Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Dedication of ADCAEA to Transparency Questioned

Sue McGovern-Huffman informed the readers of this blog that she had set up an organization to do something about the current state of the trade to help countries like Egypt protect their heritage from smuggling to feed the international no-questions-asked trade, and invited us to take a look and make constructive comments on it. Which I did, here and here. There was no response at all (Ms Huffman in a huff?), except to silently correct a glaring mistake on the home page mission statement.  David Gill has also become interested in the Association at first sight promising so much. He posted some remarks a few days ago ('ADCAEA: an association for dealers and collectors' Friday, August 8, 2014). No reply to those either have yet been forthcoming (currently: No comments). Like myself, he is concerned that the choice of one of the officers says little for the judgement and sincerity of its creators. Not to be deterred by being ignored, Professor Gill has returned to the subject ('ADCAEA: who is one of the officers?' Monday, August 11, 2014), again enquiring into who is running the thing. He notes the significance of the choice of the Association's Treasurer:
Is this Joseph Lewis II the same one who [...]?
and was mentioned by Urice and Adler, "Unveiling the Executive Branch's Extralegal Cultural Property Policy", University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-20 (see here and here - note name-change and here).

I wonder whether the fact that the Association has not responded in any way to substantive comments and requests for clarification indicates that from the moment questions were raised, it simply collapsed. We seem to be witness lately to a lot of wild thrashing around by the US collectors' lobby. A problem being pointed out seems often to provoke some knee-jerk reaction. A typical response in the milieue seems to be a impetus to set up some kind of formal group which is then given wider-ranging functions. Readers may remember the ACCG setting up a group to help British museums buy Treasure finds from metal detector using Treasure hunters, they set up group, collected money from their supporters and then - silence (on whether the donors got their money back too). There have been several other groups and 'research institutions' which seem largely intended to produce kudos for the individuals who appoint themselves as its 'officers', make a big noise, fundraise, produce a webpage, organize some round-table with the same old people sitting at it sniffing at preservationist notions, and then stop functioning when the realisation is that progress in the field is a bit more difficult than a "let's set up a group - yeah!" and cultivating a few clueless US politicians. The Cultural Property Research Institute is a good/bad example of this. Has the silent ADCAEA become a dodo-organization before it was even fully hatched?

See:  PACHI Monday, 28 October 2013, 'US Special Interest "Cultural Policy" Talkshops'.

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