Speaking for a Long Time
212 pages, 6 x 9
17 b&w images, 3 maps
Release Date:01 Jan 2011
CA$32.95 Back Order
Ships in 2-5 weeks.
Release Date:12 May 2010
Release Date:01 Jan 2011

Speaking for a Long Time

Public Space and Social Memory in Vancouver

UBC Press

In the late 1990s, three monuments – Crab Park Boulder, Marker of Change, and Standing with Courage, Strength and Pride – were built in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Located within a few city blocks of one another, the monuments were grassroots initiatives that challenged the norms of civic art by claiming a place in public space for society’s more vulnerable groups, and each figured in debates about many kinds of violence.

Speaking for a Long Time offers unique insights into the creation of memorials and the multiple, often contested meanings that can be attached to them in local communities. Part 1, “Act,” explores the monuments’ origin stories and highlights the distinctive perspectives of their founders. Part 2, “Frame,” places these narratives in the context of modern debates and theories on public space and social memory. Part 3, “Forge,” returns to the Downtown Eastside to show how the resilience and agency of grassroots activists can give the socially marginalized a visible presence in our urban landscapes.

This vivid account of the creation of memory-scapes in a marginalized community asks us to reconsider what constitutes public art that will “speak for a long time.”

This book will appeal not only to students and scholars of sociology, geography, anthropology, and BC history but also to artists, activists, and community planners.

The tragedy at École Polytechnique that took the lives of our daughter Anne-Marie Edward and her engineering school companions, and the ongoing tragedy of the murder of Aboriginal women, have changed our collective social consciousness about violence against women. Adrienne Burk’s beautiful and sensitive account of three commemoration sites in Vancouver dedicated to women murdered by men is a case in point, written with extraordinary insight. Speaking for a Long Time will indeed speak for a long time. Suzanne Laplante-Edward
What is the meaning of public monuments? In seeking answers to this innocuous-seeming question, Adrienne Burk has produced a fascinating study of urban space, social memory and community history. Burk is not an academic who remains in the ivory tower; the value of her book is that she is down on the sidewalk: observing, talking, recording, reflecting. Daniel Francis, Vancouver historian, author, and editor of Encyclopedia of British Columbia
Sexual warfare, unlike class warfare or monuments to world wars, rarely has a public monument. Speaking for a Long Time elaborates on how social monuments can amplify the voices of murdered women everywhere so that society can no longer stand the overwhelming sounds of grief and rage and is forced to change. This book is a powerful clarification of the crucial role of social art for women in public spaces. Ellen Woodsworth, Vancouver City Councillor and cofounder of Breaking the Silence of Violence Against Women in the Downtown Eastside
Adrienne L. Burk is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University.


Part 1: Act

Marker of Change/ À l’aube du changement

CRAB Park Boulder

Standing with Courage, Strength and Pride

Part 2: Frame

Public Space, Social Order and Visibility

Memory: Blending the Personal and the Social

Monuments: Permanence and Memory

A Geographic Sensibility

Part 3: Forge

Continuousness of the Issue

Acknowledging the Unseen

Consolidating Claims of Community

Design Features

Street Smarts

Proposition: A Politics of Visibility



Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.