Bird on the toppling of Cook statue

History tourism expert Prof. Geoff Bird

History tourism expert Prof. Geoff Bird joined the Capital Daily Podcast to discuss the removal of the statue of Capt. James Cook in Victoria’s Inner Harbour by activists. Bird discusses various ways to unpack the complicated history behind monuments in ways that serve education.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The removal of statues and monuments over history is not new. This is something that has occurred since Greek times.

“In Dublin… right up until the 60s, you saw that. Anything like a statue of Queen Victoria was removed, either by force or planned removal.

“There is a view that (removal) creates a cultural amnesia, that we forget those things that we remove… and we remove an important opportunity to educate people, if the monument remained. But sometimes they are so difficult, they generate so much pain, that they need to be taken down and placed where they can be put in context and used as a teachable form

“I think there is always a politics of remembrance we are dealing with… we can’t ignore it, but if we remove it forever we may also remove the opportunity to unpack the complexities of our history.”

Listen to the entire interview, including Bird’s discussion of the difference between history and heritage, on the Capital Daily Podcast.