By Ian Richards
Young people from around the world will collaborate with leading contemporary artists through a unique digital platform exploring the global significance of Magna Carta through art.
The 1215.today project was launched at Lincoln Castle yesterday on the eve of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the ‘Great Charter’.
Magna Carta is recognised as the foundation of constitutional democracy and the source of many of the civil liberties enjoyed in free countries today, from trial by jury to fair taxation. The city of Lincoln possesses one of only four surviving originals of the 1215 Magna Carta and is unique in also holding one of only two originals of the related 1217 Charter of the Forest.
1215.today is an initiative led by the University of Lincoln in collaboration with regional arts organisations, businesses, schools and the city and county councils. It is supported using public funding from the National Lottery through an Exceptional Award from Arts Council England and a host of national and international partners. It provides a unique digital platform where, through the universal language of art, young people between the ages of 14-24 will discover, experience and participate in debating humanitarian ideals across borders, religion and race.
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and Chair of the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership, said, “Magna Carta is not just a story about medieval barons and kings – it is about a vision to stand against injustice to shape a better, fairer society. That is an ideal that resonates with many people around the world today.
“Art has a profound role to play in enabling us to understand and articulate how we feel about complex issues in constructive and thought-provoking ways. 1215.today is a unique opportunity for young people to connect across borders, working with contemporary artists across many genres to give their own interpretation of Magna Carta’s modern day relevance and produce a body of work which will inspire new generations.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Exceptional Awards are an opportunity for the Arts Council to invest in really outstanding ideas or opportunities of national significance which don’t come along every day. We’re committed to making sure children and young people are able to access and enjoy great art and culture and this new digital platform will be an exciting place for cultural and artistic exchange for young people in Lincoln and beyond. Ambitious in its reach, we are sure this project will inspire creativity and debate linked to the celebrations taking place this year for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.”
The 1215.today platform, created by Cultureshock Media, will draw together a rich variety of newly created artistic content alongside existing materials into a digital House of Culture. Artworks, animation, film, photography, music, spoken word and written content inspired by the themes of Magna Carta will be created and curated by young people, supported by project directors Sukhy Johal and Ann Jones.
Visitors to the site will be encouraged to add their own artistic input by connecting with artistic networks around the world or uploading their own content. There will be forums for debate and discussion, libraries of downloadable materials and integration with social media. This will be supported by live events and six digitally themed artist commissions that will stimulate engagement over the two year life of the project.
1215.today was launched in a special event at Lincoln Castle on Sunday 14th June 2015, with digital and live art performances in Lincoln Castle’s Victorian prison that brought to life the digital platform, with a call to arms to the young project champions. Questions posed related to the meaning and relevance of power, rights, freedom and responsibilities in the digital age. The project will culminate in November 2017 on the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest with a final creative commission celebrating a new Magna Carta created by the global audience of young people.
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— 1215 Today (@1215today) June 15, 2015