Monuments Research Season: Online Events

The issue of monuments has become ever topical in the current global climate. In 2019 we began planning our Monuments Research Season, prompted by the research of Henry Moore Institute Post-Doctoral Research Fellows Dr Rebecca Senior and Dr Elizabeth Johnson, both of whom are working on different aspects of this topic. Since we first planned the season, monuments have become headline news all over the world. Our rescheduled online Monuments Season includes further contributions to reflect new responses to the subject since the season was conceived in 2019.

The twenty-first century has seen direct action taken against monuments across the world, as diversely motivated as the 2001 destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan by the Taliban, the #rhodesmustfall protest movement initiated at the University of Cape Town in 2015, and the numerous campaigns to remove Confederate monuments in the wake of the 2017 Charlottesville massacre. Most recently, the toppling of monuments connected to slavery in the wake of mass anti-racism and Black Lives Matter protests across the UK and internationally in 2020 has raised questions of who we commemorate and how, opening up conversations in different communities and contexts all over the world. As part of the Henry Moore Institutes ongoing commitment to championing diversity in sculpture across our programmes, our online Monuments Season aims to reflect the wide-ranging and interdisciplinary nature of these debates and provide a platform for a range of new research and thinking on the subject.

Every Wednesday throughout September we will present new research around monuments in a variety of forms, ranging from pre-recorded lectures to podcasts and artists' films.

Topics will include the relationship between monuments, gender and sexuality, the role of religion and politics, monuments and colonial memory, and artists' responses to monumentality. All material will be available to access online on our website and YouTube channel.

We would like to thank Dr Emily Zobel Marshall (Leeds Beckett University) for her invaluable advice and input during the planning of this research season.

Past events in this series:


Commemorative Space: Artist Reflections on Monumentality in Leeds

Online publication launch, premiering on YouTube on Wednesday 1 September, 6pm

Commemorative Space explores what monuments mean to artists living in cities today. For this online publication launch, artists Emii Alrai, Samra Mayanja, Jill McKnight and James Thompson reflect on their positions on monumentality and contributions to the publication.

Watch online now...


Monuments, Sexuality, and Contested Spaces

Lecture by Dr Martin Zebracki, premiering on YouTube on Wednesday 8 September, 6pm

Concerned with the effacing of sexual minority groups, this talk focuses on Julita Wójcik's sculpture, Tęcza (Polish for 'rainbow'). Intended as a symbol of joy, peace and connection, the artwork’s largely perceived LGBT+ symbolism met heated opposition from conservative parties. This talk tracks the erratic journey of public engagement with Tęcza and discusses how the politics over (anti-)LGBT+ memorialisation turned this public artwork into a dissonant, or ‘que(e)rying’, monument.

Watch online now...


'I Should Have Been Born a Man': The Displacement and Replacement of Women Sculptors within Contemporary Sculptural Debates

Lecture by Dr Klairi Angelou, premiering on YouTube on Wednesday 15 September, 6pm

This lecture focuses on how the issue of gender has played a role in the formation of public sculpture. Examined in the context of modern Greek public sculpture, Dr Klairi Angelou highlights both the marginalisation of Greek women sculptors, and the way women have been memorialised within the Greek narrative.

Watch online now...


Britain's #BLM Statue

Podcast by Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, launching online on Wednesday 22 September, 6pm

There has been a lot of talk, to put it mildly, about Britain’s statues and slavery. But what about Britain’s statues and anti-slavery? To take us into Black History Month in the UK, Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman asks what, exactly, in its anti-slavery statues, Britain is hiding.

Find out more...


When Unity Trumps Liberty: The Politics of Monumental Statues in India

Lecture by Dr Kajri Jain, premiering on YouTube on Wednesday 29 September, 6pm

Since the 1990s, in tandem with India’s economic liberalisation, monumental statues, secular and sacred, have become a central feature of Indian politics.

In this talk, art historian Kajri Jain discusses the emergence of this distinctive genre and the ways in which its efficacies are both similar and different to those of politically charged monuments elsewhere.

Find out more...

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