Stolen Artefacts

Hundreds of thousands of stolen, Colonial Era artefacts are on display in Western museums. Will they ever be returned home?

In this episode, Jessica is joined by Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, an expert in colonialist epistemic violence research. He describes the types of artefacts that have been stolen, why museums are starting to repatriate these artefacts and how their return will influence future interpretations of history. 

  • How seeing the museumised Ark of the Covenant impacted Dr Woldeyes [00:55]
  • Why museums are repatriating stolen artefacts [07:55]
  • Benefits of repatriation [11:42]
  • Not every single artefact has to be repatriated [16:33]
  • Dr Woldeyes’s research into knowledge grabbing [22:26]
  • There’s still a market for stolen artefacts [26.23]
  • What is the ideal future? [28:01]

Learn more

The Conversation: Repatriation: why Western museums should return African artefacts

The Guardian: Museums grapple with rise in pleas for return of foreign treasures

Connect with our guests

Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes –Senior Lecturer in Human Rights, School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University

Dr Woldeyes’s staff profile

Questions or suggestions for future topics





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You can read the full transcript for the episode at