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Ms Summer Austin
Ms Summer Austin profile picture
  • Post Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
  • Institute of Archaeology
  • Faculty of S&HS
Summer Rose Austin - I am an archaeologist focused on cultural heritage crimes, the (il)licit antiquities trade, transnational crime and the art and antiquities market. I also work on the ethics of ownership, access, and display, the roles of cultural heritage in modern discourse and the commodification of cultural heritage. My current research investigates the role of museums blockbuster exhibitions in the creation, enhancement and normalization of demand for antiquities and what the consequences are for such demand. My areas of interest include the art and antiquities market, looting and trafficking of cultural and natural resources, museums and the market, art crime, restitution and repatriation, fossils and wildlife trafficking, archaeology and heritage law, crimes involving musical instruments, and discussions around cultural heritage and climate change.

I was born in California where I became the first member of my family to attend university. I have lived in and worked in the US, Scotland and Australia. 

Research Summary
My doctoral thesis is titled: Tut on Tour: 30 years of Demand Creation through Exhibition, a multidisciplinary investigation into influences that create, enhance and normalise demand for acquiring antiquities. Using the ‘original museum blockbuster’ — Tutankhamun — as the case study, this research investigates the antiquity markets' reaction to blockbuster exhibitions by gathering and quantifying 30-years of exhibition history, collecting trends, price fluctuation, profit margins, marketing techniques and results. 

The objective of this study is to introduce reliable data to the crucial debate concerning the relationship between museum exhibitions, end-market demand and the il/licit antiquities market. The illicit market for Egyptian antiquities is a demand-driven economic system predicated on collectors and museums acquiring antiquities. This research explores how Tut blockbusters exhibitions function as active agents in generating demand for Egyptian antiquities.

Teaching Summary

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant:

ARCL0199 Heritage Ethics & Archaeology Practice in the Middle East & Mediterranean

Masters of Archaeology

Academic Background
    Antiquities Trafficking & Art Crime  
    MSc Collecting & Provenance In An International Context  
    MSc Archaeology  
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