About ten years ago, when I was writing a book about The Elgin Marbles, quite a few people at the British Museum tried to - and succeeded at - causing problems between William St Clair and I. The problem was the BM wanted them to stay in London and William wanted them to go back ... and they were working on the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" school of thought. After the book had been published, I dropped William an email, and we sorted out our issues. We became quite good friends, in fact.
Cultural Property was quite a small and relatively new field in those days. Now, partly thanks to the internet, it has grown considerably - which is a good thing. What's not so good is how angry people seem to have become, and how polarised the field is. There's a lot of shouting, mostly from people who are not actually doing much other than ranting.
Last night I also pretty much resigned from every board / person / state / project I was working on - a bit here and a bit there was getting too complicated, with too many potential conflicts of interest, and I want a clean slate. I've worked with some fabulous people, but it is time to move on.
One of the few projects I'm still doing is a conference in Copenhagen in May. I'm very excited to be presenting a paper amongst such amazing scholars (info here).
I'm also putting PhDiva on sabbatical - I might add the odd post, but it has not been active for while, and as much fun as it's been ... I'm trying something new, and I want to give it my full focus rather than stretching myself too thinly.
Instead I'll be working on Culture Concierge. We're still in the very early stages, but I'm having a great deal of fun with this project, and hope it will grow.
The web site is at www.culture-concierge.com (I keep tinkering with it ...).
Culture Concierge grew out of discussing with a few friends that collectors were increasingly looking for a sort of curatorial concierge service - someone who can come in and curate, organise libraries, arrange collections, bid at auction, sort out a scholar who can teach them about art either in London or for a trip abroad whilst still knowing where the good restaurants are, keep them abreast of what's going on in the art world, advise on which groups to support, and so forth. Between us we can cover Antiquity to Contemporary, through the Renaissance - and if we ourselves can't cover an area, then we almost certainly know someone who can.
The service isn't cheap - but the Culture Concierge weekly newsletter is free. You can sign up for it here (we don't sell or rent addresses, and it's a safe one click unsubscribe). The letter goes out on Friday mornings so you can plan your week-end, and this week subscribers will get a chance to win a pair of PJ loungers made of fabric designed by Grayson Perry. Last week's email can be read here, the previous week's here (yes, I know I got the date wrong on it, whoops).