Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: “Repatriation of indigenous artefacts a hot topic for museums”


Rosemary Neill of The Australian newspaper has written an interesting article placing the global dilemma of the return and repatriation of indigenous cultural objects within the specific context of the Australian legal system. In her article, entitled “Repatriation of indigenous artefacts a hot topic for museums”, she discusses the proceedings of this year’s National Museum of Australia Conference on the theme of “New Encounters”, at which American, British, and Canadian scholars were also present. The article includes the following:

West has likened traditional museums to “a temple with a self-governing priesthood’’; and he has said of those critics who oppose museums’ more inclusive approach: “These intellectuals already have lost this pitched cultural and intellectual battle and they know it, however much they protest, pretend and resist.’’ He will address this issue further in his Canberra talk. Some archeologists and scientists worry, however, that their work is being impeded by the American repatriation laws, while certain tribes have found it difficult and costly to prove their links to contested artefacts and remains.

You can read the article in full here.

Sara Ross

Books News: The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property: Saving the World’s Heritage

Rush book cover

A new book on cultural heritage protection was released in late 2015 by Laurie Rush (Cultural Resources Manager and Army Archaeologist at Fort Drum) and Luisa Benedettini Millington (Professor at the Community College of Vermont). In their book The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property: Saving the World’s Heritage, the scholars discuss the problem of modern cultural heritage laws in the context of the nation of Italy. The abstract to their book contains the following:

Renowned for their rigorous investigative approach, the dedicated officers of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property (Carabinieri TPC) have recovered thousands of objects and built legal cases resulting in high profile repatriations of cultural property. Their actions have effectively changed an art market that previously depended upon theft and criminal behaviour. Italy is a nation that greatly values its ancient past alongside its artistic present, and it is this appreciation that has led to the creation of the world’s premier police force dedicated to law enforcement in the arts, heritage and archaeology. As the TPC’s dedicated officers work to protect every aspect of Italy’s rich cultural heritage, their organisation, training, approach, missions and successes offer valuable lessons for all who share the goal of protecting and recovering cultural property.

Their book can be found at their publisher’s website here.

Sara Ross

Call for Papers: “Critical Perspectives on Culture and Preservation: Precarity in our Past, Present, and Future Cultural Heritages” at the Critical Legal Conference

CLC page copy (2)

The call for papers for the 2016 Critical Legal Conference at Kent University has opened. Among the various paper streams is the theme “Critical Perspectives on Culture and Preservation: Precarity in our Past, Present, and Future Cultural Heritages”. It is among 17 other streams, each taking place between 1st and 3rd of September. The call for papers includes the following:

The past few years have born witness to the destruction of places, spaces, and objects that carry unquantifiable historical, heritage, and cultural value. As the world gazes on, horrified, many critical questions arise in relation to preservation, protection, ownership, and intervention. What role can or does law have? And how is the view of law’s role shaped by critical legal and radical perspectives?

Atrocities committed against relics of the past are but one aspect of the greater question of the role of preservation and protection in our globalizing world. Just as the term “culture” can capture nearly endless possibilities, so too can the question of what should be protected and preserved as “culture”.

What about the destruction of that which exists intangibly within the boundaries of cultural spaces, and practices? As the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage enters its next decade, has it been successful in its goals and intentions? Questions of how to strengthen and better dedicate ourselves to the preservation of human culture go far beyond the physical and the physically destroyed. Much of what constitutes art and culture is intangible—yet these cultural aspects are as vital to human civilization as the towering ruins of the past.

Alongside the question of how law should (or should not) employ preservation strategies in areas of conflict and war, the question of how law should respond to the privatization and commodification of culture within neoliberal development initiatives also arises.

Both panel and paper proposals are completely welcome – anything that you feel fits the theme. The full stream can be found here:

Proposals for papers must be include a 300 word abstract and a brief author biography. Proposals for panels must include a panel title and a 300 word rationale, along with biographies of all panelists. All proposals should be sent to by the deadline of July 1st, 2016.

– The writer of this post is the host of the CLC stream.


Sara Ross

Call for Papers: International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation

International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation is partnering with Guelph University and the Guelph Jazz Festival, to produce the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium 2016 under the title of “Improvise Here! Profiles in Practice”. This event will span the festival’s full five days, from September 18th to 22nd, 2016. Paper presentations can run the gambit from musicological studies to the use of improvisation in business or law. The call for papers includes the following:

It will take the form of an Expo by showcasing examples of practice-based research projects, and seek to encourage a rethinking of the places where we conventionally look for knowledge.

Research on improvisation as a social practice is necessarily “practice based”; it manifests as research in performance, community outreach, social policy, pedagogy, therapeutic modes, technology, and other forms of embodied agency.

The deadline for submission is April 30th, 2016, and must include a 500 word proposal and 250 word biography, emailed to . You can read more about the colloquium and festival here.

Sara Ross

Beware World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology (WASET) Law and Culture Conferences – Predatory Publisher Alert

No sign

The World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology hosts annual conferences, under names such as the International Conference on Law, Culture and the Humanities, and the International Conference on Government, Law and Culture. Calls for papers can be found all over the Internet, and though the website looks very official and says many of the right things – your paper may be published, may be peer-reviewed, etc. – the only problem is, the World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology, otherwise known as WASET, is a known predatory publisher. Predatory publishers are those that misrepresent themselves to authors in order to make money off their books or articles without providing a legitimate scholarly credit to your resume. WASET has even been known for running conferences with titles very close to the names of “legitimate conferences” in order to convince potential scholars to submit their work. According to the Ottawa Citizen, all you need to do to present is register (and pay a fee of over $500) to present at a WASET conference, which holds conferences every few days around the world.

Sara Ross

The Mastering of a Music City – Music Cities Summit

Mastering of a Music City

The City of Toronto will be hosting a Music Cities Summit on May 7th, 2016 entitled The Mastering of a Music City. The one-day conference will be held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto between 7:30am and 7:00pm as a part of Canada Music Week. Speakers will include a range of journalists, bureaucrats, and musicians from the UK, Australia, Germany, the US, Denmark, and Canada, as well as Alberto Biancheri, the Mayor of San Remo, Italy. A description of the event includes the following:

The “Music City” is a true 21st Century paradigm – a shared realization that cities across the globe enjoy an often-huge economic dividend from the creation, performance and reception of music.

Whether it’s Austin, Texas, where music tourism represents half the city’s economic output from music, or Melbourne, Australia, where live music accounts for 116,000 jobs, or Toronto, where the Canadian recording industry has a $400 million impact, that song you hear is sung by robust civic economies worldwide.

“The Mastering Of A Music City” Conference – a joint event by Music Canada, the international recording industry group IFPI, Music Cities Convention and Canadian Music Week – will explore in-depth the relationship between creative city planning, quality-of-life and the music industry.

The event was inspired first by Music Canada’s report on Toronto’s 2012 Music City initiative with Austin, and directly by Music Canada and IFPI’s internationally-acclaimed report The Mastering of a Music City, Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why it’s Worth Pursuing. That report created a global stir when it debuted at the annual international music trade conference, Midem, in Cannes, France.

The registration fee is $399, and can be paid any time before the conference. You can read more about the upcoming conference here.

Sara Ross

Italian Cultural Institutions Awaiting Further “Shake-up”


Dario Franceschini, Minister of Culture, Italy

Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini has been working towards a reshaping of the nation’s cultural heritage efforts over the last two years, and has begun to formulate a path forward. Starting in 2014, Italy began seeking foreign arts and culture directors in order to improve the profitability of the nation’s cultural treasures like the Colosseum in Rome. The effort led by Franceschini had the goal of increasing Italy’s tourism revenue by 600% by 2017, led by a series of government overhauls in the nation’s cultural heritage and management infrastructure – including the creation of 18 new regional cultural offices.

Some critics pointed to this as a move away from having the artistic treasures of the nation under the care of scholars, by giving management and business experts more control over Italy’s museums. Part of the implied plans were that some foreign entities could take control of the museums from Rome in many cases, leaving the Italian government out of the equation in many museum-business decisions. But despite these criticisms, whether founded or not, Franceschini had appointed 20 new directors to the nation’s museums, removing many long-time employees from their posts in lieu of a new crop of leaders. According to The Guardian, “Fourteen art historians, four archaeologists, one cultural manager and a museum specialist make up the new directors, who will be at the forefront of cultural reform in Italy. The majority have international backgrounds and half are women, although the culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said nationality and gender had no influence on Tuesday’s appointments.” Only seven were from nations other than Italy.

In 2016 Franceschini took the effort one step further, by amalgamating all Italian government agencies covering issues involving Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Parks into one singular agency, which run 39 “Soprintendenze”. Ten autonomous museum structures will be established, the directors of which are currently being sought in an international search. The new bureaucratic structure is another part of what is likely the most significant reorganization of cultural heritage infrastructure in the world since the start of the 21st century. Most observers believe that the end has yet to come, and that many more major changes should be expected.


Sara Ross

The Good Wife Moves Towards its Final Episodes


May 8th, 2016 is the date of the final episode of The Good Wife, one of television’s best known legal dramas. With six episodes left, now is the time to catch up on any episodes you have missed of the show to get ready for the finale with the rest of the viewing public. During a recent Law.Arts.Culture talk by University of Ottawa Professor Suzanne Bouclin on the history of feminist film, she described the definition of a feminist screen-piece to be two women in a scene alone, discussing something other than men (also known as the Bechdel test). By this standard, The Good Wife has evolved into one of the premiere feminist narratives in modern times, even if its name would infer something to the contrary. Episodes continue after a week break on March 20th, focusing a storyline that is likely developing towards the show’s finale climax. True to form, where the show is going this season is an absolute mystery, with the characters finding out about much of the show’s events as the viewer does. It has also dealt more with inter-firm politics and the life of being a lawyer than in previous seasons, focusing on the lives of the lawyers over the specifics of their cases. It has been hinted at that this is because the most significant case this season, is one that involves many of the major characters themselves on the other side of the law. No doubt the show, which announced this season will be its last in an ad during this year’s Super Bowl, will be missed in the pantheons of legal television.


Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: Rules Change Regarding the Artwork of Imprisoned Australian Aboriginals


Ben Potter of the Financial Review newspaper in Australia has written an interesting article on the change in Australian law that has allowed the artwork of an incarcerated Australian Aboriginal individual to be placed on the market, with the funds being available to them upon their release. According to the piece, entitled “Jeff Kennett secures law change to allow Aboriginal prisoners to sell art”:

The Victorian government is changing the law to allow Aboriginal prisoners to sell artworks, with most of the proceeds to be kept in trust for their release … Victorian corrections minister Wade Noonan said Aborigines were 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aborigines and re-offended at higher rates too. 

You can read the full piece online here.

Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: The Hague Begins its First Cultural Destruction Trial

ICC logo

Anny Shaw has written a piece for The Art Newspaper on The Hague’s first International Criminal Court trial on cultural destruction over the razing of the Mausoleums of Timbuktu in Mali. According to the article, entitled “First cultural destruction trial opens at The Hague’s International Criminal Court”:

In the first case of its kind, the alleged Malian jihadi leader Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is due to stand trial on 1 March, accused of war crimes for ordering the demolition of historic monuments. Al-Faqi is charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague with razing nine mausoleums and the 15th-century Sidi Yahia mosque in Timbuktu in northern Mali. The court, established in 1998 through the signing of the Rome Statute, has never before dealt with the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime.

You can read her full piece on the event here.

Alternatively, the International Criminal Court has posted its own information about the trial here.