Trafficking Culture is an international research consortium constituted by an overall theme of interest in understanding the international trade in illicit cultural objects, and attempting to develop and refine an evidence base for promoting effective policy interventions to reduce this global form of trafficking.
Our researchers, based at Glasgow University, Oxford University, and the University of Victoria at Wellington, participate in a number of independent, but thematically-overlapping research projects, supported by the rest of the Trafficking Culture consortium and by other colleagues. Our work is geographically diverse and inherently interdisciplinary.
- Analysis of antiquities sales and acquisitions data in order to provide size and shape estimates for the international illicit market
- Development and evaluation of cultural heritage policy
- Ethnographic research and fieldwork into antiquities looting and trafficking routes, as well as heritage security
- Comparative analysis of parallel and related illicit commodities smuggling, including wildlife, fine art, fossils, and drugs
- Qualitative interview of antiquities trade participants, regulators, and stakeholders
Current PhD Student Projects:
A Critical Inquiry Into multi-Stakeholder Governance in the Transnational Criminal Antiquities Market: Contrasting Realities and Policies of Practice
The aim of this project is to conduct a comparative analysis of governance and systems of control in the transnational archaeological antiquities market in order to develop theory and engage in the design of innovative policy proposals that will regulate the illicit market in cultural objects more effectively and thereby substantially reduce the harms that it causes.
The African Past for Sale: Regulatory Effects on the Illicit Market in West African Cultural Objects
This study seeks to understand how international legislation, academic involvement, and museum ethics, acquisition, and display have affected the illicit market in West African cultural objects.
This project explores the structure and nature of the trade in cultural property in and out of transit nations, especially free ports. Interviews with various actors involved in the trade in cultural property in and out of Hong Kong, as well as documentary research, will shape a criminological ethnography of one of the most important transit cities in the world.