The University of Lincoln has been joined by local, national and international partners in launching a virtual platform for young people to explore and debate the Magna Carta through art.
Funded by the Arts Council England Award, the 1215.today initiative was introduced with a bang at Lincoln Castle on June 14, the eve of the 800th anniversary of the ‘Great Charter’.
Digital and live art performances were splashed across the Victorian prison at the castle, bringing to life the scheme and calling to arms young project champions.
‘King John’ met around 200 young people in order to officially launch the project during the Great Magna Carta Weekend.
It will culminate in November 2017 on the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest with a final creative commission.
The two-year flagship project been produced in collaboration with regional arts organisations, businesses, schools and the city and county councils.
The online platform will, through art, allow young people between the ages of 14 and 24 to discover, experience and debate humanitarian ideals across borders, religion and race.
Cultureshock Media have created the site, which 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 are being encouraged to add their own artistic input by connecting with artistic networks around the world or uploading their own content.
There are 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.
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and Chair of the Lincoln Cultural & 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.
“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 city of Lincoln possesses one of only four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta and is unique in also holding one of only two originals of the related 1217 Charter of the Forest.
A Great Magna Carta Weekend of celebrations has been the focus of the city, up to the official 800th anniversary of the document on June 15.