row of people in suits sat behind a long table in front of an audience

Respect and Protect Conference, Society of Antiquaries, November 2019. © Society of Antiquaries

Respect and Protect: Fulfilling The Obligation To Safeguard Cultural Property In The Military Context

Talks are now available online from this one day Society of Antiquaries / Historic England conference, organised with support from the UK Blue Shield Committee and Newcastle University

Watch some of the talks on You Tube.

About the event

Awareness of the harm that armed conflict does to the world’s cultural heritage has probably never been higher. Events in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria are fresh – raw, even – in the communal consciousness. The issues, though pressing, are not necessarily simple, and 2019 sees a range of events, exhibitions and conferences on the general themes, in Britain and abroad. Both nationally and internationally there is a sense of being at a critical point in understanding what is at risk, and in formulating a practical response.

On the military side, the framework for that practical response is the Law of Armed Combat and the Hague Convention of 1954. With the long-awaited ratification of the Convention in 2017 the UK became obliged to create a military capability to identify and safeguard cultural property in areas of armed conflict. But both in the British armed forces and in NATO measures were already well under way to deliver this capability and ensure that the Convention’s requirement to ‘respect and protect’ cultural property in conflict zones is written into operational decision-making processes.

Aimed at the archaeological, wider academic and interested lay communities, this day conference was a chance to hear from those directly involved in this field and discuss the issues and challenges faced. Speakers included Prof Peter Stone OBE FSA, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University and Chair of UK Blue Shield; Lt-Col Tim Purbrick OBE FSA, the newly appointed commander of the British Army’s Cultural Property Protection Unit; Dr Paul Fox FSA, member of the UK Blue Shield Committee; and other experts and scholars in relevant areas.

Most of the talks, including all four by members of UK Blue Shield, are now on You Tube.

  • Prof Peter Stone FSA (Newcastle University/Blue Shield): The protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict; responsibility and opportunity
  • Lt-Col Tim Purbrick FSA (CPPU): The formation of the Cultural Property Protection Unit
  • Dr Nigel Pollard FSA (Swansea University, and Blue Shield): The Society of Antiquaries and the origins of British military CPP
  • Dr Paul Fox FSA (Blue Shield/Newcastle University): Activating the 1954 Hague Convention: the military training environment
  • Dr Emma Cunliffe (Blue Shield/Newcastle University): The Devil is in the Detail – No Strike Lists in Cultural Property Protection and Beyond
  • Alexandra Warr (Historic England):Implementing the Hague Convention
  • Dr Jonathan Tubb FSA (British Museum) Preparing for the Aftermath: The Iraq Scheme

Watch the talks on on You Tube