Monuments Toolkit Webinar Series 

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Upcoming Webinars

September 30, 2022 at 1pm EST

Recontextualizing Monuments of Oppression

October

Centering Oppressive Spaces with Digital Media

November

The Destruction of Monuments Against Indigenous Peoples

December

What Is Your Mount Rushmore?

Previous Webinars 

This months theme covers Controversial Monuments in Spaces of Regional Conflict. Our two guest speakers, each representing a different corner of the world, will present their perspectives on complex sites and narratives in their communities. Monuments in Czechoslovak public spaces have been reassessed many times after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. As contemporary communities question the comemmoration of communist-era monuments like the Konev Monument, Czech and Slovak public spaces are witnessing numerous reformulations that are reshaping their legacy and identity. In Taiwan, statues of the authoritarian leader Chiang Kai-shek are being re-evaluated in the wake of the island nations democratic transition. While now recognized as one of Asia’s most liberal and open societies, Taiwan endured decades of martial law and White Terror. Schools, public institutions, and city centers have grappled with how to handle monuments to a man instrumental to development, but who presided over a one-party police state that committed human rights atrocities against the populace and how this squares with democratic values today.

Guest Speakers

Dr. Petra Švardová

Dr. Petra Švardová is postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences, and partially works at the Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences. Her current project, “Iconoclasm in the Czechoslovak public space after 1989. The heritage of socialism in historical perspective” focuses on the communist-era monuments in Czechoslovakia after Velvet Revolution. She previously finished her thesis the under joint (cotutelle) Ph.D. program of the Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences (Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University Bratislava). The topic of her doctoral thesis was Material heritage from the Communist past in former Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria: the questions of preservation of monuments and their new roles. Soviet war memorials after 1989. She completed her masters degree in museum studies in 2012 at Paris Sorbonne University.

Kevin Fan Hsu

Kevin Fan Hsu has worked on sustainable development, climate resilience, and heritage conservation on both sides of the Pacific, in places such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore. His current research focuses on strategies for incorporating equity and inclusion into infrastructure planning. As a lecturer at the Stanford University Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), he teaches courses on civic design, public participation, and placemaking, in partnership with Bay Area cities. From 2018-2021, Kevin was based in Singapore, where he led the Resilience/Sustainability research cluster at the Centre for Liveable Cities. He concurrently served as a research fellow at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the agency responsible for land use planning and conservation. In 2021, he collaborated with the National Heritage Board of Singapore on a project connecting heritage safeguarding initiatives to broader sustainable development and resilience priorities.

Kevin holds an M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford, where he has also taught courses in Urban Studies and International Policy Studies, and has a M.A. in Cultural Heritage Management from Johns Hopkins University. His writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, the South China Morning Post, and Ketagalan Media.

This month’s theme considers the possibility of public and private institutions to acquire and display oppressive monuments. The challenges faced in our public spaces are often discussed in the museum world. We should highlight their perspectives since museums directly influence the attitudes and taste of public aesthetics. If museums were to become stewards of oppressive monuments, what positions would they be able to take and are these controversial figures considered art? These are the questions that we wish to address.

Guest Speakers

Hamza Walker 

Hamza Walker is the director of the Los Angeles nonprofit art space LAXART and an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining LAXART in 2016, he was director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society, a non-collecting contemporary art museum in Chicago, for 22 years where he organized numerous shows and public programming and wrote extensively on the field of contemporary art. Notable shows at the Renaissance Society include Suicide Narcissus, 2013; Black Is, Black Ain’t, 2008; and New Video, New Europe, 2004. In addition to his work at the Renaissance Society, Walker also co-curated the Made in L.A. 2016 biennial. He has won the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement in 2014 and the prestigious Ordway Prize in 2010 for his significant impact on the field of contemporary art.

Christina Keyser Vida 

As the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections at the Valentine Museum, Christina Vida is responsible for the museum’s objects collection as well as the 1812 Wickham House and the Edward Valentine Sculpture Studio. Vida received her BA in History from the College of William and Mary in 2005 and a MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware in 2007. Vida has previous work experience in curatorial and education roles at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Windsor Historical Society (CT), and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (Virginia Historical Society). Since 2020, she has served as the Project Manager for the Valentine Studio Project
and is collaborating with colleagues to reinterpret the history and legacy of the Lost Cause mythology and the impact of public monuments on private thought and public policy.

Hannah Burstein 

Hannah Burstein is an arts researcher, educator, and public programmer based in Los Angeles.  She is currently the Project Manager at LAXART, a contemporary nonprofit exhibition space.

This month’s webinar covers the historically neglected “Comfort Women”, who were kidnapped into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Military during World War II. These memorials have been targeted and removed internationally, but the “Column of Strength” continues to stand in San Francisco. “Comfort women” memorials are not intended to insult or attribute current generations with the mistakes of the nation’s past. However, the stories they preserve have been denied recognition for years while the opposition remains steadfast. The Monuments Toolkit team is proud to collaborate with activists that seek justice for “comfort women” in both their respective regions and worldwide. Each will present their insights and experiences on cases that they have worked on personally. Joining us for this webinar are the following organizations: Lila Pilipina, The “Comfort Women” Action for Redress & Education (CARE, fka KAFC), The “Comfort Women” Justice Coalition (CWJC).

Guest Speakers

Phyllis Kim

Phyllis Kim is the executive director of CARE (fka KAFC) that focuses on raising awareness about “comfort women” issue, a massive-scale institutionalized wartime sexual slavery during the Pacific War and WWII by the Imperial Japan. As a community-based organization, Kim’s group joined the movement through the campaign to pass US House Resolution 121 in 2007, and has been leading a number of campaigns to raise awareness about the “comfort women” issue in the US, including, building the first “Girl Statue” in the United States in 2013 in the City of Glendale, fighting the subsequent lawsuit to remove the Glendale Statue, working with a multi-ethnic coalition to build “San Francisco Comfort Women Memorial,” campaigning to include the “comfort women” history in California 10th Grade World History curriculum, providing teaching materials for the high school history teachers, collaborating with Sogang University to create “Eternal Testimony” – interactive, conversational video with surviving Grandmas, establishing a “comfort women” online archive at UCLA and more. www.ComfortWomenAction.org,
www.ComfortWomenEducation.org

Judith Mirkinson

Judith Mirkinson is a long term women’s and human rights activist. She began her association with the “comfort women” in 1991, when she co-organized the first North American tour of a  survivor with GABRIELA Philippines. She has spent decades doing international solidarity work and is a co-author of the 2019 National Lawyers Guild report:  The Lasalin Massacre and the Human Rights Crisis in Haiti: https://www.nlg.org/report-the-lasalin-massacre-and-the-human-rights-crisis-in-haiti/.

Judith is also active in the work for the freedom of political prisoners. She is a former president of the SF/Bay Area Chapter of the Lawyers Guild and currently serves as a co-chair of its International Committee. She is the president of the “Comfort Women” Justice Coalition.

Sharon Cabusao-Silva

Sharon Cabusao-Silva is a longtime women’s rights activist from GABRIELA Women’s Alliance in the Philippines. She is also active with the human rights and peace movements in the country. In 2017, she spoke before the Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council on the state of women’s rights in the Philippines. She is current Coordinator of Lila Pilipina, the organization of Filipino “Comfort” Women.