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Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices

Contested Histories in Public Spaces is a multi-year initiative intended to address controversies over statues, memorials, street names and other representations of disputed historical legacies in public spaces. As part of this project, a group of experts - convened by the IBA, Salzburg Global Seminar and the IHJR – has prepared a volume of ten case studies addressing the political, legal and cultural dynamics in facilitating or complicating the resolution of public disputes over contested historical legacies in public spaces.

The ten case studies in this volume were selected with a twofold purpose: first, to examine the dynamics around specific contestations around the world in recent, real-world situations to demonstrate that these contestations are a global phenomenon; and second, to identify ‘best practices’ that can help decision-makers faced with similar situations address them in an effective and responsible manner. While every contestation will have its own unique constellation of social, political, legal and cultural dynamics, it is hoped that these cases can provide insight into the complex interplay of these forces.

This report was compiled by Dr Timothy Ryback, Co-Founder of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR); Dr Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA); and Benjamin Glahn, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Salzburg Global Seminar, in collaboration with a Task Force chaired by the Rt Hon Baroness Prashar of Runnymede, a crossbench member of the House of Lords.

The IBA held a virtual launch for the eBook on Thursday 11 February 2021. Participants heard from the volumes’ co-editors, along with practitioners and scholars.

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Virtual launch of Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices

On 11 February, the IBA held a virtual launch for the book, chaired by Dr Timothy W Ryback. Opening and introductory remarks were provided by Dr Mark Ellis and Baroness Usha Prashar, CBE, PC, a crossbench member of the House of Lords, and chair of the Contested Histories Task Force. Closing remarks were made by Benjamin Glahn.

Participants heard from the volumes’ co-editors, along with an esteemed panel of practitioners and scholars; His Excellency Lamberto Zannier, Harriet Senie, Shahid Vawda, Lecia Brooks, Dr Joanna Burch-Brown, Marti Burgess and Klaus Kraatz.

The following articles, relating to four of the case studies presented in Contested Histories: Principles, Processes, Best Practices, were published in 2020.

New IBA report released for decision-makers in response to ‘statue toppling’ following the killing of George Floyd

Contested Histories in Public Spaces: Principles, Processes, Best Practices presents ten in-depth case studies that examine the complex political, social, cultural, and legal dimensions of these contestations.

Contested historical legacies in public spaces addressed in new analysis by global experts

Over a period of three years, a group of global experts – convened by the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR), the International Bar Association (IBA), and the Salzburg Global Seminar – has been preparing a volume of eight in-depth case studies on contested legacies in public spaces. The analysis addresses the social, political and legal dynamics in facilitating or complicating the resolution of disputes over contested historical legacies in municipal areas.