Ook in Rotterdam: School’s Out! #30 with Robert Bevan
For the first School’s Out! of 2023, Independent School for the City invited journalist, author and heritage consultant Robert Bevan, to talk about his latest book “Monumental Lies – Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past” on how statues, heritage and cities have become the battleground for the culture wars.
Robert Bevan is an architecture writer and heritage consultant based in London. He is the former editor of Building Design and a writer on national newspapers in the UK and Australia. His latest book Monument Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth about the Past looks at the way that the historic environment is manipulated for political ends. It is not just about statues and includes an account of how the Right, including Holocaust deniers, use architecture to their own ends. His starting point is that architecture and cities can be the material evidence of history and that rather than removing contested sites and lying monuments, they should be transformed at scale from site of honour into sites of shame.
In Monumental Lies, Robert Bevan argues that monuments, architecture and cities are material evidence of history. They are the physical trace of past events, of previous ways of thinking and of politics, economics and values that percolate through to today. When our cities are reshaped as fantasies about the past, when monuments tell lies about who deserves honour or are destroyed and the struggle for justice forgotten, the historical record is being manipulated. When decisions are based on misinformed assumptions about how the built environment influences our behaviour or we are told, falsely, that certain architectural styles are alien to our cities, or when space pretends to be public but is private, or that physical separation is natural, we are being manipulated. There is a growing threat to the material evidence of the truth about history.
18:00 – 19:00 Doors open, drinks, bites and tunes
19:00 – 20:00 Talk by Robert Bevan + Q&A
20:00 – 20:30 Short film, selected by Jord den Hollander
20:30 – 22:00 Drinks, bites and tunes