covid:aid will be a partner on the campaign to create Scotland’s Covid memorial – which has already raised over £60,000 and recently appointed renowned Scottish artist Alec Finlay, with a series of workshops set to take place over the summer.
Scotland's Covid Memorial will honour lost loved ones and recognise the impact of the pandemic, helping us to shape a culture of recuperation. Finlay was appointed in May 2021 to lead the project through the next stage of the campaign to create Scotland’s Covid memorial in the grounds of Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park.
The campaign for a national memorial was initiated by The Herald, with their partners at Greenspace Scotland managing and overseeing the artistic commission. The theme of I Remember is how the artist will reach out to people, gathering together personal accounts, innermost thoughts, and feelings of people trying to come to terms with how the pandemic has affected them. Submissions so far can be found on the project's blog.
Finlay brings a wealth of experience having worked on previous public art projects which also touch on a sensitive nature and having had covid himself he is all too aware of the impact this devastating virus has had on people’s lives. His project team includes Lucy Richards, inclusive designer, and writer Ken Cockburn.
“I felt excited and calm when I was asked to take this on,” said the Edinburgh-based artist whose previous work includes similar commissions, such as the National Organ and Tissue Donor Memorial. “It is a very daunting commission in terms of its historic importance because of the pandemic and I really feel The Herald has found the right site. Pollok Park is the perfect site and there is also a satellite concept which is really exciting - the idea of a memorial that is in lots of places has no equivalent.
“I had quite a difficult life, becoming ill with ME at the age of 21, but it gave me a skills set in empathy, creativity and adaptation and when I saw the opportunity I thought I want to do to that. Having long covid and only being able to walk 150 metres, I know the impact of this, and I want people with long covid to see that someone can still achieve.”
Headquartered in Glasgow, covid:aid is the first UK-wide charity set up to support every person who has been affected by Covid-19 across the country.
Launched in May 2021, this month covid:aid was announced as a lead partner on a National Lottery-funded project to research and provide tools to help charities and organisations support those living with Long Covid. It has also recently appointed members to its Expert Advisory Panel including Dr Nisreen Alwan, who received an MBE for services to Medicine and Public Health during the COVID19 pandemic in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2021.
In the coming weeks covid:aid will support Alec Finlay and the team in reaching out to communities and individuals affected by the pandemic to gather thoughts and feelings, including through a series of workshops. We will also look at further ways to provide assistance as the project develops. The final concept for the memorial – including an artwork in Pollok Country Park, online publication, and installations at satellite venues across Scotland – will be confirmed in the Autumn.
Michael MacLennan, founder and Chief Executive of covid:aid, said: “covid:aid is delighted to partner together on the work taking place to establish Scotland's Covid Memorial, particularly on a project that is inclusive of everyone’s experiences and encourages recuperation.
“The charity was set up to support all those affected, recognising that everybody has been affected in a significant and life-changing way. There is a long-term need to recognise the impact of the pandemic and the resulting collective trauma, and that these experiences – and those of others – will remain with us for the rest of our lives.”