UK Happenings

Historic Preservation Symposium to Address Conflict, Violence and Preservation

photo of artwork for 2017 Historic Preservation Symposium
The 2017 Historic Preservation Symposium will explore how designers, planners, preservationists and others shape the landscape when approaching sites strongly associated with violence, discrimination or tragedy.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2017) When designers, planners, preservationists and others shape the landscape, they determine which pieces of the past will be allowed to tell their stories, and which will not. Sites strongly associated with violence, discrimination or tragedy represent a unique subset of historic sites; they tell stories that everyone in the present may not always want to hear.

Recognizing the need for honest interpretation and intentional dialogue about these sites, the Department of Historic Preservation in the College of Design at the University of Kentucky will address the subject in this year’s annual Historic Preservation Symposium — “Conflict, Violence and Preservation: Interpreting difficult history” — to be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 31, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

“The event will explore the modern place of artifacts of the past that reflect a legacy of racial, religious, cultural or class-oriented conflict, and will ask whether we can learn the lessons these places offer if they are not present in the landscape,” said Doug Appler, assistant professor of historic preservation in the College of Design.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Bernadette Johnson, superintendent of the Manzanar National Historic Site, one of the 10 U.S. centers where Japanese-American citizens were forced into internment camps during World War II;
  • Anne Thomas, coordinator of the Stolpersteine project that honors Holocaust victims throughout Europe;
  • Sean Kelley, the director of interpretation and public programming at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, which has become a platform for questioning policies of mass incarceration; and
  • Sia Sanneh, senior attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), discussing EJI's plans to build the Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, to honor the victims of lynching in the United States.

The annual Historic Preservation Symposium welcomes the public to engage with these speakers and discuss preservation’s role in continuing the conversation. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Doug Appler at

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