Blog

A statue of Robert Towns sits beside a tree.
#6

Robert Towns’ Statue and his Blackbirding Legacy

By Grace Sahota 29 September 2020

We are pleased to present the case on a statue of Robert Towns in Townsville, Australia, as part of a series of in-depth studies for the Contested Histories Initiative. We hope that this series will provide insights and lessons learned for engaging with and addressing instances of disputed historical legacies… Read More

A collection of headlines about the Cecil Rhodes statue controversy at Oriel College in Oxford.
#167

The Legacy of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College

By Oliver Anthony 13 August 2020

When a protestor left a sign on the doors of Oxford’s University Church reading ‘Rhodes, You’re Next’, there was little doubt that the monumental Black Lives Matter movement, sweeping the world after the death of George Floyd, would next be turning its attention to the statue of the imperialist figure… Read More

A statue of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore, with skyscrapers rising in the background.
#138

Monuments Matter

A Singaporean Solution

By Miranda Richman 27 July 2020

We are pleased to present the case on The Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles and His Legacy as part of a series of in-depth studies for the Contested Histories Initiative. We hope that this series will provide insights and lessons learned for engaging with and addressing instances of disputed historical legacies… Read More

Protestors and celebrators surround and stand atop a statues plinth with Chilean flags, instruments, and streamers.

The Contested Histories project made news in Chile

By Catalina Gaete 10 July 2020

During the last week, the Contested Histories project had intensive activity in Chile, the South American country where even before the Black Lives Matters movement, over a dozen statues and monuments were vandalized or removed in a matter of days. One of our team members participated in an online talk… Read More

After being torn down by protestors, the Minnesota Christopher Columbus statue is loaded up to be driven away

Who will deal with the real issues once the statues are out of sight?

By Steven Stegers & Marie-Louise Jansen 11 June 2020

This week, activists in Europe and the United States attacked statues of historical figures because they are seen as colonialists, imperialists, slave-traders, and racists. Will these symbolic acts result in the structural and systematic changes that are needed?  Steven Stegers, Marie-Louise Ryback-Jansen, 10 June 2020, The Hague/Berlin A monumental movement… Read More

Torn down statue of Edward Colston being thrown into Bristol harbour by protestors
#173

Monuments Matter

A Comment on Bristol

By Marie-Louise Jansen 8 June 2020

Yesterday, protestors in the English port city of Bristol toppled a statue of an 18th Century slave- trader, dragged the life-size bronze through the streets, and heaved it over a stone embankment into the Bristol harbour. Hundreds of Bristol residents looked on and cheered. (See appended link). The statue’s unauthorized… Read More

Frank Rizzo Statue at Philadelphia's Municipal Services Building
#192

Monuments Matter

A Comment on Philadelphia

By Marie-Louise Jansen 2 June 2020

A day after this blog post was originally published, the statue was removed. For details see local news report at NBC Philadelphia.  During this past weekend , the city of Philadelphia, like dozens of cities across America, erupted in mass protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, an… Read More

With a church spire in the background, Robert E. Lee's equestrian statue stands in a public park.

Do Monuments Matter?

By Marie-Louise Jansen 16 April 2020

Earlier this month a statue of a former Soviet general was removed from a municipality in Prague resulting in protests by the Russian minority in the Czech Republic and anger from Moscow. In March 2020, the Virginia legislature voted to allow municipalities the right to remove statues, overturning a previous… Read More

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities addresses the room at All Soul's College, Oxford, for a 2019 Task Force meeting. In the background, a PowerPoint presentation on Contested Histories in Public Spaces can be seen.

Lamberto Zannier, HCNM: “Conflicts often have to do with the interpretation of history”

By Catalina Gaete 15 April 2019

Motivated by a natural curiosity and well trained instincts, Lamberto Zannier, High Commissioner for National Minorities at the OSCE, attended the meeting organized around the project Contested Histories in Public Spaces in Oxford, which reviewed several cases of controversial monuments and statues around the world. In this meeting, Mr. Zannier… Read More