MCPHH Launch Conference 20 – 21 APRIL 2018



On-going events in the United States concerning the removal of Confederate soldier-statues, together with similar discussions here in the UK linked to various memorials and monuments from the age of Empire make clear that despite living in an era of increasingly ‘virtual memory’, public sculpture continues to draw – and provoke – engaged political debate. Prompted by these contemporary ‘culture wars’ and in order to provide a space in which scholars, heritage professionals and interested members of the public might gather to interrogate the politics of commemorative sculpture, the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage is organising a two-day conference for 20 – 21 April 2018. Papers or panels on the following topics, themes and subjects are especially encouraged:

  •  The removal and/or relocation of commemorative art and architecture in British towns and cities 
  • Contemporary debate surrounding how and where to commemorate controversial, contested or problematic pasts
  •  Iconoclasm and the fate of religious symbols and statues during the Reformation 
  • The contemporary connections between democracy, public art and architecture
  • The impact and implications of ‘mediating’ monuments (and the debates they produce) in the twenty-first century 
  • The on-going challenge presented by the Confederate commemorative legacy in the United States 
  • The effacing of Georgian and Royalist sculpture in Revolutionary and Republican America, and similar interventions in eighteenth-century England and France
  • The removal of Soviet commemorative architecture in post-communist societies in central and eastern Europe etc.
  • The plight of Civil War memorials and monuments in Post-Franco Spain 
  • The 2003 ‘liberation’ of Iraq and the subsequent fate of Baathist era statues   
  • The future and fate of British imperial sculpture in post-colonial societies across the world as well as in Britain itself
  • German ‘denazification’ and the post-1945 removal of Nazi monuments

The above list is not exhaustive, and those wishing to present on similar issues across different cultures and chronologies are very welcome to submit a proposal. Abstracts of c.300 words, plus a one page CV should be sent to Sam Edwards at by Friday 26th January 2017.

The conference will include the launch event for the new Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage (MCPHH). The MCPHH builds on the long-established work of the Manchester Centre for Regional History, established in 1998. The MCPHH aims to bridge the gap between academia and the public and become recognised internationally for excellence in publicly engaged research.