Cultural Heritage Law explores the interface between law and cultural heritage. It covers as wide a scope as the term cultural heritage implies, from the tangible to the intangible, addressing the philosophical and contextual framework that shapes and gives content to the notion of cultural heritage. The process of determining what objects should be elevated to the status of cultural heritage is, however, more complex than might be at first apparent.

This course begins with a consideration of the nature of this complex process and its dynamic components, including the nature of the process itself, interest groups that affect the process and the nature of the conflicting interests that arise. It includes for example, addressing questions such as who ‘owns’ cultural heritage, what interests can claim to be protected, how notions of heritage underpin social structures and social regulation, and the difficulties of addressing these questions in the formulation of culture policies. A comparison is made of categories of objects protected as cultural heritage in a number of international and national laws.

Topics covered include:

  • UNESCO and its cultural mandate
  • the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage
  • the protection of cultural heritage during times of war
  • intellectual property, art and cultural heritage
  • world heritage
  • intangible cultural heritage
  • historic shipwrecks, underwater cultural heritage and salvage
  • Australian cultural heritage law

Professor Craig Forrest

Craig Forrest Professor Craig Forrest teaches and undertakes research in cultural heritage law, and has a particular interest in the interface between cultural heritage and international law. Craig has a long association with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), having been involved in the negotiations that adopted the Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention and acted in an advisory capacity at cultural meetings in the Pacific, Asia and Caribbean. In 2013 Craig drafted a Model Law for the implementation of UNESCO’s cultural heritage conventions for the Caribbean States and co-chaired the intergovernmental meeting that adopted the Model law.

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This course may also be taken as a CPD course or a non-award course. 

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