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David Olusoga OBE to chair panel on diversity in statues and public memorials

21 Sep 2021

Black History Month event: 12pm, Tuesday 5 October 2021, at the Whitworth

Black History Month event 5 October 2021

David Olusoga OBE, Professor of Public History in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, is chairing a special panel discussion on the debate around statues and public memorials in Manchester and Bristol as part of Black History Month.

The event, ‘From Bristol to Manchester: history and memory in our cities’, will be held on 5th October 2021. It is part of The University of Manchester’s Creative Manchester research platform and will question how diverse voices and communities can be engaged in cultural policymaking.

The discussion will also reflect on a recent consultation about statues, monuments and artworks in Manchester’s public realm.  That consultation, carried out in spring 2021, outlined how important the conversation around public art and diverse histories has become to local communities and wider society. This was brought into sharp focus in June 2020 with the tearing down of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol. 

The panel will include Councillor Luthfur Rahman, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, Dr Sadia Habib of The University of Manchester and Dr Joanna Burch-Brown of the University of Bristol. They will be joined by young people who participated in ‘Whose Statues? Whose Stories?’, a series of online workshops led by Dr Habib that brought together young people, researchers and spoken word artists to examine monuments in their local areas and produce creative responses.

Commenting on the event, Professor John McAuliffe, Director of Creative Manchester, 

“Creative Manchester works with researchers at the University and external partners to develop the crucial evidence base we need to address ideas at the heart of contemporary culture: we are delighted to be bringing together key figures at events like this which will drive productive new conversations, not just in Manchester and Bristol, but nationally too.” 

The event builds on the findings of The University of Manchester’s ‘Contesting Statues’ research project. Based out of the University’s Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, the project examined global activism against the presence of statues that commemorate colonial histories and slave traders. The project team, including former Guardian journalist Professor Gary Younge, investigated local and national policy responses to this contentious issue and has made a series of recommendations for policy makers in the UK and beyond. 

To book

Event presented in partnership with: