Have your say on which unsung hero should be memorialised in Gallery of Living History Schools Competition

A crowd of people looking at the Tree of Peace statue

The unveiling of the Tree of Hands statue in 2022

University news

Wednesday 01 May 2024

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People can now have their say on this year’s Gallery of Living History Schools’ competition, following the launch of the public vote today.

The competition sees schools compete to design a new visual soundscape in augmented reality, which will be accessible through the plinth of the Tree of Hands statue, in the heart of Coventry.

The Gallery of Living History is a non-profit initiative of award-winning actor and film director Andy Serkis, Margaret-Casely-Hayford, CBE, Chancellor of Coventry University, film producer Jonathan Cavendish and artistic director Jude Tyrrell.

This year schools have been tasked with designing a piece telling the story of an unsung hero or heroine and have been taking part in workshops at Coventry University.

Entries seek to celebrate individuals from our past who may have been overlooked, ignored or not fairly represented.

Judges will be looking for strong arguments as to why these individuals should be memorialised and that the entries create impactful statements to reinforce their choice of hero.

The purpose of the workshops has been to demonstrate the possibilities of using augmented reality and help pupils incorporate this technology into their soundscape designs.

The result will be a working interactive sound installation with accompanying visuals.

Students from Coventry University have played a key role in these workshops, helping to pass on their knowledge to youngsters.

Three shortlisted entries, one from Blue Coat School and two from teams at The Polesworth School, can now be viewed here.

Voting will close on 5 May 2024.

The result of the public vote will be taken into account by an expert panel of competition judges, which includes an Oscar nominated filmmaker, when the winner is decided later this month.

The Gallery of Living History Schools Competition is a great chance for our students and academics to share their expertise with local school children and encourage them to think deeply about their chosen hero and why they should be memorialised. This competition is a fantastic way for young people to collaborate in a creative way.

Dr Bianca Wright, who is coordinating Coventry University’s involvement in the competition

We’re thrilled once again, to play a key part in the Gallery of Living History Schools Competition, helping local school children celebrate those whose achievements or actions may have been previously ignored. It is important that we celebrate and commemorate contributions made by others in society and not just members of royalty, nobility, politicians and generals.

I’m looking forward to seeing which of the designs the public decides to select, the standard of all this year’s entries is very high.

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, Chancellor of Coventry University

This year’s judges are: Former engineer and captain of industry, Dr Roger Medwell MBE, multi-award winning entrepreneur, patron and international speaker Nathaniel L. Peat, best-selling author Shelina Janmohamed, photographer, entrepreneur, social activist and director of the Oscar-nominated short film The After, Misan Harriman, Chief Executive of the science and greentech campus CEME, Noorzaman Rashid, mathematician Esme Weil and Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor of Practice in Cultural Justice at the University College London (UCL) Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Reverend Professor Keith Magee.