Pre-Columbian jar from Tiwanaku, (c.1500 years old), recently recovered at a Cambridge auction house after the consignor was asked to provide evidence that it had been exported prior to Bolivia’s 1906 cultural property law. The ALR and the Metropolitan Police’s Art & Antiques Squad advised the Bolivian Embassy in the UK on their claim. © Art Loss Register
The Blue Shield UK Illicit Trafficking Working Group seek to raise awareness of the impact of illicit trafficking of cultural property in the UK, to maintain a network of experts on the UK market and laws, provide information to Blue Shield UK on efforts to inhibit trafficking of cultural objects in the UK, to respond to requests for information, to comment on proposed government actions and provide expert advice, and act as a liaison between countries from whom cultural objects are stolen and the UK market where these objects so often appear.
Members of the Working Group are available to consult with individuals, UK law enforcement agencies and UK government representatives, from countries that have suffered from theft, looting and misappropriation of cultural property that has , assist them in their efforts to trace and recover stolen and looted cultural objects.
Fionnuala Rogers is an international art and cultural property lawyer and Chair of the UK Committee for the Blue Shield. She is also a member of the Blue Shield International Illegal Trade Working Group and also represented Blue Shield on the UK Government Illegal Trade Working Group, hosted by DCMS.
Fionnuala has been a member of UK Blue Shield since 2015, and Chair since 2020.
Fionnuala is also founder and director of Canvas Art Law, Trustee of the Arab British Centre, and founding Trustee of CHARD (Cultural Heritage at Risk Database).
With over 12 years of experience in art, cultural property, and heritage, Fionnuala is a prominent advisor in international regulation and policy on heritage issues, assisting governments and policymakers in drafting and amending international legislation related to cultural property protection and illicit trafficking. She encourages compliance with international best practices and fosters cultural collaborations between state parties. Fionnuala has extensive experience in the Middle East region.
Alice Farren-Bradley is a specialist and educational instructor in art and cultural property law, heritage crime investigation, and market due diligence.
Alice has been a member of the UK Blue Shield since 2018 and currently serves on the UKBS Conflict Working Group and the UKBS Illicit Trafficking Working Group.
Alice is Lecturer in Art Law at Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and is a Visiting Fellow in Cultural Heritage Crime at Cranfield University Forensic Institute. Alice is also completing a PhD at Newcastle University, investigating UK and US military initiatives for cultural object protection during WWII and the Iraq Conflict, and their implications for future law, policy, and art market practice.
Alice has extensive experience lecturing academic and professional audiences on art market regulation, transnational heritage crime, and cultural property protection during conflict. She has also advised and delivered bespoke training on these topics for national and international law enforcement agencies and the military. Outside of teaching, Alice has over 12yrs experience in practice consulting on disputes regarding stolen, looted or otherwise contested cultural property for private clients, museums, and government ministries. Since 2013 she has also been Global Manager of the pro-bono Museum Security Network.
He is currently working for Sotera Heritage as their Head of Development, and serving as a Royal Naval Reserve officer specialising in culture and strategic communications.
Sotera Heritage is a not-for-profit organisation that has created a system using AI technology that allows people to record objects at risk during crisis, and digitally track them should they be looted and appear in the market.
Before Sotera Tom read Archaeology at UCL (1998-2001), before working as a rare books archivist, and a field archaeologist in the UK. He also appeared in two hit BBC history programmes as an experimental archaeologist and TV presenter, and subsequently he worked as a Royal Navy officer in the UK and overseas.
He has extensively volunteered in the military museum sector in London and Chester, the conservation department of the Society of Antiquaries in London, and been with Blue Shield UK since 2019.
He has Masters Degrees in Terrorism, Security and Society from KCL (2010), and Military History from the University of Chester (2012), and is currently studying for a PhD in Art and Antiquities Crime, focused on the Mediterranean region, at Staffordshire University.
James Ratcliffe has been a member of UK Blue Shield since 2015, and Trustee since 2020. James is also a founding Trustee of CHARD (Cultural Heritage at Risk Database). More recently James has also been appointed as a member of the British Museum’s expert task force working on the recovery of pieces stolen from the museum.
For the last ten years James has filled the role of General Counsel at the Art Loss Register, and leads the recovery team there. As such he spends much of his time working to recover stolen and looted cultural property, representing a range of nation states, individuals, museums and more. He has also advised on more strategic approaches to the protection and recovery in general.
James originally trained as a landscape archaeologist, working over a number of field seasons in Iran, and subsequently the development of landscape parks and gardens in England, giving him a particular interest in cultural landscapes.
Maria is a trustee of ICOM UK (the UK branch of the International Council of Museums) with responsibility for liaison with UK Blue Shield. As such, she sits on the UKBS committee as a member of the Conflict working group. She has a longstanding interest in the protection of culture under threat, having been an advisor to Heritage Without Borders where she trained museum professionals to work in post-conflict zones. As an Anglo-Ukrainian, she is involved with numerous initiatives to support cultural heritage colleagues in Ukraine and regularly collaborates with ICOM Ukraine and the Ukrainian Institute. In 2022, she organised Heritage in Crisis - a series of online talks for ICOM UK that are now available on YouTube - and took part in a panel discussion on decolonising art, organised by the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale.
Maria is a London-based heritage consultant, independent curator and writer. In 2008, she co-founded The Exhibitions Team, an association of museum professionals specialising in exhibitions, collections and interpretation. Prior to that, she worked for the V&A and Royal Museums Greenwich, where she is now Curator Emeritus for the Royal Observatory. She is an alumna of the University of East Anglia’s Museum Leadership Programme, a former trustee of the National Jazz Archive, and served on the Museum Association’s Professional Development Committee. She is currently researching a book on generating ideas for exhibitions.
Representing CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and the library sector on UK Blue Shield.
Helen Vincent is an expert on documentary heritage. Beside her role as Head of Rare Books, Maps and Music Collections at the National Library of Scotland, she is currently Chair, Advisory Committee on Cultural Heritage (CCH), IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations), 2023-25. As 2015-23 committee member and former Chair of IFLA’s Rare Books and Special Collections Section and member of CCH 2021-23, she has been involved in developing international guidelines for digital reunification projects and for working with rare books and special collections. She served on CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Special Interest Group committee 2012-22.
Helen represents the National Library of Scotland on the Scotland’s Nationals for Culture and Climate group.