Centre News

We’ve Moved

 After 3 years in our present location the P&J is on the move – to City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX.

When our current landlords informed us of a steep rise in rent we quickly found a new home thanks to our connections across the networks in Edinburgh. We’ll carry on organising all our programmes: Peacebuilders for Schools, the Opposing War Memorial, the Cranes project, and our programme of events.

The new Centre is fully accessible. We’ll still be able to provide space for small community based groups’ meetings of up to ten people and desk space at low cost. Our new location is just a few steps from the University of Edinburgh campus and so more accessible for students to get involved as interns or volunteers. And we still house a small library of books on nonviolence, peacebuilding, human rights, conflict resolution and disarmament. Open Wednesdays 2 – 5pm and Fridays 10am – 1pm. Other times by appointment.

140,000 Origami Peace Cranes: Storage Needed.

With receipt of another shipment of several boxes packed with cranes from Japan we probably have over 125,000 cranes now. (We still have to count this latest lot to be sure!). We urgently need a dry place to store about 12 big boxes of paper cranes from now until we organise an exhibition, probably in August 2020. Can you help?

Workshops continue at the P&J on the second Saturday of each month. We still need to make several thousand more cranes so please get in touch if you can help with organising a workshop in your area or making cranes at home.

Don’t Bank on the Bomb

The P&J is active in the Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland Network. We launched a guide to nuclear weapons divestment last year. As a result of our discussions with RBS Group, we learned that the bank is undertaking a review of its defence sector investment policy. Information about the bank’s investments in nuclear weapons and its current policy is at: https://nukedivestmentscotland.org/royal-bank-of-scotland-group/

RBS has acknowledged the TPNW but won’t change its policy to exclude all nuclear weapons producers unless the UK ratifies the treaty. However, the bank is concerned about reputational risk. Customer concerns are passed to the review team. Please write to the bank to request that it change its policy. You can use the template letter as a guide but it’s better if you can compose your own: https://nukedivestmentscotland.org/template-letters-2/

Opposing War Memorial  

Our crowdfunder raised over £18,000 bringing funds raised so far to over £37,000. This will enable us to commission technical drawings, an engineer’s certification of the design and exploration of the site in Princes St Gardens. Then we’ll be able to obtain planning permission.

Artist Kate Ive will run Embroidery Workshops in the coming months, enabling interested people to participate in the project. Workshop dates are to be confirmed. To receive information about workshops email admin@peaceandjustice.org.uk or phone 07584492257.

To commission fabrication and installation of the Memorial we need to raise £130,000 more. Our grant applications will be strengthened by the public support that has been demonstrated by donations received so far. If you have not already done so please consider donating to the Memorial:

By Bank Transfer: Bank of Scotland Account: Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre. Account No.: 00207018 / Sort Code: 80-11-30 Reference: Opposing War Memorial

By cheque made out to Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre. Post to Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, Central Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX with a note that the donation is for the Opposing War Memorial. 

To Donate by bank card or credit card visit www.opposingwar.scot/donate/

P&J Coordinator Brian Larkin with Ken MacIntre and his dad, son and grandson of Henry Clark Macintyre

Legacies of Resistance to the First World War

As a project partner P&J staff delivered workshops to the HLF funded Legacies of Resistance to the First World War project. We edited learners’ materials, helped set up and participated in the final exhibition. We’re currently working with WEA Scotland on a booklet that will celebrate the lives of about 30 First World War Conscientious Objectors from Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The exhibition included presentations by all of the learners. Amongst the treasures displayed was the autograph book of CO Henry McIntyre which contains drawings poems and the thoughts of dozens of imprisoned COs. Henry’s son and grandson were on hand.

A few of the learners performed two short original plays and a selection of women’s peace songs from the era. Amongst the COs presented were a bootmaker, a coal miner, a University lecturer and a novelist. Uncovered letters, drawings of their prison cells and Tribunal applications illustrated the stories of these diverse men who were united in refusing to take part in war. The exhibition featured tribunal statements, accounts of their loves, prison experiences, even death.

One of the aims of the project was to show the contribution COs made to society. Edinburgh Quaker Andrew Farrar found two notable examples in the stories he’d uncovered of Edinburgh Quakers Jack Hamilton and Donald Grey both of whom volunteered with the Friends Ambulance Unit, risking their lives in Belgium. Grey went on to become Head Master of Bootham School and Hamilton was Resident Engineer on the construction of the Forth Road Bridge which was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1964.

Peacebuilding for Schools Programme

In addition to funding awards from Anglican Peace Fellowship and Pumphouse Trust our Peacebuilders programme has received support from Fellowship of Reconciliation and notice of awards from Network for Social Change Charitable Trust and Big Lottery Fund Awards for All.

Project Development Coordinator Emma Quayle and Louise Smith Project Coordinator have been working to improve Facilitator training and targeting and tracking of outcomes. Facilitators meet up at regular Play and Connect sessions to share experience and learn from each other.

AL Kennedy does the Reply from the Lassies at P&J Burns Supper

We worked in just two schools over the past two terms, focusing on building relationships with schools like Hermitage Park Primary, which is in an area of deprivation.  Intensive long-term work with schools and a whole school approach is a key part of our strategy, especially where the project has the support of the Head Teacher. The team are learning Restorative practices by establishing an internal Conflict system. Lessons learned will be translated into our work in schools, following the principle of teaching out of personal experience. Thanks to improved systems and Facilitator training we will be able to work in four schools in the coming term.

Burns Supper: Great Speakers Raised £1,400 in support of Peace & Justice

At our Peace & Justice Burns Supper Gerda Stevenson gave the Toast to the Lassies with poems from her book Quines that celebrate Scots women including peace campaigner Chrystal Macmillan. AL Kennedy gave a slightly edgy Response from the Lassies and feminist historian Lesley Orr gave the Immortal Memory. Stan Reeves piped in addressed the haggis. Thanks to them and the volunteers, Robin Naumann and Bespoke Organic Events for organizing and catering. It was all in aid of our work to promote nonviolence, peacebuilding and alternatives to war.

To support our work visit:  peaceandjustice.org.uk/become-a-member/

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Centre News

Opposing War Memorial News

Key City of Edinburgh Committee Approves the Memorial

Our proposal for a Memorial to Conscientious Objectors and all who oppose war has been enthusiastically approved by the Transport and Environment Committee of the City of Edinburgh. Peace & Justice Centre Coordinator Brian Larkin outlined why there should be a Memorial to COs in Princes St Gardens. Artist Kate Ive described the design and the concept behind it. St Andrews University Lecturer Dr. Chris Ogden, a local supporter, emphasized that the Memorial would represent values of tolerance, diversity and the important role of conscience.

Councillors unanimously supported the proposals. Green Cllr Chas Booth said: “I think it’s fantastic. It’s clearly beautiful and it encourages thought, it encourages respect for those who showed the bravery to stand up in the past to war.” Conservative Cllr Nick Cook praised “the consideration and the thought that has gone into this”. Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes who formerly worked for a landmine and cluster munition NGO said: “I was tasked with dealing with those weapons and the impact of those weapons both during conflict and post-conflict. I’ve witnessed and understood very clearly the impact of war on human lives. I think it’s very important that the voices that represent opposition to that can be heard in Scotland’s capital city.”

A full transcript of our deputation is available at www.opposingwar.scot. Our testimony can be viewed starting at 40 minutes into the webcast of the Committee meeting at https://edinburgh.public-i.tv/ .

A further meeting with officials has confirmed our choice of location for the Memorial between the Ross Bandstand and the Ross Fountain in West Princes St Gardens, subject only to archeological investigation of the ground.

Motion in Scottish Parliament:

MSPs from all parties Support the Memorial

A motion by Alison Johnstone MSP supporting our proposal for an Opposing War Memorial was debated by Scottish Parliament in early December. There was support from all parties and from Scottish government. Several MSPs made very moving contributions recalling past COs who were ostracized, treated harshly and even died in prison, noting Conscientious Objection as a human right, and calling attention to contemporary COs around the world. Many MSPs congratulated the Peace & Justice Centre for our work on this. The debate was Live Streamed on BBC Scotland’s Holyrood Live. Watch the full debate on www.scottishparliament.tv/

This Evil Thing Fundraiser performance raised £1,000 for the Memorial.

We are very grateful to Michael Mears for the donation of a performance of his one-man play about First World War Conscientious Objectors. In one scene the audience was involved in re-enacting a meeting of the No Conscription Fellowship where the audience waved handkerchiefs instead of applauding speakers in order not to aggravate a hostile mob outside. That episode inspired Kate Ive to design a bronze handkerchief peace tree for the Memorial a fantastic moment of synergy between these two projects.

£18,000 Raised in October / November Crowdfunder. Donations still welcome.

Thanks to all who have donated & helped raise £18,000 for Opposing War Memorial doubling donations received so far to £36,000. Now we can get technical drawings, engineer certification & planning permission and deliver workshops so people can be involved in the project.

We’re over halfway to goal of £59,000 in private donations. The support shown by City Council, Scottish Parliament and so many donors will help us raise the balance of the full budget of £168,000 from grants.

We’re continuing to raise funds for casting the bronze Peace Tree sculpture. Anyone who wants to support the Memorial can still donate at: www/opposingwar.scot/donate/

Legacies of Resistance

As a project partner P&J staff delivered workshops to the WEA

Scotland HLF funded Legacies of Resistance to the First World 

War project. We are preparing materials for a final exhibition and an associated website. Exhibition Launch event. Friday 25 January. 1:30 – 3:30pm. St Mungo Museum, 2 Castle St, Glasgow G4 0RH. The exhibition will come to Edinburgh at a later date in connection with the CO Memorial launch.

Peacebuilding for Schools Programme

We completed an Evaluation of the programme which concluded we are meeting targeted outcomes in line with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and identified areas of improvement. The Evaluation is available on our website. On the back of this we have received grants from Pumphouse Trust, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and Fellowship of Reconciliation in support of our Peacebuilders Schools Programme enabling us to continue working in schools and further develop the programme. WE engaged Emma Quayle as Project Development Worker and Louise Smith as Project Coordinator.

Twelve people attended Facilitator Trainings in October. Our Facilitators and new trainees have worked in two schools this term – Hermitage Park and Bonaly Primary. We have been invited back to Hermitage Park and hope to continue this pattern of working intensively in certain schools where Head Teachers are fully supportive of the approach we are bringing in order to develop a culture of peace. Emma has attended workshops and visited a number of peer programmes. She facilitated creation of Purpose and Values statements, revised our Facilitators Manual. She and Louise are working with Facilitators to shore up programme systems and reporting that will substantially improve our ability to target and evaluate achievement of outcomes. In the coming year we plan to develop and incorporate a Restorative Practice component and introduce a Whole School approach to conflict resolution.

White Poppies Our volunteers distributed about 700 white poppies to six City Centre venues including Central Library.

Origami Cranes Workshops & Storage Needed. Can you help?

We now have 100,000 origami cranes. Can you offer a place to store a big box of cranes until August 2020 when we plan to mount an exhibition?

Come along to a workshop at the Centre , second Saturday of each month. If you can’t make that can you make cranes at home or organize a workshop?

Email origamicranes@peaceandjustice.org.uk for more info or to offer a home for these birds!

Don’t Bank on the Bomb

The P&J continues to take part in the network, campaigning for divestment from nukes. The network met with Gil Paterson MSP a Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme Trustee to discuss ways we can work to promote divestment. An article by Linda Pearson, author of the Stop Funding the End of the World report appeared in Common Space. The report is available from our website.

Intern Hsiao Wei from Taiwan joined us in November – December. Barbara Stankova, a graduate of St Andrews University is joining us in January.

Volunteer Opportunities, Student Work Placements and Internships:

Volunteers needed: Photographer – Videographer –  Graphic Artists –

Fundraising – Stalls – Posting Flyers. 

Internships and work placement opportunities:

Conscientious Objectors: Memorial Researcher & Project Assistant

Event’s Organisers; Bloggers, Writers, Formatters, for P&J News.

Social Media Person – Fundraising Researcher – Policy Researcher and Writer

Project Co-Coordinators: Origami Cranes & Countering Militarisation of Youth

Other Projects: We open to ideas and can support projects in the area of sustainability, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, nonviolence, anti-militarism, human rights and refugee issues. If you have an idea get in touch.

Premises: Low Cost Hot Desk & Full time Desk Rentals & Meeting Space low cost. Contact admin@peaceandjustice.org.uk for more info or to book.

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