What is Remembering Together?

Remembering Together is a national memorial project, commissioning artists in all 32 local authority areas in Scotland to co-create with communities, honouring the people we have lost and finding the ways in which we want to remember them. It is also about remembering all the ways Covid is still affecting us. Offering a place to connect, to reflect and to create, Remembering Together is about creating together, being part of a process to commemorate those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced loss and change as well as celebrating the ways in which Scottish communities have come together during the most difficult times. 

An artist for East Dunbartonshire

Elena Mary Harris - image credit East Dunbartonshire CouncilIn East Dunbartonshire, greenspace scotland, with local partners East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture and East Dunbartonshire Council, appointed participatory artist and facilitator Elena Mary Harris in April 2022 to carry out the first phase of the project. This five-month phase of co-creation with communities will inform the creation of a Community Covid Memorial for East Dunbartonshire which will be delivered in 2023. 

Elena was the first artist to be commissioned for Remembering Together and has been co-creating with communities during the summer in a fascinating and diverse array of settings. During the first couple of months of her time in East Dunbartonshire, Elena focused on attending existing community fun days and events. The aim of this was to connect with as wide an audience as possible and make further connections for focused workshops. This was a highly successful plan, particularly for example in smaller communities like Twechar.

Engaging communities

Elena and partners at East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture then organised a series of group workshops and conversations. The main form of engagement in group workshops was through writing and printmaking. Elena has been able to use these techniques to connect with a range of people with who might feel they have barriers to accessing this type of project. Other group sessions have been conversation based, collecting people’s ideas and recording them through notes and audio. It has been a great way to gather wider ideas and opinions with people who may not otherwise engage in more structured and practical sessions.  

What has been very clear from Elena’s work (and is also emerging in so many other areas in the programme) is that people respond openly and honestly to the question not only of what a memorial could be, but also what it need not be.

Co-creating a local memorial

In East Dunbartonshire there have been many conversations about the form and location of a local memorial. While some feel a physical memorial might not be necessary in order to tell stories and document experiences, there are others who feel that a physical marker would be important for those who want a space to pause and reflect.  Many have been speaking of creating a collection of audio and music as a form of bank that people can access.

One thing that has been agreed is that a memorial in East Dunbartonshire cannot be built on one site, as the area is made up of communities with very different identities. A common suggestion is that a trail of smaller memorials that have their own identity but are linked could be one way to have a Covid memorial that represents a wide range of experiences.

Whatever form the memorial project takes, people want to remember and honour the lives lost as well as the small moments of joy, the people that stepped up in their community and the ways people connected and came together.

Next stages...

Elena’s five-month period of working with East Dunbartonshire communities has drawn to a close, and the results of all the workshops, conversations and time spent at gala days and events will now form the basis of the next stage, creating the memorial itself. Elena will be working with a group of local young people to turn the findings into a short film which will be screened at a community event in early November so that the people that contributed to the community sessions so far can have a final say on the form and location of the memorial.

Remembering Together is managed by greenspace scotland with funding from Scottish Government.

visit Remembering Together