Heritage Under Fire

2 February 2018
9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Deakin University Downtown

The ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have unleashed a cataclysmic wave of human suffering as well as an unprecedented period of heritage destruction. The monumental scale of this heritage destruction has brought back to centre stage a number of issues pertaining to the protection of cultural property during conflict.


This one day symposium brings together leading heritage scholars, practitioners, defence personnel, NGO’s concerned with heritage issues, political scientists, policy-makers, and archaeologists to focus on the theme of Cultural Property Protection in Conflict. These issues, and the wide array of opinions in the room, are sure to stimulate a very interesting and challenging discussion.

View the full program

Key speakers

Professor Peter Stone, OBE (UNESCO, Newcastle University UK)

Professor Peter Stone is the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace, Newcastle University.  He is Secretary General of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, Chairman of the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield, and a member of the UK National Commission for UNESCO's Expert Network. In 2003, Peter stone became the special advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence regarding the identification and protection of the cultural heritage in Iraq. He was the Chair of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site Management Plan Committee (2005-2012).

Dr Ross Burns (Macquarie University)

Dr Ross Burns has written a number of books on the history and archaeology of Syria and its main cities (Damascus and Aleppo). His experience of Syria goes back to his time as Australian Ambassador there in the mid-eighties and frequent visits from his retirement in 2003 up to 2011. His website, Monuments of Syria, tracks the extent of damage to the archaeological sites and buildings recorded in his first book Monuments of Syria (I B Tauris 1992, 1999 and 2009).

Professor Claire Smith (Flinders University)

Professor Claire Smith is an archaeologist and Dean (Research) for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University. She has produced 9 books and more than 130 publications in English, Spanish, Catalan, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese. She is editor of the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. As the twice-elected President of the World Archaeological Congress (2003-2014) Claire Smith has built global research capacity through establishing the Archaeologists without Borders and Global Libraries Programs, supporting the establishment of a refereed journal, Archaeologies, and initiating five new international book series.

Tara Gutman (Australian Red Cross)

Tara Gutman is currently Acting National Manager IHL, Movement Relations and at Australian Red Cross. Her substantive role as IHL Legal Adviser – Government Engagement is concerned with supporting the Australian government to champion and implement international humanitarian law.  Tara formerly led ARC’s participation on military exercises and civil-military engagement.  Previous roles include training journalists to cover war crimes trials, Legal Consultant to the Khmer Rouge Trials Taskforce in Phnom Penh, Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and Visiting Scholar at George Washington University, Washington DC.

A/Professor Benjamin Isakhan (Deakin University)

A/Professor Benjamin Isakhan is Associate Professor of Politics and Policy Studies at Deakin University. He is the Founding Director of POLIS, a research network for Political Science and International Relations scholars at Deakin University.  He is also Adjunct Senior Research Associate, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney. Benjamin Isakhan is the author Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics, Discourse (Routledge, 2016 [2012]) and the editor of 6 books including, most recently, State and Society in Iraq: Citizenship under Occupation, Dictatorship and Democratization (I.B. Tauris, 2017).

Dr Antonio Zarandona (Deakin University)

Antonio Gonzalez is an Associate Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. He researches in heritage destruction, iconoclasm, vandalism and related issues in Australia and the Middle East using interdisciplinary methods of study. He has published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal and the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

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Key information

Date and time

Friday 2 February
9.00 am - 5.00 pm


Deakin University Downtown
Level 12, Tower 2,
727 Collins St,