The idea for the campaign came from discussions between Richard Allan
MP, who has a background in archaeology, and David Hill, the Executive
Director of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon
Marbles. They felt that the Athens Olympics in 2004 provided a fresh
impetus for raising the profile of the question of the return of the
Marbles. The effort would be helped by creating an umbrella campaign
which could bring together new people interested in the subject, especially
younger people, with some of the long term supporters.
The campaign is being directed by a steering group that will be expanded
to include new supporters over time. As an umbrella group, it aims
to bring together supporters from many backgrounds and across the
Members of the steering group to date include Richard Allan MP, Nicky
Artemi (Campaign Manager for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles),
Dr Peter Derow (Ancient Historian at Wadham College, Oxford), David
Hill (Executive Director of the BCRPM), Jerome Monahan (Journalist
and educationalist), Matthew Taylor (Architect), Geoffrey White (Barrister
and committee member of BCRPM), Clare Makepeace (Parliamentary Researcher),
and Malcolm Wright (Internet Consultant). Advice has also been given
to the steering group by members of the media and film industries.
The prime objective of the campaign is to persuade the UK Government
to make a commitment to enable the Parthenon Marbles to be displayed
in Athens. Thus, reuniting the sculptures with the remaining 40% in
Athens, to restore the unity of the monument. This commitment should
be made before the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The campaign is not specifically asking for the Marbles to be physically
returned before the Olympics, though this would be excellent if it
were possible. It sees the physical return as being dependent on the
preparation of a suitable home for the Marbles and will follow progress
on the New Acropolis Museum. This should not, however, prevent a commitment
in principle on the return from being made.
The campaign wishes to
- raise the profile of the return of the Marbles as a public policy
issue by placing articles in the principle national media outlets
- engage Members of Parliament in the debate about the Marbles
by encouraging constituents to send letters and postcards.
- engage members of the public in the debate about the Marbles
by distributing campaign packs
- enlist the support of well-known public figures for the case
- enlist the support of academics for the case for return.
- to encourage debate about the Marbles in educational settings
The campaign recognises that it is one part of a wide set of moves
towards the same objective. It will therefore try to tie itself into
limited and specific goals and will aim to liase with all other interested
Other key parties include the Government of Greece, the British Committee
for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), the All Party
Parliamentary Greece Group and international restitution campaigns.
The campaign largely depends on a voluntary work from many individual
supporters. A small amount of funding has been secured from the British
Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles for events
and publicity material.