Plan for COP26 sculpture to show ‘society cares about our planet’

Plans have been submitted by the University of Strathclyde for a ‘Beacon of Hope’.

Plan for COP26 sculpture to show ‘society cares about our planet’ LDRS
Beacon of Hope: Plans have been submitted by the University of Strathclyde.

A sculpture could be installed in Glasgow’s Rottenrow Gardens ahead of COP26 as a reminder that society cares “about each other and our planet”.

Plans have been submitted by the University of Strathclyde for a ‘Beacon of Hope’ — a 3.5m sculpture described as a “significant and engaging public art installation”.

Words by poets and writers, including Jackie Kay, Douglas Stuart, Ali Smith and the university’s Jenni Fagan and Rodge Glass, would be inscribed on the sculpture.

Major United Nations conference COP26 arrives in Glasgow from October 31, with world leaders set to meet to discuss the climate emergency.

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The application, submitted to Glasgow City Council, requests temporary permission, and reveals the sculpture would remain in place “until construction commences on the redevelopment of Rottenrow Gardens”.

However, planning documents show two suggested permanent locations in the gardens, which is the site of the former Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital.

Rottenrow Gardens: The sculpture has been described as a 'significant and engaging public art installation'.LDRS
Rottenrow Gardens: The sculpture has been described as a ‘significant and engaging public art installation’.

The university’s application, to Glasgow City Council, states: “A dramatic addition to the university’s landscape, it will remind us of the fragility of both our environment and our mental health and the importance of our natural environment and community in supporting our mental well-being.

“It will serve as a beacon of hope and positivity towards reaching global environmental milestones and a reminder that we, as a society, do care about each other and our planet.”

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Made from reclaimed steel from Glasgow scrapyard JR Adams, the sculpture will be fabricated by Watson Towers and painted by Possilpark Shotblasting.

The plans state All3Media, a media partner for COP26, are supporting the Hope Project, and a short film by Glaswegian BAFTA-winning filmmaker Hannah Currie will be released.

Sir Harry Burns, professor of global public health at the university and former chief medical officer for Scotland, will speak in the film.

The redevelopment of Rottenrow Gardens was approved in December last year, and the ‘Heart of the Campus’ project includes a new covered walkway, a seating and performance space, planting, bike parking and electric vehicle charging points.

Another COP26 sculpture in the Cuningar Loop Woodland Park in Rutherglen was approved by South Lanarkshire Council in July.

The council granted permission for a 23.5m tall sculpture.

That application revealed: “The sculpture is proposed to consist of a 3.5m tall child positioned on top of a 20m tall plinth and is to be known as the Hope Sculpture. 

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“Although it is intended for the sculpture to be put in place in advance of the COP26 summit, the development would be retained as a permanent feature within Cuningar Loop thereafter. 

“The proposed feature is intended to represent a symbol for a greener, brighter future in the face of the environmental challenges associated with climate change that lie ahead.”

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands