We are very proud and happy to present you here The Journal of Cultural Heritage Crime. The journal, for the moment mainly in Italian, presents 24/24 news on ongoing cases of crime against Cultural Heritage.
Their editorial project is as a new in-depth portal, the first website of the kind in Italy (and, as far as I know, world-wide), totally dedicated to the crimes threatening and impacting on cultural heritage on an everyday basis. The undeniable lack of attention by the national non-specialized press to accurate information about cultural heritage issues has been the main spur urging them to carry out such a project, as they strongly felt the need to fill the gap between facts and people.
We would like to give the word to Dr. Serena Epifani, founder and director of the journal, and the co-director, Dr. Michela De Bernardin, describing in the following their motivation to found the journal, and their aims:
Crimes against cultural heritage crucially damage the history and cultural identity of peoples. Antiquities looting and the obsessive attention towards works of art are not at all a new phenomenon. In the past, especially in conflict situations, what we now call “cultural heritage” has often been subject to destruction and plunder. Today, these incidents feature clear distinctive marks of our modern times.
For instance, the Internet exploitation for the illegal market of archaeological finds from war-battered territories, such as Syria and Libya, is widely documented. The development of complex crime networks and the involvement of international organized crime lately drawing from the art and antiquities market a multi-million dollar business is also well known.
It is against this background that we conceived and developed the project of The Journal of Cultural Heritage Crime. This is a specialized online magazine dealing with multiple issues about cultural heritage protection and enhancement. We dedicate special attention to those measures countering the illegal trafficking of archaeological finds and works of art, while also focusing on cases of recovery of stolen cultural goods.
Nowadays, smart and careful use of modern technologies allows fast access to information. Still, articles about cultural heritage are usually labeled as curiosity and mostly appear under the heading “Shows” or generically in the “Culture” section on Italian online journals. Devising a specific website seemed, therefore, the ideal solution to most immediately convey such news and to finally give them the dignity of the first page.
Through rigorous and up-to-date information, the project aims to contribute to countering crimes against cultural heritage by raising public awareness. This way, we wish to actively support those who are engaged in the everyday protection and promotion of our cultural heritage.
Launched in September 2018, The Journal of Cultural Heritage Crime is an online magazine combining news and feature articles with a targeted social media strategy. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are essential tools to communicate effectively to a broad public. The high ambition of this project is precisely to interact with the general public enhancing people’s interest and involving them directly in heritage protection. Comments and reports on potential or actual damages to monuments and works of art are, therefore, highly welcome on our social media.
The project is run by a small team of heritage professionals. The editorial board includes archaeologists, art historians, conservators, archivists, and jurists. Besides, we collaborate with scholars and specialists in different fields who help us give our readers an in-depth look into several topics involving crimes against heritage.
We publish weekly one or two feature articles about art crime, art security, and art legislation, especially considering: thefts, fakes and forgeries, damaging, looting, neglect, international trafficking of cultural heritage, seizures, recoveries, and restitution of stolen or looted goods. Our portal also hosts sections dedicated to interviews with experts and protagonists of the heritage field, and to movies and documentaries, as well as of bestsellers about cultural heritage issues.
Besides these main topics, we pay great attention to presenting our readers with useful information about events, exhibitions, conferences, or workshops specifically regarding cultural heritage protection. The most relevant ones are collected in a monthly schedule, and some of them are singularly pointed out as flash news or feature articles. A key appointment with our magazine is the weekly press review, where we provide a selection of the most relevant news, both nationally and internationally issued, by journals, newspapers, and blogs.
We do aim to facilitate networking among heritage professionals and keep them also connected to the non-specialized public to spread accurate information. So, since September 2018, we have managed to become partners with museums and foundations, such as the Archaeological Museum Lancianiof Guidonia-Montecelio, the Maio Museum (Museum of War-Hostage Art), and the Enzo Hruby Foundation. Moreover, we have developed fruitful collaborations with the institutions, especially the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.
Each social media has a personalized strategy, conceived by the administrator of the page in coordination with the director and co-director of the journal. In the last few months, the adopted communication pattern has seen a rapid boost and an increasing success: statistics confirm a fast growth, both in views and in interactions.
Overall, the engagement data and the different kinds of followers’ interactions have proven, even in so little time, that the project could indeed be an effective tool in countering crimes against cultural heritage. In the near future, we also expect to be able to store the collected reports and data in an open-access database for endangered, stolen, damaged, and recovered artifacts.
In conclusion, The Journal of Cultural Heritage Crime is conceived not just as a repository or a showcase for thrilling news, but as an interactive platform which aims to reach out to people, make them aware of the many threats to cultural heritage, and actively involve them in its protection.
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