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Schools and Community Groups Help Create Art Installation With Messages Of Peace, Love and Hope

A mass participation community arts project in Derbyshire has been given even greater poignancy with the invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, according to project organisers, Derby Cathedral.

‘Peace Doves’ is a large-scale art installation created by renowned sculptor and artist Peter Walker, which will feature in Derby Cathedral between 23rd April and 12th June.

The art installation will feature 8,000 paper doves suspended on ribbons above the nave, accompanied by a tranquil soundscape from composer David Harper.

In preparation for the installation, workshops are being held across the city and county involving schools, community groups, wellbeing groups and the general public, where participants are invited to decorate the doves with their own messages of peace, love and hope. Schools across the city and county are also making their own Peace Dove displays.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, explained that the messages behind Peace Doves were even more powerful in light of the continued crisis in Ukraine.

He said: “Our original driver for bringing ‘Peace Doves’ to Derby Cathedral was to create a unique piece which reflects the thoughts and feelings of local people from all faiths, ages and backgrounds following such a turbulent time for everyone during the pandemic.

“Now, with war escalating in Ukraine and the value that we all place on peace being uppermost in our minds, the messages behind Peace Doves have even greater poignancy.”

Artist Peter Walker concluded: “Sometimes, art has the ability to transcend just being an object and become the focus of our collective sentiments.

“It allows us not just to see an artwork but to be part of it, to contemplate peace, as we think of those whose lives are so tragically affected by the many ordeals of life, from the situation in Ukraine, and conflicts abroad to the many issues affecting people in this country, as well as those we love and who are close to us.”

Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral is funded by Arts Council England, Westhill Endowment, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), Derby City Council and Foundation Derbyshire.

Over the last few months Derby visual arts organisation Artcore have been leading workshops at various community groups such as the Indian Community Centre, Hindu Temple and Derbyshire LGBT+ Centre and various other events.

They have been engaging members from diverse communities who have decorated the doves with their own messages using language, symbols and cultural traditions to explore the ideas of love, peace and personal reflection.

‘Peace Doves’ will be unveiled to the public for the first time on Saturday 23rd April. Entry to the Cathedral will be free of charge and donations are requested which will go towards the care and work of Derby Cathedral helping to keep its doors open for all.

Oakwood Junior School in Alvaston is one of the schools involved in the Peace Doves’ community participation programme.

Year three pupils have been decorating and writing their own personal messages on Peace Doves which will be exhibited at the school.

Teacher Miss Tiegan Carter explained: “We have been talking about all sorts of aspects of peace to gain the inspiration for the phrases and motivational messages that the children have written on their Peace Doves.

“Lessons have incorporated English – looking at synonyms of the word peace; RE and how doves have been used in religious and other celebrations; as well as PHSE such as how we achieve inner peace.

“It has also been an opportunity to look at wider issues such as world peace, the role of the United Nations and key individuals who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The children have really enjoyed the project and are excited to see the Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral.”

Eight-year-old Luke said: “I have enjoyed doing the Peace Doves as it has made me think more about what makes me feel happy and contented and how important it is for everyone to get along at school.”

Rebecca (8) continued: “It is important that we are all kind and care for each other and that will give us all peace.”

Headteacher Mrs CT Atwal concluded: “The Peace Doves project fits perfectly into our school values of positivity, aspiration, resilience, kindness, respect and safety.

“We are delighted to have been involved in this project which has helped us all focus on just how much we value peace in our own communities and our wishes for the same for everyone around the world.”

For more information about Peace Doves at Derby Cathedral please visit

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