Academics Joanne Murphy and Sara McDowell outline the ongoing debate around the future of historic public memorials in Northern Ireland in the global context of greater recognition of their role in defining social spaces and civic cultures.
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 has instigated a global period of reckoning over issues of race, representation and belonging. Amid widespread protests against police brutality, cultural landscapes of official commemoration have been brought sharply into focus.
The legacy and memorialisation of leaders associated with slavery or colonial practices in public spaces is being re-examined across America and in some parts of Europe. Some statutes have been removed by force or pre-emptively to avoid street violence.
Before the death of Floyd, the United States had already engaged in a series of debates about the place of Confederate flags and statues in society. For many, the Confederate era represents the historic oppression of African-American communities: a legacy that continues to shape existing inequalities and experiences...