Plans for Covid-19 ‘memorial pathway’ unveiled

Tuesday May 14th 2024


The memorial would be installed along the path by Wardie Bay.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

Plans for an Edinburgh memorial to commemorate all those who lost their lives or experienced “loss and change” during the Covid-19 pandemic have been unveiled.

A ‘memorial pathway’ at Wardie Bay has emerged as the idea being taken forward to mark the impact of the pandemic in the capital.

The £100,000 Scottish Government-funded project would create an art trail linked by sea stones along the shoreline pathway parallel to Lower Granton Road.

Proposed installations include a wheelchair-accessible look-out bench and a bronze sculpture that “evokes something missing and its potential to re-grow”.

City councillors will be asked to approve the design concept at a meeting of the culture and communities committee on Thursday.

The ‘Remembering Together’ programme being delivered by Greenspace Scotland is working with councils to create a Covid memorial in each local authority area to “commemorate those who have lost their lives, and those who have experienced loss and change” while “recognising and celebrating the ways in which Scottish communities have come together during the most difficult times”.

Artists Skye Loneragan and Stewart Ennis have worked with people with disabilities to focus on their experiences during the pandemic and local communities who used the Wardie Bay area during lockdowns to shape the designs.

It’s anticipated that following public engagement on the plans, the memorial pathway will be installed by September.

In a report the artists said Wardie Jetty was identified as a “popular destination for many people during lockdown as a place to walk and reflect” which symbolised “getting away from it all but having somewhere to come back to”.

They said: “Artworks along the path will invite those passing through to pause, to pay attention or experience the present moment. A focus on the present moment emerged in this co-creation through working with adults with learning disabilities.”

Installations currently proposed are two pavement plaques in bronze ‘describing time as a feeling and distance as a measurement of relationship to family and loved ones’, a musical notation plaque with QR code and poetry engraved on smoothed sett stones at the entrance to Wardie jetty.

In addition, plans include a look-out bench with wheelchair grooves and a one metre-high bronze sculpture that with a ‘hollowed-out ‘nook’ on one side suggesting a nook for lost trail objects’.

Linking the different pieces will be a trail of sea stones taken from Wardie Beach, each inscribed with a response to ‘what you might gift yourself if you had to go through the pandemic again’ from those who engaged with the project in its initial phase.

The artists said their “random appearance” along a pathway evokes “a distanced or exploded cairn – and becomes a nod to how often outdoor found objects featured in lockdown coping strategies, such as colourful stones in a row for example, a playful way of linking places and people”.

Accessibility was a “key methodology” during the project’s work with adults with learning disabilities.

“The Something Missing look out bench becomes a created space for wheelchair users to be held whilst resting, through shallow grooves made on the pavement beside a look-out bench,” the report said.

“These grooves are a gifted idea from wheelchair users the artists have worked with as well as family members lost through the devastating combined effects of Covid and disability on mental health. The wheelchair space itself is made visible through the creation of a bench-frame which suggests ‘someone missing’.”

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