Blue Plaques Independent Review – Share your Thoughts!
Please spare 10-15 minutes to help make the city’s blue plaques scheme one that truly represents our city.
Leeds Civic Trust is responsible for the city’s largest blue plaques scheme. Since 1989 the Trust has erected 180 plaques across Leeds commemorating significant historical figures, buildings and events in locations which are associated with them. Most blue plaques are nominated by members of the public. The Trust installs around 6 plaques each year.
After over 30 years of the scheme, it is time to pause to reflect on the plaques and to consider if they truly represent our city, its history and its people. With this in mind, we have commissioned an independent review of our blue plaques scheme.
Why a review?
In 2019, recognising that how we understand and interpret some historical plaque recipients may have changed since they were installed 30 years ago, we invited the people of Leeds to our ‘Plaques in the Dock’ event to share their thoughts on our plaques. It was clear at this event that our plaques did not represent a racially diverse Leeds.
Our 2019 ‘Vison’ strategy, made clear that we want a scheme that reflects the city and its diverse population. Representation is important to the Trust, it is what Leeds deserves, and we are committed to ensuring that the scheme better recognises those who have been traditionally under-represented in history, particularly members of the Black community.
The 2020 global response to racial injustice, the 2020 murder of George Floyd in the U.S. and subsequent international Black Lives Matter protests illuminated the significance and symbolism of public statues, monuments, and plaques. As a Trust we recognise that some of the city’s current plaques may not reflect the values of today, and that plaques which may have an association with Britain’s colonial past are offensive and painful to many.
In response to these circumstances we have commissioned an independent review of our plaques with a specific focus on any which may have links to the trans Atlantic slave trade and which celebrate Britain’s colonial past.
We are pleased to announce that PR and cultural heritage consultant Susan Pitter is Chairing the Review Group and is joined by (in alphabetical order); Dawn Cameron, Jasjit Singh, Jason Allen-Paissant, Joe Williams, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Laura King, and Olivia Wyatt who have come together to deliver this crucial and timely review. Further information here
The independent review will reflect on and recommend a course of action for these.
Crucially, the review will also consider the plaque awarding process – from public nomination to installation. The Trust recognises that the current criteria may inadvertently create a barrier to sharing plaque nominations, and we want the people of Leeds to have true ownership of the scheme and for the process to be as transparent as possible.
The Trust will play a neutral and cooperative role throughout.
It is anticipated that a report will be published in early 2021. The Trust is keen that time for thorough research, reflection and
We are keen for members of the public to share their thoughts about our plaques scheme. One of the first actions of the Review Group has been to commission a survey so that the public can be a part of this review. We would be grateful if you could spare approximately 10-15 minutes sharing your thoughts via this completely confidential survey. Your ideas and suggestions are incredibly valuable to us and will help us shape a blue plaques scheme which is truly representative of our city.
If you would like the survey in another format, please get in touch with the Trust on 07942 670333 or by emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org