Game of Stones – an op-ed on contested historical legacies in public spaces published by Gazette

Monday 20 July 2020

The Law Society Gazette has published a co-authored opinion piece on contested historical legacies in public spaces by International Bar Association (IBA) Executive Director Mark Ellis and Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) Director, Timothy W Ryback.

The commentary, titled Game of stones, questions whether the permanence of statues is problematic in an ever-changing world: ‘By their very nature, statues and monuments impose a collective narrative of a nation’s sense of self on public spaces. When four Confederate statues were erected in the city of Baltimore in the early 20th century, the city had a majority white population. Demographics have shifted. It does not take much imagination to understand that a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis does not belong in a city with a majority black population […] times change, people change, statues don’t. And that can be a problem.’ Read more at: www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/game-of-stones/5105007.article

The opinion piece follows the announcement by the IHJR of the Contested Histories in Public Spaces project – a long-term initiative intended to address controversies over statues, memorials, street names and other representations of disputed historical legacies in public spaces. As part of the project, the IHJR, the IBA and the Salzburg Global Seminar have convened a group of experts to prepare eight in-depth case studies on contested legacies in public spaces. Digests of a select number of the case studies can be read here: www.ibanet.org/Contested-histories.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Contested Histories in Public Spaces project aims to provide decision-makers, policy planners, educators, and other stakeholders with a set of case studies, best practices and guidelines for addressing historical contestations in an effective and responsible manner. Find out more about the IBA’s involvement here: www.ibanet.org/Contested-histories
  2. Watch the recording of the webinar, Black Lives Matter: a challenge to the law, here:
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  4. The Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) is a research centre at EuroClio and works in cooperation with a range of public, private and independent institutions. The Contested Histories project seeks to identify, document, and examine cases of contestation around the world, with the goal of identifying a set of principles, processes and best practices that can help inform decision making.
  5. Salzburg Global Seminar, based in Salzburg, Austria, is an independent non-profit organisation founded in 1947 to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world. The multi-year programme series aim to bridge divides, expand collaboration and transform systems. Salzburg Global convenes outstanding talent across generations, cultures and sectors to inspire new thinking and action, and to connect local innovators with global resources.

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association
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London EC4A 4AD

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Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/yxbujdsb