PANEL: What is Cultural Property Protection?
This year the Blue Shield is celebrating our 25th anniversary!
The UK National Committee of the Blue Shield joined in the anniversary celebrations with the British Army Cultural Property Protection Unit with a free virtual panel discussion on 13 October to explore What is Cultural Property Protection?
The last thirty years have seen a continual increase in cultural property protection, following the wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, and the ensuing creation of the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
A decade of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa has resulted in a new wave of ratifications for this important piece of legislation and its uptake into various civil and military agendas. Cultural property protection is now recognised as part of, or discussed in relation to, the laws of armed conflict, human security and the protection of civilians, peace and security, prevention of terrorist financing, international relations, and the responsibility to protect, amongst others.
Yet, a recent Report by Blue Shield International and the Nordic Center for Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict noted: “The concept of CPP is unclear and varies across organizations and expert communities. This confusion of ends, means and relevant authorities stands as a key barrier for setting priorities and allocating resources.”
This panel asks what – in all these areas – does CPP mean, and what does it look like? What are the differences and what makes it unique? Are some aspects more relevant than others, and why? Is it one thing to all people, or has the field now advanced to the point where “cultural property protection” is no longer a catch all term, but one which must be defined in the contexts in which it is used?
Join key leaders in cultural property protection to explore what it means to them in their work today.
Captain Jessica Wheway, Legal Advisor CPPU, British Army
Commander Roger Curtis, UK Cultural Property Protection Unit
Captain Timothée Le Berre, Deputy Director of the French Army Heritage
Dr Michael Delacruz, Secretariat, Blue Shield International
Stephen Stenning, Head, Arts and Society, British Council
Harriet Hoffler, Head of International Cultural Protection, Cultural Diplomacy, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Stephen StenningBritish Council
Stephen Stenning now leads the British Council’s Arts and Society work, a cross disciplinary portfolio that uses creative, cultural and innovative approaches to global challenges. He joined the British Council in 2011 as Director Arts Middle East North Africa based in Cairo. Five years later as Director Culture & Development he returned to the UK to lead the set up the UK’s ground-breaking Cultural Protection Fund. The Fund initially started with £30m of Official Development Assistance, managed by the British Council in partnership with UK Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has now disbursed nearly £40m to over 70 projects in 16 countries across the Middle East and in North and East Africa. Stephen has written on Cultural Heritage including the publication In Harm’s Way and blogs for the British Council and RSA and spoken at the UN and in Westminster. He now also leads the innovative Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth which is developing sustainable and inclusive development through community approaches to cultural heritage in Africa South-East Asia and South America. Stephen has a track record of running and programming successful arts organisations, events and venues, he originally working in London as a published playwright and director then moving to Scotland as a theatre director and Festival Producer. Before joining the BC, Stephen was director Edinburgh Mela and on the Board of Festivals Edinburgh. He was on the Board of the UK Independent Street Arts Network and produced successful Scottish events – ‘Big in Falkirk’ (Scotland’s National Street Arts Festival), ‘Merchant City Festival’ and ‘Glasgow Art Fair’. He worked with artists on commissions and co-productions inc. “The Beautiful Journey” for international theatre company Wildworks; “Iconic Burns” the launch event for 2009 Scotland’s Year of Homecoming and ‘Home’ launching the National Theatre of Scotland.
Michael DelacruzBlue Shield International
Michael Delacruz is a member of Blue Shield International. Alongside this he is also a visual arts researcher and classical archaeologist currently exploring the potential of classical narratives, reinterpreted in visual or multimedia terms, to address the social and individual costs of armed conflict and hegemonic expansionism. From 2016 and 2018, he curated a series of international exhibitions entitled Abstracted Mythologies which examined the visual transposition of political and cultural narratives from a variety of regional perspectives. His current archaeological research centres on the transmission of religious cult in the Saronic Gulf from the Early Iron Age to the end of the Peloponnesian War. Prior to pursuing his PhD at University College London, co-supervised by the Department of Greek and Latin and the Slade School of Fine Art, Lt Col Delacruz served for several years as a US Army and US Marine Corps officer, assigned to special operations, civil affairs, and defense intelligence units throughout Europe and the Middle East. He subsequently held civilian appointments as a policy advisor with the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Washington D.C. and as the Head of Security Cooperation for the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has most recently served on active duty as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G5 (Plans) for the Tactical Expeditionary Headquarters, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne). As a reserve officer he is currently developing capabilities in Cultural Heritage Preservation within the U.S. Army, leading the new generation of Army Monuments Officers into the 21st century. In this role he represents the US Army on the interagency Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee and maintains close partnerships with heritage organisations such as the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and foreign military cultural property protection units.
Roger CurtisCdr UK Cultural Property Protection Unit and Historic Scotland
Roger Curtis saw service in the Royal Navy as a Navigating Officer. He retrained into the construction sector working as a project manager on conservation projects in Scotland. In 2006 he joined Historic Environment Scotland and now leads the Technical Research Team looking at the sustainability of older structures, the materials supply chain, and energy retrofit of domestic buildings. His military service continued with appointments in the Royal Naval Reserve and latterly Commanding Officer of the Glasgow Naval Reserve Unit. He joined the UK Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU) in 2019 and has worked on CPP doctrine, procedures, and support to operations. He is a Chartered Building Surveyor with Conservation Accreditation and a Fellow of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In October 2021 he became the Commander of the UK CPPU.
Captain Jessica WhewayBritish Army
Capt Jess Wheway is a fully qualified solicitor, who practised in residential property law before joining the Army Legal Services. After completing her military training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Capt Wheway undertook a period of specialist legal training at Army Headquarters before spending 3 months in Germany attached to an Infantry battalion. Capt Wheway spent two years as a legal adviser at the Land Warfare Centre before taking up her current role advising the British Army's Outreach Group, where a significant aspect of her role includes providing legal advice to Cultural Property Protection Unit.
Captain Timothée Le BerreDeputy Director of the French
Captain Tim Le Berre holds a Master Degree from the Ecole du Louvre in Art History and Heritage Conservation and a Master Degree from the University of Heidelberg in Military History. Military historian, notably at the German Army Museum in Dresden after his graduation, he then join the French Army in 2013. He commanded a Platoon as Fire Officer in the Artillery at the 1st artillery regiment between 2015 and 2019. He participated in several operational overseas deployments, particularly in Djibouti, Senegal and Mali. Since 2019, he is deputy curator of the French Army at the French Army Heritage Office in Paris. Since 2018, he has been working on the implementation of Cultural Property Protection in French military operations. He notably led an exploratory mission during his last deployment in Mali. Its work is currently taking two forms: the establishment of a French military CPP capacity on the one hand, and a research project about French military operations and Cultural Property Protection as part of a PhD at Newcastle University under the supervision of Prof. Peter Stone
Harriet HofflerHead of International Cultural Heritage Protection
Harriet Hoffler is the Head of International Cultural Heritage Protection at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with responsibility for developing the UK's international cultural protection policy and programmes. She is a keen champion of cross-sector working, embedding the value of a cultural heritage lens in and across different sectors. She has an extensive background in foreign policy and multi-disciplinary human rights research and practice, particularly in South Asia and has worked across governments, within parliament, academia and as a consultant in human rights law, the freedom of religion and belief, cultural identity, and ‘bottom up’ approaches in fragile settings. Harriet also holds the position of Honorary Fellow at the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham and was previously a Scholar at Cumberland Lodge.
Read more about the Blue Shield 25th Anniversary on the Blue Shield International website