Recontextualizing Monuments of Oppression

Friday September 30th, at 1:00pm EDT 

Register here

The Monuments Toolkit team will be hosting this month’s theme on Recontextualizing Monuments of Oppression. Our program incorporates monument case studies where there is a significant gap in power that prevents the public and organizations from redefining their public spaces. Contemporary solutions like Co-location and Reinterpretation offer unique approaches to oppressive monuments. However, are they impactful in the erasure of the horrific and offensive legacies of problematic figures and iconography?

Our panelists will each tackle this challenge from their own perspectives. Erin Thompson will explore the intricacies of the Freedmen’s Memorial as a product of the wages of free slaves, and the implications of the figures above. Ella Békési will analyze Memento Park in Budapest Hungary, as the monuments were relocated to spaces away from the public eye and out of their original context. In light of the current situation in Ukraine, has public opinion changed about the relocation of Soviet monuments to Memento Park?

We welcome you to join and contribute to the discussion.

Our Speakers

Ella Erzsébet Békési

Ella was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary and received her B.A in Archaeology and M.A in Cultural Heritage at University College London. She worked as an assistant in public and commercial archaeology as well as in the heritage sectors in the United Kingdom and Central America. Ella participated in the Lamanai Archaeology Project (LAP) in Belize, and has been assisting branches of the Belizean National Institute of Culture and History.

She co-founded Heritage Education Network Belize, a non profit organisation dedicated to innovative and sustainable ways to understand and safeguard culture and heritage. HENB focuses on community engagement, capacity building, development, research, advocacy, and education to empower local communities and stakeholders to create and maintain sustainable lifeways through culture.


Erin L. Thompson

Erin L. Thompson, America’s only professor of art crime, analyzes the ways in which the deliberate destruction of art has sometimes harmed and sometimes benefited communities. Her book, Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of American Public Monuments (Norton, 2022) traces the turbulent history and abundant ironies of our monuments. She has spoken about monuments controversies with outlets including the New Yorker, New York Times, CSPAN, and “The Today Show.”

Registration for upcoming free September Webinar:

Baviere, G. (2008, Baviere, G. (2008, August 17). Budapest. The Statue Park. [Photo]. Budapest, Hungary. CC By 2.0.