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Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage

 Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage

The Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage focuses upon the ethical debates surrounding cultural heritage, in particular relations with indigenous peoples; professional standards and responsibilities; ethical codes; notions of value; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; the meaning and moral implications of ‘cultural heritage'; who ‘owns' the past or the interpretation of it; roles and responsibilities of museums; the trade in antiquities; opportunities and problems associated with tourism; and the treatment of human remains (including repatriation).

A collaborative research centre, it involves academics and practitioners from the Departments of Archaeology, Anthropology, Philosophy and Law with the intention of creating long-term interdisciplinary research projects, links and publications.It also aims to provide professional training and consultancy to external bodies, and to create new learning and teaching tools within the university.

Since November 2014, the Centre also hosts, jointly with the Department of Archaeology, the UNESCO Chair in in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage, which is held by Professor Robin Coningham. It was the first UK archaeology chair, and aims to shape debates on professional standards and responsibilities; legal and ethical codes and values; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; research ethics and illicit antiquities; and the social, ethical and economic impacts of the promotion of heritage, particularly at religious and pilgrimage sites.

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Contact Details

Centre for the Ethics and Cultural Heritage
c/o Dept of Philosophy
Durham University
South Road
DH1 3LE