Dr Donna Yates


University of Glasgow


Donna Yates is a Lecturer in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime in 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.

Donna 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 Donna 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.

Donna completed her PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge looking at the legal, social, and political construction of archaeology and heritage in 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.

Dr Yates is the lead educator for the University of Glasgow’s Postgraduate Certification in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime: a suite of three masters-level online courses. She is also the lead educator on the free introductory online course of the same name. She supervises masters-level Criminology students at the University of Glasgow and accepts proposals from potential PhD students. Those interested in studying with her are asked to include both their CV and an abridged project proposal.



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University of Glasgow

SCCJR, University of Glasgow, Ivy Lodge, 63 Gibson Street, Glasgow, G12 8LR

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