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Should Museums Give Objects Back, and if so, How?

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In partnership with TALKSHOP

Museums and collections around the world hold objects acquired through various means, including colonial appropriation. There is a growing movement to repatriate these objects to their places of origin. The issue is – no surprise! – complicated. Should they or shouldn’t they? If so, which objects? And so on.

Take the Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles. The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said in 2023 that the continued presence of the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum is like cutting the “Mona Lisa in half”. The Greek government also argues that the marbles were obtained illegally or unethically, passed over by Ottoman invaders who could not legitimately sell off the country’s heritage. The UK government and the British Museum say that they were obtained legally and that their return would set a precedent which could undermine the collections of the major museums of world culture.

Come along, take on the character of a leading player in these debates, and help us find common ground and a shared way forward between all the characters.

Part of our 2024 festival strand


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