Virtual Workshop: Toppling Statues & Bridging Histories


Location: Online via Zoom (View on map )

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This event takes place between 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (EST) / 3:00-6:00 p.m. (GMT/UTC) / 5:00-8:00 p.m. (SAST).

“Toppling Statues & Bridging Histories: Transforming the Politics and Ethics of Remembering in Europe”

The iconic toppling of Edward Colston’s statue by anti-racist protesters in Bristol sent headlines around the world in June 2020. How was the fall of Colston’s statue viewed by people in Britain? Did people of different ethnicities, genders, and ages see things in the same way, or take opposing views? Similarly, what can we learn from looking at cultures of remembrance in Europe more broadly, including Holocaust and post-Socialist memory? What do people in Europe want for the future, in how we remember our diverse and collective histories?

This online workshop, sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame and co-hosted by Bridging Histories, will bring together a range of academics and creative community leaders who are at the forefront of changing how people understand diverse histories in Britain and Europe. The speakers will demonstrate how creative local and global approaches to storytelling and history can carry communities toward new shared understandings of past, present, and future.

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Mamokgethi Phakengvice chancellor of the University of Capetown and a prolific scholar of mathematics education. She featured in Forbes'  inaugural list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa

David Bryan, was awarded a CBE by the British crown for his service to the arts. He is director of Xtend consultancy, Chair of Brixton House, Creative Lives and Battersea Arts Centre, and member of the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.

Joanna Burch-Brown, Director of Teaching in Philosophy at University of Bristol, co-chair of the Bristol History Commission, and director of Bridging Histories.

Jasmine Coe, Aboriginal artist and founder of Coe Gallery, the UK’s first Aboriginal-owned art gallery.

Gbemisola Isimi, Founder and Director of CultureTree, a pan-African organisation committed to creating diverse opportunities to learn and experience West African languages, arts, and culture.

Cleo Lake, Artist, activist, dancer, Community Engagement Professional and Researcher, former Green Party Councillor and Lord Mayor of Bristol (2018-2019).

Abigail Lewis, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame.

Maya Nadkarni, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Swarthmore College.

Troy Richards, Founder and CEO of Museum of Diversity, celebrating the diversity of cultural heritage originating from Africa, using immersive technology.

Clemens Sedmak, Director, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Professor of Social Ethics, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame.

Jelena Subotic, Professor, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.


Note: All times below are Eastern Standard Time

10-10:10 a.m.
Introduction and Welcome 
Clemens Sedmak
Keynote “Toppling Statues, Bridging Histories and the World Reimagined”
Joanna Burch-Brown and Cleo Lake.
Followed by 10 minute Q&A.
“Bridging Histories Panel: How Four Cultural Creatives are Reshaping Diasporic Memory in Britain” 
Chair: David Bryan
Panelists: Jasmine Coe, Troy Richards, Kinsi Abdulleh, Gbemisola Isimi 
Followed by 10 minute Q&A
Panel on “The Politics of Memory in Eastern and Central Europe.”
Chair: Abigail Lewis
Panelists: Maya Nadkarni and Jelena Subotic.
Followed by 10 minute Q&A
Led by Mamenkogethi Phakeng
Closing Remarks
Clemens Sedmak