Dr Donna Yates
- Lecturer (Sociology)
Dr Donna Yates is a Lecturer in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow.
Donna has recently been awarded a €1.5 million European Research Council starting grant to study how objects influence criminal networks, with a particular focus on objects such as antiquities, fossils, and rare and collectible wildlife. She's interested in what draws people to these "criminogenic collectibles", how they interact with them, and how these objects may inspire crimes.
Dr Yates is also a member of the Trafficking Culture Research Consortium, a group of researchers that works to produce evidence-based information about the global illicit trade in cultural goods. She has conducted research in this area for the European Commission and has provided expert consultation, training, and advice to multiple governments and agencies, and relevant intergovernmental organisations such as UNESCO and UNODC.
From 2012–2015 Dr Yates held Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and a Core Fulbright Award to study the trafficking of Latin American antiquities. This project focused on the relationship between communities, governments, the law, and the operation of transnational criminal markets and to help develop regulatory mechanisms for controlling the illicit antiquities trade in that region, based on fieldwork in Bolivia, Belize, and Mexico. Her other antiquities trafficking field research includes work in Guatemala, Nepal, and Greece.
She completed her PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge in 2012 looking at the legal, social, and political construction of archaeology and heritage in the rapidly changing social and political climate of modern Bolivia. Her first degree was in Archaeology at Boston University with a focus on Mesoamerica. She went on to complete an MPhil in Archaeological Heritage and Museums at Cambridge. Her MPhil thesis documented the market for illicit South American antiquities at US-based auctions.
- looting and trafficking of antiquities and cultural property, palaeontological material, and rare wildlife
- art crime
- heritage protection and preservation
- archaeology and heritage law and regulatory development
- Latin American and South Asian art and archaeology
- culture and politics of the Andes
- Indigenous social and political movements
- 2020–2025 European Research Council Starter Grant "TRANSFORM" (PI, €1.5 million)
- 2018–2019 European Commission EAC/06/2017 "Improving Knowledge on Illicit Trade in Cultural Goods in the EU" (Co-Recipient, £190,000)
- 2018 Newton Mobility Grant, British Academy (Co-recipient, £4500)
- 2017–2018 Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund Small Grant (PI, £46,300)
- 2017–2018 Alumni Ties Small Grant, US State Department (PI, $4500)
- 2017 Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant (Recipient, £4600)
- 2016–2017 BOLD Strategic Online Learning Grant, University of Glasgow (PI, £42,000)
- 2012–2015 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, Leverhulme Trusts, UK (PI, £90,000)
- 2012–2016 Trafficking Culture, European Research Council (Key Contributor, €1 million)
- 2012–2013 Fulbright Scholar Award (Bolivia), Fulbright Program, US State Department (PI, $10,000)
Katharina Stoll (PhD, Criminology)
Luise Loges (PhD, Archaeology)
Sarah Gambell (PhD, Information Studies)
Talfan Davies (PhD, Criminology)
Postgraduate Certificate in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
Programme director for the master's level online PG Cert in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime. The three courses are available to both distance learners and on-site University of Glasgow master's students.
In 2017 and in 2018, Dr Yates was awarded the University of Glasgow Teaching Award for "Best Online Experience".
Master's Degree Programmes
Module coordinator for courses related to antiquities and art crime for MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice (Sociology) and MSc Collecting and Provenance in an International Context (Art History)
Free Online Course: Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
Dr Yates is the developer and lead educator for the free online course Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime delivered on the MOOC platform FutureLearn. The course runs in October, February, and June and is open to everyone. For more information and to sign up: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/art-crime
Dr Yates will not be accepting PhD proposals for 2019/2020 admittance.
Dr Yates is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
She is a founding member of the Trafficking Culture International Research Consortium
- Anonymous Swiss Collector: antiquities theft, art crime, and the complexities of cultural objects
- Stolen Gods: a searchable databse of media articles about the theft and destruction of sacred art from around the world
- Culture Crime News: a serchable database of media articles about antiquities trafficking and art crime
- Trafficking Culture: researching the global illicit trafficking of cultural objects
Selected Media Features
The Global Fight Against Black Market Antiquities Intensifies. The Media Line. 1 July 2018.
Memorias de un Robo en la Selva Maya (y de Tres o Cuatroa Orquídeas Extraordinarias). El País. 7 April 2018.
Inside the Museum of the Bible. Christianity Today. 20 November.
Tomb Robbing, Perilous but Alluring, Makes Comeback in China. The New York Times. 15 Jul 2017.
Hobby Lobby ignored ‘red flags’ about stolen Iraqi artifacts. PRI’s The World. 6 Jul 2017.
Hobby Lobby’s $3 million smuggling case casts a cloud over the Museum of the Bible. The Washington Post. 6 Jul 2017.
Grave Robbers with Far-Right Links Could Be Stealing Ancestral Māori Skulls. Vice. 18 May 2017.
Online courses: your passport to a new career. The Guardian. 20 Jan 2017.
Art detectives help bring back antiquities stolen from temples. AFP. 3 Jan 2017.
Ownership questions trigger NGV action on antiquities. The Australian. 26 Oct 2016.
Will Victims of Nazi Art Thieves Finally Get Justice? The Daily Beast, 17 Sep 2016.
What is the Cost of Preserving the Past? Panellist. Newshour Extra, BBC World Service, 26 Aug 2016.
Art crime expert Dr Donna Yates makes her research available free online in bid to help beat the thieves. The National. 2 June 2016.
Meet Dr Donna Yates, the expert aiming to make antiquities-collecting socially unacceptable. Herald. 25 April 2016.
Protection of antiquities is a global issue. United Nations Radio. 30 March 2016.
Cómo se roban la historia siria. El Espectador. 12 March 2016.
Returning the hatchet: Governments are starting to return treasures to their neighbours. Economist. 12 March 2016.
Police praised for museum thefts investigation. Museums Journal. 2 March 2016.
Gang may have stolen antiquities for Chinese market, says expert. The Guardian. 1 March 2016.
Where it is safe to do so, cultural artefacts should be repatriated. The Economist. 23 February 2016.
Looted: How global theft fuels trafficking, unrest & cultural control. Guernica. 28 January 2016.
In the frame for a cutting-edge course on art theft. Evening Times. 27 January 2016.
Framed: the new course that teaches you about art crime and antiquities trafficking. The Herald. 24 January 2016.
Tomb Raiding is a Growing Problem in the Middle East. Vice. 21 January 2016.
Broken System’ Allows ISIS to Profit From Looted Antiquities. The New York Times. 9 January 2016.
The Gods are still leaving. The Kathmandu Post. 9 January 2016.
Meet the lonely online warriors leading the fight against looted art. Fusion. 24 November 2015.
Scotland's elite archaeologists target global tomb raiders. Sunday Herald. 30 August 2015.
India struggles to halt multimillion dollar trade in stolen artworks. The Guardian. 3 August 2015.
Criminology tools can curb illicit trade in artefacts. The Himalayan Times. 15 July 2015.
Protecting the Ruins. Nepali Times. 24–30 July 2015.
Sacred Indian art is seen more as “Art” than as “Sacred” in the art market: Dr. Donna Yates. NewsGram. 14 July 2015.
Idol Pursuit: Intrepid bloggers try to retrieve stolen sacred art from around the world. India Today. 22 June 2015.
Christie’s artefacts linked to organised crime. The Scotsman. 13 April 2015.
Cultural guardian confronts the looters. Times Higher Education, 15 January 2015.
@LegoAcademics: smashing gender stereotyping one brick at a time. Times Higher Education 15 August.
The challenges of being a woman scientist in Lego. The Guardian 13 August 2014.
Lego's new female scientists set already has an awesome new Twitter tribute. Washington Post Aug. 2014.
Glasgow University uncovers relic looting networks. The Scotsman 1 July 2014.
New Evidence Ties Illegal Antiquities Trade to Terrorism, Violent Crime. National Geographic 13 June 2014.
Andean churches plagued by sacred art thefts. Associated Press August 2013.