Destructive Exploitation and care of Cultural Objects and Professional/Public Education for sustainable heritage management (DECOPE)

I am delighted to announce that, from today and for the next two years, I’m going to be an Associate Researcher on a project that’s investigating care for and exploitation of heritage during Russia’s war on Ukraine, which is being funded by the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change – Cultural Heritage, Society and Ethics (JPI CH CHSE).

DECOPE’s research partners are the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) and the University of Stirling. Its associate partners are the Museum Crisis Center and the Center for Urban History of East-Central Europe in Ukraine, together with the Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren) in Norway and Historic Environment Scotland.

The project is examining how aid, capacity-building and reconstruction for cultural heritage function in practice, “beyond matters of diplomacy or efficiency”, in order to assist in the realisation of the most effective possible support for professionals and communities. It is also examining looting, trafficking and policing, in order to assist in the minimisation of cultural harm and attendant harms like the financing and incentivisation of participation in the war and collaboration with warring parties.

I’m going to be focusing on interactions between cultural property crime and political violence; propaganda about cultural property crime; and broader struggles with legal nihilism, as it manifests in looting and trafficking.


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