50 Monuments in 50 Voices

Artists, poets, musicians, theologians and academics are reinterpreting St Paul’s Cathedral’s iconic monuments in a 50 monuments 50 voices project launched this Advent.

50 Monuments in 50 Voices at St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s houses over 200 monuments to significant figures throughout the ages and this new project will present a series of audio, visual and musical responses inspired by these monuments in the Cathedral.

The project is curated by Pantheons: Sculpture at St Paul’s Cathedral, c.1796-1916, a ground-breaking, UKRI-funded collaboration between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Department of History of Art at the University of York.

The 50 Monuments in 50 Voices project seeks to complement academic responses with voices from a range of different creative, intellectual, social, cultural, political, and theological backgrounds.

Participants include poet Imtiaz Dharker, artist Victor Ehikhamenor, musician Adrian Utley of Portishead, historian Dr Janina Ramirez, and artists, academics, theologians and performers from across the UK and beyond.

50 Monuments in 50 Voices St Pauls Cathedral

The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison said: “The many monuments and memorials at St Paul’s are a prominent feature of any visit to the Cathedral, and are a part of the Cathedral’s long history as a place of national mourning and reflection.

“Wanting those we love or honour to be remembered is a universal human experience. It matters that we should remember the past, including the stories we have not yet told, in order to know how to live together in the present and look to the future.

“50 Monuments in 50 Voices invites responses from people of many different backgrounds and perspectives, presented in a broad range of media. By reading, hearing and experiencing these responses, we hope to better understand the intellectual and emotional responses to these monuments in 21st century Britain,” he added.

The monuments featured include the memorials to nurse Florence Nightingale, the Duke of Wellington, and polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the South Pole Party of the Terra Nova Expedition. The project focuses primarily on the monuments from 1796 to 1916, including monuments from the Napoleonic wars up to the First World War.

50 Monuments in 50 Voices launched on 1 December 2021, with poet Tice Cin’s reflections on Matthew Noble’s monument to Crimean veteran Edward Moubray Lyons. Each week for 50 weeks there will be a new response to a specific monument released on the Pantheons project’s website and social media channels.

Professor Jason Edwards from the University of York and project lead on the Pantheons project said:

“We have been delighted by the enthusiastic response to our call for the 50 Monuments in 50 Voices project which reveals how important, inspiring, challenging, and thought-provoking the cathedral’s monuments are to a broad spectrum of people, both as art objects and as commemorative objects.

“We hope that the Voices will give potential visitors new ways to engage with the monuments, new ways to see them, interpret them, think and feel about them, and understand them”.

For more information and to view the weekly contributions to 50 Monuments in 50 Voices, visit the Pantheons project website here and on the Pantheons project Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.