News and Events

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Last weekend over ninety specialists in combatting art crime met in the small Umbrian town of Amelia for the annual ARCA (Art Crimes Research Association) conference. It could be said that the conference came at just the right moment.

AUR students learned how to protect themselves and great works of art in a seminar led by Dick Drent, former security director at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and an expert on anti-terrorism and criminal profiling. To practice their skills, students went on a stealth mission at a local museum.

“I guarantee after today, you will never walk into a museum without looking at how easy it was to come in and how to escape,” said Drent, whose company, OmniRisk, advises curators and professionals at museums and heritage sites on how to protect their valuables -- and visitors.

Art and relics are under siege these days – stolen by terrorists to fund their activities or the mafia to use as a commodity or ransom for lower prison sentences. In recent years, visitors at museums and cultural sites have also been killed by suicidal gunmen and hostage takers.  

In this environment, everyone needs to be on guard.

The jury highly commended “the European cooperation between the Italian conservation experts and the Greek Orthodox Monastery which was undertaken in close consultation with the Egyptian authorities and has resulted in high-quality conservation work on an element of such an outstanding World Heritage Site as the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai. The documentation and quality of the work are exceptional”.

On 6 Feb 2018, Dr. Peter Campbell presented 'Fishers, Divers, and Scientists: Engaging Communities in Underwater Cultural Heritage'. This is a video of his presentation on the evening.

This is an excerpt from an article by Lia Schifitto that is based on her M.A. Thesis. Lia Schifitto is now a heritage preservationist from Upstate New York but has lived across Tuscany, Rome, and Toronto. She currently is working for Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Lia earned her M.A. at the American University of Rome, studying Sustainable Cultural Heritage. She completed her BA at the University of Toronto, specializing in American and Soviet Cultural History.

On Saturday February 17th, AUR’s Graduate School launched its new program to offer two full-day targeted Graduate Workshops per semester aimed at developing specific skills. The event proved to be very popular – even necessitating moving the class into the student lounge to accommodate the number of students who had signed up!
 
Prof. Pier Matteo Barone led the first workshop that covered the topic of Geographic Information Systems. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information, usually in a map.

The American University of Rome's Professor Peter Gould,  M.A. Sustainable Cultural Heritage and M.A. Arts Management, seeks to identify the success factors associated with economic development projects within communities adjacent to archaeological or heritage sites, a growing interest among archaeologists and heritage managers. Typically, the success of site museums, tourism businesses, or crafts cooperatives is rarely reported on in scholarly literature or subjected to systematic study. This new book, Empowering Communities through Archaeology and Heritage, addresses that gap. 

On an unexpectedly hot and sunny Saturday October 21, 2017, a mixed group of undergraduate and graduate students travelled down the spectacular Italian coast. Our destination was Sperlonga and Terracina with the aim of seeing the Villa of Tiberius and the Temple of Jupiter Anxur, two very well preserved archaeological sites. The Villa of Tiberius itself is sparsely excavated and possibly too small to be a real imperial villa, but the star attraction is the adjacent rock cut swimming pool. It originally contained groups of statues of various characters from the Odyssey by Homer which are reconstructed in the nearby museum. The Romans believed that all the tales related by Homer in the Odyssey took place along this coast and many of the modern place names derive from this.

On October 20, 2017, Nicholas Stanley-Price, a conservationist with a Dr. Phil. in Archeology from Oxford University guest lectured a Sustainable Cultural Heritage class on his role as a member of the advisory committee of the Non-Catholic (Protestant) Cemetery in Rome. His lecture focused on the practical aspects of maintaining a site that is both an active cemetery and also an important historical place housing the tombs of famous visitors to Rome such as Shelley and Keats. He illustrated some of the challenges this dual role entails for the management of the site.

Dr. Mahsvari Naidu, a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, gave a guest lecture at AUR on Robben Island tourism and the relationship that South Africans and foreigners have with its difficult heritage.