Earlier this year, I took the really interesting FutureLearn course, Antiquities Trafficking And Art Crime run by the University of Glasgow. It led into the labyrinthine world of antiquities trafficking, stolen art, faked art, what constitutes art…and lots of other fascinating wormholes. It’s provided me with some truly intriguing insights and material for future stories, and so, for me, allowed me to achieve my aims.
This was a really interactive course, the first two weeks being quite exceptional and challenging. In the first week, we delved into the shady and, frankly, unbelievable world of antiquities trafficking. Our lecturers presented videos, tested our knowledge with quizzes and set satisfying assignments. Moderators and lecturers were quite active in the comments and even presented additional material at a google hangout. In the second week, we looked at art theft, art forgery and what constitutes an ‘art crime’. No mention of Andy Warhol was mentioned…
Feedback from peers was useful (I took the free option so feedback declined in the middle of Week Two), and other interactive elements made for a very engaging course.
Week three was frankly heavy, for me personally. We explored the ethics and politics of native rights to cultural and human artifacts, as well as returning cultural objects to their homelands, along with other debates which make these subjects so contentious and fascinating.
The course ended with a comprehensive list of resources.
All in all, I really enjoyed this course and I wish I could take this subject further. Our lecturers and course moderators were extremely enthusiastic and helpful, totally involved over the whole three weeks. Material and tasks were the most varied I’ve seen on any of the other two FutureLearn courses I took, and the course was extremely well-paced.
I highly recommend this course to anyone who loves archaeology, antiquities, and art, as well as those researching these topics. Or if you’re curious about International Law relating to Humanities. There are so many aspects to this course, it’s hard to pin it only to Arts and Antiquities.
This was also the course, much to my surprise, which taught me the most about myself and my beliefs, not to mention human nature. If you have to do one course from FutureLearn this year, I recommend the next Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crimes course on offer.