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Monumental Concerns

October 6October 7


“Monumental Concerns,” a daylong symposium hosted by Syracuse University artist-in-residence Carrie Mae Weems, will consider the role of monuments and their contested histories in contemporary society. The event will bring together scholars, artists, curators, activists and local historians to explore how monuments can commemorate challenging histories and shape dominant narratives on national and local levels.

How do we dialogue about these often-controversial issues and fairly address a multitude of perspectives? To what extent do we invite opposition to discussions of monument removal or displacement? When and how do these debates spill over into racial violence and what can we do to address this reality? How do we acknowledge the emotional and nationalistic role that monuments often play while advocating for more inclusive historical framing? Through sustained, thoughtful and respectful dialogue in thematic presentations, participants can begin to define what a monument is in 21st-century America and imagine what monuments could be for the future.

Schedule of Events:

Friday, October 6th

  • Opening Presentation with Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman from the For Freedoms Collective
    4:00pm, Shemin Auditorium
  • Welcome Reception
    5:00-6:30pm, Syracuse University Art Museum

Saturday, October 7th
8:30am-5:30pm, Watson Hall

Morning Presentations:

  • Melissa Yuen, Interim Chief Curator, Syracuse University Art Museum
  • Carrie Mae Weems, Syracuse University Artist-in-Residence
  • Julie Ehrlich, Director of Presidential Initiatives and Chief of Staff, Mellon Foundation
  • Paul M. Farber, Director of Monument Lab, Philadelphia
  • Marisa Williamson, Artist
  • Brandon Lazore, Artist
  • Timur Hammond, Assistant Professor of Geography and the Environment at Syracuse University

Afternoon Presentations:

  • Mayor Ben Walsh, Mayor of Syracuse, New York
  • Jenevieve DeLosSantos, Associate Teaching Professor and Director of Special Projects, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences
  • Sally Cornelison, Professor of Art & Music Histories, Syracuse University
  • Delali Kumavie, Assistant Professor of English, Syracuse University
  • Ethan Madarieta, Assistant Professor of English, Syracuse University
  • Idris Brewster, Artist and Executive Director of Kinfolk
  • Hamza Walker, Director of LAXART
  • Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Interim Director of the Lender Center for Social Justice at Syracuse University

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Office of Strategic Initiatives with support from Syracuse University Art Museum

To join us, register for the symposium here.


October 6
October 7


Watson Theater, Robert B. Menschel Media Center
316 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244
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