The Council and East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust have now appointed an artist who will co-create the area’s COVID-19 memorial project with local residents and community groups.
East Dunbartonshire is the first local authority in Scotland to appoint an artist for Remembering Together, the national programme of remembrance, funded by the Scottish Government and managed by greenspace scotland.
Remembering Together – which will result in memorial projects in each local authority across Scotland – aims to bring together communities and artists in reflection, hope and healing.
Elena Mary Harris, a participatory artist and facilitator, has delivered projects across Central Scotland. Working in arts, education, health and social care settings, Elena will be reaching out to communities across East Dunbartonshire as part of the first phase of the project –working with individuals and groups to come up with ideas on what the area’s memorial will be.
In her work she aims to create spaces where people, many of whom often go unheard, will be listened to and encouraged to speak. Her recent projects include partnerships with Edinburgh Young Carers, The British Museum, Erskine Care Homes, AIMS Advocacy, Includem and the National Library of Scotland.
Elena said, “I was excited to become the Phase 1 Remembering Together artist for East Dunbartonshire from the moment I read the brief. I was struck with Greenspace, the Council, and the Leisure and Culture Trust’s use of language around co-creation, the explicit focus on creative advocacy and how this fits so closely alongside the ethics of my own practice.
“I can’t wait to get in and around the East Dunbartonshire community, using a variety of different creative mediums (including print, video and spoken word) to find out what people in the area would really want for a Covid memorial in their area. So if anyone living or working in East Dunbartonshire has any ideas or want to get involved, I really look forward to reflecting and creating alongside you all!”
Jim Neill, Chair of EDLC Trust said: “It is fantastic news that someone of Elena’s experience and calibre is now on board to work with our local communities. Together, they will begin the process of creating our area’s memorial to all those who lost their lives or experienced change as a result of the pandemic.
“The people of East Dunbartonshire have demonstrated wonderful community spirit and kindness over the last two years, and I fully expect many residents to get involved in creating our tribute with Elena.”
Phase one of Remembering Together will result in the co-creation of an idea or concept, which could be a piece of art such as a physical structure, garden, artwork, play, music or virtual exhibition. The memorial itself will be created in phase two, beginning later in the year.