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Only one week left for creatives to be part of national Covid memorial

Posted on 13 Feb 2024

The final phase of North Ayrshire’s national Covid memorial project is now underway – and there’s only one week left for local creatives to be a part of it!

North Ayrshire Council and greenspace scotland are seeking to appoint a creative practitioner to produce an artistic installation as part of the final phase of the national Covid memorial project – Remembering Together.

The aim of the project is to sensitively create a piece of public art that will reflect the diversity of experiences of our community during the pandemic.

Eglinton Country Park has been earmarked as the location of the new installation and a design brief has been created in collaboration with local communities following a series of successful community engagement sessions held across North Ayrshire.

The final piece of art is intended to be a space for reflection and sharing of community experiences.

Community co-creation has been at the heart of the two-year design process, led by the creative team at icecream architecture who were commissioned back in 2021 to lead phase one.

Initially, residents were encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and memories of the pandemic via an online community mapping tool called Map of Memories.

Following on from this, public engagement and design development over the past year has involved icecream architecture delivering a series of workshops in Stevenston, Irvine and Lochshore Park in Kilbirnie alongside several guided walks across North Ayrshire. During these (phase two) sessions local people had the opportunity to share their ideas and develop protypes.

The most popular design and thematic aspects from the public consultation were then identified and developed into the design brief for today’s final stage in the process.

North Ayrshire Council and greenspace Scotland are inviting artists and creative practitioners to read the design brief, gather their thoughts on how they would choose to interpret the brief into an actual piece of art, and submit their proposals for consideration. The deadline is midday on Friday, February 23.

The design brief, contact details and how to submit a proposal can be found on the virtual design brief here.

It is hoped that the shortlisted design will include several – if not all – of the overarching themes identified by the public as:

  • Human connection and interaction
  • Meditation and relaxation
  • Things we missed most
  • Natural scenery and experiencing the outdoors

The project is funded by the Scottish Government in partnership with greenspace scotland and of the groups that engaged in the consultation, local people specifically shared that they were not keen to relive or examine the realities of the pandemic too closely.

Instead, the purpose of the art memorial for North Ayrshire would be to help people to move on from the pandemic while incorporating opportunities to remember and heal.

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Communities and Islands is looking forward to learning about what direction the memorial will take in North Ayrshire. He shares: “I am delighted that we are now in the final stage of the creative process for our contribution to this important memorial project.

“Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and memories so far. I would also like to share a special thanks to icecream architecture who have done a superb job engaging with our communities and helping us to troubleshoot how everyone’s unique community ambitions can be taken into consideration.

“With over 200 stories of pandemic experiences, thoughts and feelings received from our residents and the recent thought-provoking protypes sessions now complete, it’s over to the artistic and creative talent that we have on our doorstep to take the Remembering Together project to its conclusion.”

The art piece created is intended to provide an artistic approach to public infrastructure, where people can sit together, reflect, spend time together and play. Most importantly, it will be a memorial to represent all the people of North Ayrshire.

Councillor Hill adds: “So, if you are a local creative practitioner looking to leave your mark here in North Ayrshire for generations to come, why not get involved?

“Submit your design bid before the deadline at the end of next week and you could very well be selected to deliver this culturally significant project.

“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Best of luck to everyone submitting their proposals.”

*Delivered across Scotland’s local authorities to acknowledge moments of reflection during the pandemic, Remembering Together is supported by funding from the Scottish Government and was announced by former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in March 2021.

The project in North Ayrshire is one strand of a larger project working with artists in all 32 Scottish local authority areas to co-create collective acts of reflection, remembrance, hope and healing with communities across Scotland.

For more information on the national Remembering Together project, visit the website here.