ACE to publish guidelines on restitution and repatriation
23 Jan 2020
Arts Council England (ACE) is seeking to appoint an expert to provide new guidance for the UK museum sector on the restitution and repatriation of cultural objects.
The overarching aim of this work is to create a comprehensive and practical resource for museums to support them in dealing confidently and proactively with all aspects of restitution.
Following initial discussions facilitated by ACE with colleagues from across the UK museum sector it was agreed that new practical guidance for museums is an appropriate first step in response, and that ACE as the national development body for museums in England and with its statutory responsibilities for cultural property is best-placed to lead this work. The most recent sector guidance, published in 2000 by the Museums and Galleries Commission, is now out of print and very out of date.
Restitution and repatriation of objects in museum collections is an area of increasing focus and debate across the UK and international museum sector. This is particularly, although not exclusively, focused on objects in Western museums acquired by European nations from former colonies, and links to wider agendas around decolonising museums. There is significant government, public and press interest and increasing calls for action by UK museums and sector bodies to address this agenda.
It is anticipated that this work will be undertaken through a review of existing research and evidence as well as extensive consultation with practitioners and stakeholders across and beyond the UK museum sector, to identify key challenges, opportunities, practical and ethical issues and examples of best practice in the UK and internationally.
This work will also inform ACE’s policy and strategy on this rapidly developing agenda and help identify further potential further actions for ACE and other sector bodies to support museums, facilitate ongoing dialogue and promote best practice across the sector.