On Friday, 13 December 2019, Dr Saskia Hufnagel (School of Law, Queen Mary University of London) and Prof Duncan Chappell (University of Sydney Law School) launched their co-edited Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) at the University of Sydney Law School.
The event was supported and introduced by the Dean of Sydney Law School, Prof. Simon Bronitt, and organised by the Sydney Institute of Criminology. The book was introduced by Shane Simpson AM, who is Special Counsel at Simpsons Solicitors and one of Australia’s most eminent cultural property lawyers.
The Handbook showcases studies on art theft, fraud and forgeries, cultural heritage offences and related legal and ethical challenges. Art crime has emerged as an area of great interest for the global community and criminologists in recent years. The range of interdisciplinary attention to this area is reflected in the diversity of contributors to the Handbook, with expertise in ancient history, archaeology, forensic science, heritage conservation, investigative journalism, law, law enforcement, museum curating, papyrology, physical anthropology and sociology.
The speaker stressed in particular the importance of research in the area of indigenous art as it is presently - and has been in the past - significantly exploited by criminals, both damaging the reputation and income of individual artists and destroying art historical records.