. Shindell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ARIS Corporation, Milwaukee, WI
Norman Palmer, Rowe & Maw Professor of Commercial Law, Faculty of Laws, University College, London, England
Patty Gerstenblith, Professor, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, IL
Bonnie Czegledi, Founder, Czegledi Art Law, Toronto, Canada

A likely topic for discussion may be the new consultation paper on Draft Regulations for the Museums and Galleries of Information for the Purposes of Immunity from Seizure Under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Another conference will be taking place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign April 24-25, 2008. It looks beyond the law at how heritage is constructed, and sounds fascinating. Here are the details:


Thursday and Friday, April 24-25, 2008
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Spurlock Museum and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage and Museum Practices (CHAMP) have organized a major conference on “Contested Cultural Heritage” to be held at the Museum on Friday, April 25, 2008. Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, former Director of the Iraq National Museum and now Visiting Professor at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, will deliver the keynote address of the conference (“Mayhem in Mesopotamia” on April 24).

The conference brings together an international group of scholars to discuss how forces of religion and nationalism may act to heighten inter-group tension around heritage claims, even to the point of causing the destruction of ancient and historic sites. Among the cases to be considered are the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan; Christian and Muslim conflict resolution at a major mosque in Cordoba, Spain; different views and practices toward the indigenous past among Native Americans and the archaeologists who study their ancestors; the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles debate; Egypt’s demand for the return of the Bust of Nefertiti; heritage frictions implicated in the recent Balkans War; Peru’s attempt to repatriate the Machu Picchu collections from Yale University; and the aggressive marking of Protestant and Catholic identities in Belfast, Northern Ireland through wall art. A roundtable discussion at the end of the conference seeks to chart new directions for implementing policies that lessen the negative dimensions of cultural heritage and further awareness of its value for a larger public, thereby promoting site preservation as well as social/political harmony.

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

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