Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Where is this Going? "Hot Air and no Outreach"

Dorothy King ('Collecting 101: A Head at Bonhams') complains about the amount of propaganda and unsubstantiated allegations that are finding their way into the international media about looting and collecting antiquities, which leads to the danger of none of the concerns about these issues being "taken seriously by people dealing with the day to day business of antiquities, whether selling or buying".
In recent years there has however arisen a whole industry of 'experts' most of whom do little other than travel from one conference to another, and complain about the issues to raise funds to travel to more international conferences. So we have a lot of hot air and a lot of allegations, but very little actual outreach explaining it to people.
I think we would all like to see less jet-setting jaw-jaw from the experts and more presentation of concrete proposals for action to those responsible for creating policy and forumating legislation. So far, we have seen proposals coming mainly from the side of the trade and their lobbyists (eg Pearlstein's recent 'white paper' of the ADCAEA 'due diligence guidelines'). Initiatives like this are discussed on this blog, but not in the marbled halls of academia, which one might be forgiven for thinking, looking at the output, seem more concerned at the moment with discussing the newsworthy trophy cases rather than the pragmatic aspects of the daily business of antiquity trade and heritage protection.

1 comment:

Dorothy King said...

Again I want to make it clear that looting and the destruction of archaeological sites is a big issue and we do need to do something about it.

I have to be clear that I was offered financial support for LootBusters from dealers and dealers' associations. I declined it at the time as I thought it was better to initially start without them so that it wouldn't be an issue.

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