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Session Dates

Session I, Monday, 31 January 2022⋅7:00 – 8:30pm CET (1:00 – 2:30pm EST)
Session II, Monday, 7 February 2022⋅7:00 – 8:30pm CET (1:00 – 2:30pm EST)
Session III, Monday, 14 February 2022⋅7:00 – 8:30pm CET (1:00 – 2:30pm EST)
Session IV, Monday, 21 February 2022⋅7:00 – 8:30pm CET (1:00 – 2:30pm EST)

Zoom links for the first scheduled session will be sent out to all registered participants within 48 hours of registration.

Course Description

Repatriation for most people conjures up images of litigious, ill-tempered confrontations played out in the media as much as the courtroom. In this six-hour, low participant-to-instructor ratio, eCourse participants will learn that not all repatriations have taken this path. Increasingly, mutually agreed repatriation arrangements have been used, and have led to positive outcomes in terms of cultural exchange and economic development.

During the course participants will:

➣ Examine how, historically, the development of a collecting culture led to heritage becoming divorced from its source community.
➣ Look at social and legal trends which have resulted in a paradigm shift in attitudes to repatriation agreements.
➣ Discuss current initiatives to use repatriation to forge new international collaborations.


Course Instructor

Dr. Valerie Higgins is the Program Director for the MA in Cultural Heritage at the American University of Rome. She began her professional life as an archaeologist but has progressively focused on the heritage aspect. Her research has focused on promoting community heritage, researching the impact of looting and trafficking and developing sustainable heritage tourism.


What we will discuss


How the approach to repatriation requests has changed significantly in the 21st century.


How today's restitution requests can be linked to the growing acceptance that cultural heritage is a fundamental human right and that some communities, especially indigenous groups, have suffered hugely from the loss of their cultural identity.


The weaponization of heritage, especially during and after the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, and how this has led to the recognition that looting and trafficking can be a first step towards cultural genocide as well as providing funds for enemy terrorists.


The ability of heritage to promote cultural relations has been recognised as a positive benefit of a well structured repatriation process.

How People Are Reacting

I took this online course as an introduction to the topic when the COVID pandemic prevented me from attending ARCA’s PG Cert program in Italy. The course gave me an exciting baseline introduction and I look forward to taking their summer professional training program next year.

Sarah Scott

As a university student taking courses in organized crime and terrorism, I wanted to understand better how art intersects with these more well known types of criminal behaviors. Professor Tijhuis and Professor Albertson gave me an excellent overview and I look forward to seeing what other courses on the subject ARCA develops.

Luis Rodriguez