Topic: “This House Would Repatriate Contested Artefacts”
Whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned is a perennial question. Amidst increasing scrutiny of symbols of Europe’s colonial past, multiple states and the UN have called for the return of contested cultural property. From the Koh-i-Noor Diamond and the Rosetta Stone, to the Benin Bronzes and Moai Statues of Easter Island, British institutions are full of artefacts claimed by nations across the globe. This poses the question of whether it is time for museums to heed the calls to ‘wash [their] hands of blood and return’ everything. Can any country ever legitimately own artefacts of collective historic significance? Can modern states truly lay claim to their countries’ history?
Artist, curator, and historian specialising in African and African diaspora art history. He is Director of African Studies at Princeton University and was appointed as the Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at New York University.
Director of the Hunterian Museum. He has previously served as Director of Heritage Collections at the University of Amsterdam, and has worked for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and for the National Institute for Conservation in Amsterdam.
Art historian, art activist, and creator of ‘Uncomfortable Art Tours’, an educational project offering unofficial guided tours exploring the imperial background of major institutions. She also runs a gallery and museum review podcast, ‘The Exhibitionist’.
British actor, activist, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer. He has repeatedly appealed to the British government for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. He has written in support of the #LostMyMarbles campaign on Twitter, and has expressed his wish to see the statues steeped in the ‘blue lights of Greece’.
Academic and former Director of the Walters Art Museum in
Baltimore. He has curated a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions,
provides consulting services to cultural clients and pursues projects at the
intersection of the arts and sciences.