In recent weeks the German National Committee of the Blue Shield and the Heritage Management Unit of Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property with a series of interviews and a social media campaign. Called Tra(ffi)cking Culture, the project brought together students from the University’s World Heritage Masters programme, and heritage experts around the globe involved in implementing the 1970 Convention.
With the support of the project organisers, the university students — all of whom had worked in the heritage field in their home countries before starting their Masters — selected researchers, members of international heritage organisations and NGOs, political figures and other experts involved in implementing the Convention or working in related heritage fields. They conducted online interviews, focusing not only on the successes and challenges involved in the Convention’s implementation, but also on the gaps that need to be addressed in order to strengthen and develop it over time.
“The campaign was really a mosaic of voices that seeks to show the richness and diversity of voices that are out there when we talk about the Convention”
explained Elisabeth Korinth Vice President of Blue Shield Germany who coordinated the project with Nicole Franceschini, Chair of Cultural Management, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
The edited videos were posted on BS Germany’s YouTube channel and promoted on their Twitter feed (@BlueShield_GER), as part of a social media campaign in the run up to the international online conference Cultural Heritage and Multilateralism: Regional and International Strategies for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office in partnership with UNESCO, the European Union and the Council of Europe from the 16th-18th November 2020.
“When it comes to illicit trafficking we often leave the responsibility to politics and law enforcement and miss the shared responsibility that we all have which comes with this issue,” explained Ms Korinth. “That’s why having the celebration of the 50th anniversary in the framework of the digital event on the theme of Multilateralism is so important.
“[Illicit trafficking] is not only a concern that needs an interdisciplinary approach,” she continued, “but it is an issue that goes beyond national borders and shows us once again how interconnected we are.”
Watch the video interviews and read about the project on the website of Blue Shield Germany
Follow Blue Shield Germany on Twitter: @BlueShield_GER
The recording of the conference on Cultural Heritage and Multilateralism can be found on the Conference website
Visit the UNESCO website to read more about the anniversary celebrations for the 1970 UNESCO Convention