In June 2015, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, BIICL was awarded funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a three-year project on 'The Right to Cultural Heritage - Its Protection and Enforcement through Cooperation in the European Union' (HEURIGHT).
This project investigates how human rights guarantees in relation to cultural heritage are being understood and implemented within the EU and by the EU as part of its external action. It focuses on Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy - countries representing different cultural, political and legal traditions - and their relations with other states, as well as cultural communities at large.
As part of this project, several conferences have already been organised. For regular news about this project and events, please also consult the HEURIGHT project page.
Project partners include the University of Fine Arts in Poznan (Poland) and the University of Trieste (Italy).
At its first international conference, the HEURIGHT project included a presentation of the current legal framework on the return of cultural objects within the EU.
The last conference, entitled Cultural Heritage in the European Union: Legal Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges, took place on 20-21 April 2017 at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (Poland). It was organised in cooperation with the Editorial Board of the Santander Art and Culture Law Review. Its main objective was to present and debate the research which has so far been completed within the framework of the project. The conference gathered experts to discuss how the right to access or enjoyment of cultural heritage, as a human right, is understood and implemented within the European Union. The various presentations analysed the complex organisational and regulatory frameworks concerned with cultural heritage and human rights in place within the EU, as well as their interaction, cross-fertilisation, and possible overlaps.
Topics covered included: the notion of shared or common cultural heritage, cultural landscapes, intangible cultural heritage, digitisation, the cultural heritage of minorities, migrants' cultural rights, the financing of cultural heritage, education and the concept of common heritage and history, the mobility of professionals, national treasures, cultural diplomacy, and culture in the EU trade agreements. Proceedings from the conference will be the object of an edited volume, to be published in 2018.