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Dr Elena Perez-Alvaro

Managing Director

My professional experience in the field of culture has been acquired through my years of research and conferences. My professional experience at international level has been developed in various countries. In 2014 I was awarded a Universitas 21 fellowship to conduct part of my research at the University of Queensland (Australia) on cultural heritage and law. The result of my research would be used to develop a new legal draft to protect the underwater cultural heritage in a common European legislation for the project SEARCH. I was also previously invited to conduct research at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Academy in Hamburg in the same topic. I have also been invited to various meetings at UNESCO in Paris as a guess to assist to the various State Parties meetings to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

My articles, published in international peer-reviewed publications, have stood out because of the fresh debates they create and have been cited in journals such as Science and American Scientist. I have also been invited to publish part of my work as chapters in various specialised compendiums of cultural heritage. All my articles investigate one or multiples UNESCO conventions and suggest mechanisms to implement projects for managing cultural heritage: from uses and valorisation of cultural heritage, to protection from climate change or analysis of a new legislation for the protection of the underwater cultural heritage in Europe. The UNESCO policy and legal texts are continuously explored and analysed in my publications. The 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols are for instance analysed on my next article to be published: "Nationless shipwrecks: a new vision on the debate of the return of cultural treasures", an article that explores not only the protection of cultural property in occupied territory but also the protection of human rights in relation to cultural heritage.


My experiences as a speaker in multiple fora, where I have been invited to talk about my research in more than twenty countries, have also gained me a name inside the cultural heritage management field. I have also presented my papers in UNESCO meetings.


I have served as lecturer teaching mainly two courses: Law and Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham and Cultural Heritage at the Universidad de Alcala. I have been an accomplished entrepreneur with significant work experience encompassing a performance record of starting two successful cultural heritage businesses from scratch, one of them Licit Cultural Heritage Ltd.


My research has followed a path closely related to cultural heritage research and practice. My PhD in Cultural Heritage examined a new vision where cultural heritage challenges taken-for-granted principles: definition, uses, and protection of cultural heritage. The research addressed ethical concerns regarding managing cultural heritage, supported by a legal vision. The topic was innovative: a complete vision on the policy, legal, and ethical aspects of cultural heritage, challenging taken-for-granted principles on the use and interpretation of cultural heritage policy and law.


My best asset, my multidisciplinary education, has given me a detailed understanding of cultural heritage from different points of view: culture management and policy, museology, heritage management, collections organisation and art market as part of an MSc in Heritage and Museum Studies and a MA History of Art. I have also researched the international legal field on cultural heritage at the University of Cambridge and the Master of Laws (LLM), Postgraduate Certificate on Environmental Law and a Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Law at the University of London. These diplomas have allowed me to have a complete knowledge on international organizations and UN systems. Currently, I am working towards the completion of the distance learning programme "Legal Practice Course" that will allow me to become a certified Solicitor. 


All my academic career has always been supported by a professional development, which has made me become a very organized professional, with excellent analytic and problem solving skills under the pressure of a doctoral thesis. As Managing Director of Licit Cultural Heritage LTD I  maintain always a high standard quality of work with close attention to detail, attending the client’s necessities and meeting the client’s deadlines.


My experience as a researcher not only in the field of management of cultural heritage but also as an expert on legal international law, international humanitarian law and cultural heritage law makes me the ideal support for your business.

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