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Online course

Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime

Delve into the seedy underbelly of the art world, looking at smuggling, theft, fakes, and fraud, with this free online course.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime

Learn how art is stolen, trafficked, found, and returned

From fakes and fraud, to thefts and trafficking, art crime has turned archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria into “lunar landscapes”, decapitated Buddha sculptures in Cambodia and left empty frames on museum walls. So how do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction? Delve into the world of art crime and antiquities trafficking with this online course, and get answers from those fighting to save the world’s precious artefacts.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsIn recent years, the devastation caused by the theft of art and trafficking of antiquities has gained public attention. Confronted with images of vandals smashing museum pieces with sledge hammers in Iraq, the pockmarked lunar landscapes of looted archaeological sites in Syria and Peru, the freshly decapitated Buddhist sculptures in Cambodia, the empty frames of stolen paintings on museum walls, and the unravelling of communities at the loss of living representations of their gods from temples in South Asia and Latin America. We face a difficult question. How do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction?

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsMy name is Donna Yates. And I'm an archaeologist and art crime researcher at the University of Glasgow. Doing this free online course, my colleagues on the trafficking culture project and I invite you to shed some light on the black market for looted artefacts and stolen art. Together we'll answer the big questions. Who owns the past? Who owns art? Who owns culture? Using tools from criminology, art history, archaeology, law, anthropology, and more, we will explore case studies in antiquity smuggling and art crime from around the world. Together we can come up with solutions to this global problem.

What topics will you cover?

  • Learn how context at archaeological sites is lost through looting
  • Explore the source of antiquities on the illicit market as it relates to poverty
  • Consider how antiquities trafficking can be considered a form of organized crime
  • Think about how the market for antiquities influences both looting and smuggling

  • Learn why art has value, and how value relates to art crime
  • Consider the realities and limitations of art theft
  • Explore several cases of art forgery and how experts detect fakes
  • Think about the different types of art vandalism, and consider if vandalism, itself, can be art

  • Weigh the pros and cons of returning cultural objects to their country of origin
  • Consider the social, emotional, and ethical reasons why objects might be repatriated
  • Debate a major ongoing antiquities return case

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Engage with the key differences between illegal art/antiquities, illicit art/antiquities, and legal art/antiquities and why these differences are significant
  • Identify the primary stakeholders in the antiquities trafficking, art crime, and repatriation spheres and how their motivations compare and contrast
  • Explore criminological and sociological ideas to better understand aspects of art crime, antiquities trafficking, and cultural property recovery
  • Develop informed opinions about the key social, political, legal, and moral issues associated with antiquities trafficking, art crime, and the return of cultural objects

Who is the course for?

All learners are invited to this course. No prior knowledge is required.

What do people say about this course?

This has been a fascinating Course, enhanced by the discussions with other Learners who always seem to add a richness and diversity way beyond expectations.

Janet Brinsmead
Course Learner

This was an amazing course! I connected areas of interest through the lens of social justice. Thank you for such a stimulating endeavor.

Gabrielle Durana
Course Learner

Who will you learn with?

Donna Yates

learning.culturecrime.org

Archaeologist in a criminology department. I study antiquities smuggling, art crime, preservation of cultural heritage. Not your average antiquarian! Twitter: @DrDonnaYates

Who developed the course?

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $74 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV
  • Includes free shipping

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.