Online: Monuments and Democracy – a paradox or fruitful combo?

An AAD Session hosted by CREATURE, as part of Public-Face's "Performance, Monuments and Public Spaces" series.

About this event

Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement (CREATURE) Our special guest Tanja Schult discusses 'Monuments and Democracy – a paradox or fruitful combo?' as part of Public-Face's "Performance, Monuments and Public Spaces" series.

Growing confrontation with colonial and patriarchal heritage has made questions of who and what is represented in public space in 21st-century democracies ever more urgent. However, recent debates have largely ignored that a fundamental shift in monument making has taken place over the past four decades – a shift that contributed to a radical renewal of the monument genre, its themes, designs and functions. Also, the adoption of new, digital technologies has significantly broadened what is now perceived as both ‘public’ and ‘monument’. Today, monuments no longer hold on to former genre-specifics such as permanence, visibility and traditional notions of ‘monumentality’. Instead, Performative Monuments (Mechthild Widrich) have become the new norm. These monuments invite new behaviour by giving audiences more active roles, aligning with broader expectations on citizens in a democracy, namely to be active agents shaping cultural memory.

During this lunch talk, Tanja Schult will provide some thoughts based on conducted and planned research on monuments’ roles and functions in democracies, and ask how ‘democratic monuments’ look, what they are about, and what kind of relationships they establish in public space.

Tanja Schult is an Associate Professor of Art History at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University. Her research has focused on the commemoration of the Holocaust and other painful pasts, and she specialized in how monuments serve as public stages for renegotiating questions of identity and participation. More recently, she started to explore new venues of research and writing on the experience offered by art and its potential efficacy, thereby employing audience reception studies.



Image: Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, 2013, Petr Brož.

People sit on the stone edge of a water feature in Hyde Park


Date/time Thursday 22 April 2021, from 1pm to 2pm GMT
Book ticket Monuments and Democracy – a paradox or fruitful combo?
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