The Third Annual ARCA Conference Last Weekend
Professor John Henry Merryman was honored at the annual ARCA conference in July for the contributions he has made to the field of art and heritage protection. Merryman is a renowned expert on art and cultural property law who has written beautifully about art and heritage for years.
This past weekend ARCA held its annual conference just off the medieval cloister here in Amelia, Italy. As part of the conference ARCA presents its awards to those whose research or work has made a contribution to the field of art and heritage protection. These are nominated by and voted on by ARCA's Trustees and past award winners.
Two of our award winners were able to make it in person this year. Neil Brodie received an award for his scholarship. Neil joined ARCA for the first six weeks of the summer as a writer in residence, offering lectures to students and working on his next piece. But the highlight of the conference for me might have been the standing ovation the students gave him when he won his award. Neil has of course written extensively on the looting of antiquities and their eventual sale. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork and was the former director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. His terrific writing on the illicit trade in antiquities stands as a thoughtful and passionate cry for the preservation of a vanishing and finite resource.
The other award winners who were unable to attend were Lord Colin Renfrew, and Prof. John Henry Merryman.
Lord Renfrew has been a tireless voice in the struggle for the prevention of looting of archaeological sites, and one of the most influential archaeologists in recent decades. At Cambridge he was formerly Disney Professor of Archaeology and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Prof. Merryman is a renowned expert on art and cultural property law who has written beautifully about art and heritage for many years. He currently serves as an Emeritus Professor at Stanford Law School. He adds this award to his impressive list of awards, including the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and honorary doctorates from Aix-en Provence, Rome (Tor Vergata), and Trieste. His textbook Law, Ethics, and the Visual Arts, first published in 1979 with Albert Elsen, stands as the leading art law text. His writings have shaped the way we think about art and cultural disputes, and have added clarity and rigor to a field he helped pioneer.