The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get back to where you once belonged (Volume 2: Bootylicious)

Ah, legislation. It makes fools of us all.
Congratulations, everyone, UK museums can now return artworks looted in WWII! What, you ask, they couldn't do this before? No, apparently not - national institutions cannot dispose of things in their collections, they could (prior to this law) just pay off the victims in the sum of the value of the looted artwork, which would remain safely in the keeping of the institution. Finders Keepers, and all that. I love how self-congratulatory the politicians are:
Culture minister Margaret Hodge said it was "a wonderful day" for families who "suffered so terribly during the Nazi era".
"For too long families who had heirlooms stolen from them by the Nazis were unable to reclaim them, although they were the rightful owners."
Anne Webber, co-chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, said this was "a great step forward" that confirmed Britain's "commitment to providing justice".

A great step forward perhaps 70 years too late? Justice limited only to a very recent conflict, and one where the victims are generally white (ish, depending on who you talk to)? Maybe it's my hormones, but this kind of back-slapping small-mindedness makes me stabby.

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