On 15 May the Opposing War Memorial design will be unveiled at a launch event following the fourth annual International Conscientious Objectors Day Vigil in Edinburgh.
Following the offer of a site in Princes St Gardens, a World Heritage site that is visited by millions of people, a consortium of civil society groups and peace campaigns held a competition and invited four artists to submit designs for a memorial to conscientious objectors and all who oppose war. The artists engaged with descendants of COs, academics and adult learners who have been investigating conscientious objectors of the First World War. Edinburgh based artist Kate Ive’s design has been selected and a maquette will be unveiled at the launch event.
Kate Ive’s winning design will pay tribute to First World War COs whose resistance laid the groundwork for a wider peace movement that continues to this day and will continue into the future. Organisers hope the finished sculpture will be installed by April next year, the centenary of the end of the First World War for COs who were imprisoned until April 1918.
Committee member Brian Larkin, Coordinator of the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, said: “With the centenary of the First World War many of us involved in promoting peace in Scotland felt that those who refused to fight and who opposed that unfortunate war should be remembered. But we also wanted to address the glaring imbalance in public space where there is a preponderance of memorials to wars, wars which were not glorious, but actually horrific. Edinburgh has 37 war memorials. Eight of them are concentrated in Princes St Gardens. It’s a perfect setting for a memorial that questions the prevailing view that war is necessary and even good, a view that, arguably leads us to resort, at times unnecessarily, to war. We hope this memorial will start conversations about the possibility of peacebuilding and conflict transformation.”
Kate Ive’s engaging, inclusive and interesting design will commemorate the resistance of conscientious objectors and all who oppose wars, past, present and future. This unique “Opposing War Memorial” will create a space for reflection on the role of individual conscience and be a counterpoint whose time has come to the many war memorials across Scotland and the UK.
At the event Historian Lesley Orr will talk about opposition to the First World War in Scotland, and Kate Ive will talk about her process in creating the design, and explain how people can be involved in creating a beautiful, intriguing and enduring monument to war resisters in Scotland’s capital city. The event will launch a campaign to raise funds for the next phase of the project – including completion of technical drawings. These will be submitted for approval by City committees, before the sculpture can be installed.
The launch will follow the Conscientious Objectors Day public vigil from 5- 6pm by the National Gallery where there will be speakers including descendants of WW1 conscientious objectors, singing by the local Protest in Harmony choir, silence, reading of names of COs and collecting of signatures on post cards calling for over 300 South Korean COs who are currently in prison to be allowed to do alternative service.
People planning to attend the Opposing War Memorial Design Launch are encouraged to register though this is not required. Donations to the Memorial will be requested. For details of how to donate to the project visit: http://peaceandjustice.org.uk/peace-organisations/conscientious-memorial-project/
Register at: https://opposing-war-design-launch.eventbrite.com
These events are part of a week of events on conscientious objection organised by Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, Workers Education Association Scotland, Great War Dundee and Abertay Historical Society.
Opposing War Memorial Partners
DRB Womens History Group
Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
Edinburgh Stop the War
Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh
Pax Christi UK
Religious Society of Friends Scotland
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
St Thomas Aquins Secondary School
Tynecastle Secondary School
University of Edinburgh: School of Art
University of Edinburgh: School of Social and Political Science
Workers Education Association Scotland
The Opposing War Memorial Project is supported by:
War Resisters International, Peace Pledge Union, Peace News, Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard and Alison Johnstone MSP, First World War historian Trevor Royle, and Cyril Pearce, creator of the Pearce Database of First World War conscientious objectors.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 0131-629-1058.