The Parthenon Marbles Dispute: a talk with Alexander Herman and Q&A with Professor Alastair Blanshard – Tue 14 May

Why are we still arguing over the Parthenon Marbles? Alexander Herman will offer a fresh take on the history of those famous pieces of ancient sculpture removed from the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin’s men in the early 19th century. He will explain how they became the cause célèbre of the larger debates around cultural heritage and restitution now taking place. The subject is one that is currently embroiling museums, governments, universities and the public at large.

This talk will be based on Herman’s recent book, The Parthenon Marbles Dispute: Heritage,
Law, Politics (Hart / Bloomsbury, 2023), which seeks to provide a balanced, thorough and
critical account of the history of the Marbles. It explains why this particular dispute has not
been satisfactorily resolved, and suggests new ways of seeking resolution – for the Parthenon
Marbles and for the many other cultural treasures held in museum collections outside their
countries of origin.

Following the presentation, there will be a Q&A facilitated by Professor Alistair Blanshard.

Alexander Herman is the Director of the UK-based Institute of Art and Law. He has written,
taught and presented on an array of topics in relation to art, law, and cultural property. His
writing appears regularly in The Art Newspaper and he has been quoted widely in the press
on art law topics (including in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The
Telegraph, ArtNET, The Financial Times, and The Globe & Mail). In addition to The
Parthenon Marbles Dispute, he has written Restitution: The Return of Cultural Artefacts
(Lund Humphries, 2021). He trained in both common law and civil law legal systems at
McGill University and practised law in Montreal, Canada. He is Programme Co-Director of
the Art, Business and Law LLM at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary
University of London.

Professor Alastair Blanshard is the Deputy Head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, and the inaugural Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History, at The University of Queensland. Professor Blanshard, who earned a Master of Arts from UQ in 1996, and a PhD from The University of Cambridge in 1999, is an internationally-recognised leader in the field of classical tradition, and a series editor for the ‘Classics after Antiquity’ monograph series published by Cambridge University Press.


Where: Queensland Museum Theatre, Brisbane
Date: Tuesday 14 May 
Time: 6-8pm
Cost: Free
RSVP: Eventbrite link below, please register if attending


Caitlin Lawler
Assistant Registrar @ Museum of Old and New Art