For the last three months I’ve been interning at Saving Antiquities for Everyone, and the experience has been absolutely incredible. I’ve always been interested in the issues surrounding stolen art, but it wasn’t until I began working at SAFE that I realized how devastating an impact looting has on our understanding of past societies. While a stolen painting can be recovered and the case closed, an object looted from an archaeological site has forever lost its primary significance. Context is the most crucial means through which an artifact communicates information about the past, and a looted object is stripped of its contextual information, doomed to be just another pretty part of someone’s collection.
While interning this summer, I worked on a number of different projects dealing with the looting of cultural heritage, each equally fulfilling. I boosted SAFE’s following on Twitter, conducted a market analysis of Egyptian and Syrian antiquities, blogged about cultural heritage (including posts on the 10th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum and an innovative new campaign to fund preservation of a site in Lebanon). One of my blog posts on the potential benefits of a museum of fake antiquities started a fantastic dialogue on LinkedIn, and I hope that SAFE can continue to serve as a place for furthering new ideas. My favorite project this summer was the Say YES to Egypt cover photo campaign, which has now reached almost one thousand supporters. I’m still working on a survey to measure students’ awareness of looting (stay tuned for results in January!), and a country overview that will inform the public about the state of looting in Egypt.
I have learned an incredible amount on each one of these projects, and the learning curve has definitely been steep! As a student, I’m definitely no expert on antiquities or looting, but I came in with a passion for cultural heritage and have (hopefully!) left with a deeper understanding of exactly how we can save it. I’m especially grateful to everyone who has responded to my blog posts, both positively and critically, because opening a dialogue has been incredibly helpful and fulfilling. We’re all on the same side working towards a future without looting, and every person who joins the cause brings us a step closer to saving our global heritage.
If you are interested in interning at SAFE, contact us now for the next cycle of internships (deadline October 1st). You need to be deeply passionate about heritage and a self-starter when it comes to tackling new projects, but with those two qualities, your internship will not only be a fantastic experience for you, but an incredible contribution to saving antiquities – for everyone!
Latest posts by Beatrice Kelly (see all)
- Interested in interning at SAFE? Just do it. Here’s why… - September 17, 2013
- How much looting needs to happen before we start to think twice? - August 28, 2013
- Say YES to Egypt’s Heritage! - August 17, 2013