The Balangiga Bells and the right to self-determination

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via Philippine Inquirer, 22 Dec 2018: An editorial by a friend Kate Tantuico on the recent return of the Balangiga Bells. Tantuico is also co-convening a session on Heritage Management Law and Policy in this year’s SPAFACON.

During deliberations for the Cultural Heritage Law of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10066), legislators observed that many of our cultural materials remain on display in museums abroad. The late senator Edgardo Angara said he himself saw many Philippine artifacts obtained from underwater sites in Southern Palawan on display in the Newberry Museum in Chicago. Sen. Richard Gordon also mentioned that cannons from Grande Island were taken by American forces and brought to the Smithsonian Institute, despite calls for their return by the people of Olongapo.

On a global scale, the return of colonial cultural materials to their now-sovereign countries of origin is ongoing. In 2015, the Nusantara Museum in Delft, the Netherlands, offered to return 14,000 colonial artifacts to our neighbor Indonesia, which they had ruled as the Dutch East Indies. In March 2018, President Emmanuel Macron of France met with Patrice Talon, his counterpart in the former French possession of Benin. Macron said France will be returning all artifacts taken from Africa, following persistent calls from various ethnic groups in Nigeria. And just last month, The British Museum and France’s Quai Branly Museum declared they will be returning the Benin Bronzes — a collection of sculptures — to Benin and Nigeria after decades of pressure from the latter.

Source: The Balangiga Bells and the right to self-determination | Inquirer Opinion

Thailand Is Ramping Up Efforts to Recover Cultural Heritage From US Museums, Including the Met

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Source: artnet news, 20181106

via artnet news, 06 November 2018: An expanded article based on a news reports in Thailand last week.

Source: artnet news, 20181106

Source: artnet news, 20181106

Thailand has stepped up its efforts to reclaim bronze and stone sculptures that have been in US museum collections for decades. The Kingdom of Thailand’s culture minister announced last week that the country is seeking the return of 23 antiquities, some of which have been housed in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art since the late 1960s.

Unnamed Institutions in the UK and Australia are also in the Thai government’s sights as it intensifies its efforts to recover sculptures and other artifacts it claims were illegally removed from temples and archaeological sites. Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat is leading a task force to recover more than 700 artifacts in collections abroad that Thailand claims were stolen, the Bangkok Post reports.

Source: Thailand Is Ramping Up Efforts to Recover Cultural Heritage From US Museums, Including the Met | artnet News

See also

Call For Applications: International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage 2017

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Applications close 5 April 2017

The Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan, is organizing the 12th International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Japan, from 28 August to 16 September, under the UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management, in cooperation with UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS/ICORP and ICOM and supported by the Japanese National Institutes for Cultural Heritage (NICH).

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Call For Applications: International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage 2017

A history of local activism at Borobodur

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Borobudur. Source: Inside Indonesia Jul-Sep 2016

Borobudur is Indonesia’s most famous ancient temple site and also a Unesco World Heritage site. This story tells an inside history of how local communities have lobbied to protect the site from outside commercial interests.

Borobudur. Source: Inside Indonesia Jul-Sep 2016

Borobudur. Source: Inside Indonesia Jul-Sep 2016

The hidden story of Borobudur
Inside Indonesia, Jul-Sep 2016

The local resistance movement, whose lobbying against the mall was eventually successful, used not only conventional demonstrations, such as rallies, but also protests in the form of rituals and art performances. This was to show the government that it was time to stop exploiting Borobudur for commercial purposes and instead nurture the Borobudur that had provided local residents with meaning and livelihoods. Rituals and art performances are an act of giving. Unlike the economically motivated protests in which people demanded their share of the profits gained from treating the temple as a commodity, these cultural protestors voluntarily gave their money, energy and time to maintain the spiritual and social importance of Borobudur. In the controversial arena of cultural heritage management, local groups with strong support are making a robust case: it is time to give the spiritual and ethical basis of Borobudur the respect and attention it deserves.

Full story here.

Tracking how antiquities get stolen and sold on the black market

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Evidence of looting in Angkor. Source: The Cambodia Daily 20140618

A new study published in the British Journal of Criminology reveals the inner workings of a statue trafficking network in Cambodia and Thailand and sheds light on how the particular form of organised crime works.

Evidence of looting in Angkor. Source: The Cambodia Daily 20140618

Evidence of looting in Angkor. Source: The Cambodia Daily 20140618

Temple Looting in Cambodia: Anatomy of a Statue Trafficking Network
Simon Mackenzie and Tess Davis
British Journal of Criminology 2014, doi: 10.1093/bjc/azu038

New Evidence Ties Illegal Antiquities Trade to Terrorism, Violent Crime
National Geographic News, 13 June 2014

Study Details Sophisticated Temple-Looting Ring
Cambodia Daily, 18 June 2014
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Job Posting: Assistant Professor or Associate Professor in Visualisation of Cultural Heritage

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Nanyang Technological University

Job opportunity from the Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University

ADM is currently developing a teaching and research focus in Visualisation of Cultural Heritage. As such, applicants from across this expanding field are encouraged to apply, whether from established disciplines such as history, archaeology, and art history, or emerging fields of study, such as spatial history, media arts & sciences, heritage science and cultural geography. In particular, expertise in one or more of the following areas is/are sought:

1) Art / Architectural History
2) Virtual Heritage
3) Digital Visualisation and Representation Technologies
4) Virtual Archaeology and Digital Humanities
5) Image Processing, Dynamic Monitoring and Structural Analysis of Monuments
Read More