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Ulster University unveils ‘Towards Tomorrow’- a public art project to mark its 50th anniversary in Coleraine

(Photo: Nigel McDowell/Ulster University)

Designed by and for the local community under the direction of local visual artist Sara Cunningham-Bell, ‘Towards Tomorrow’ reflects Ulster University’s unique and continued contribution to the local area.

Officially unveiled today, the impressive 30ft sculpture stands at Lodge Road roundabout at the entrance to the town. The public art project is a partnership between Ulster University, the Garfield Weston Trust, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and The Honourable The Irish Society.

The sculpture depicts a student dressed in a graduation gown holding a quadrant which represents research, innovation and inventiveness. Gathered around the figure’s feet are objects reflecting academia, research, music and sporting achievement.

Ulster University is proud to be Northern Ireland’s civic university and the ‘Towards Tomorrow’ project has been a true community endeavour. Local Artist Sara Cunningham-Bell worked closely with local school pupils, Ulster University students and community groups to directly incorporate their artwork into the sculpture.

Ulster University undergraduate students were involved in creating the physical sculpture in the artist’s studio and Sara mentored local A Level students and provided opportunities for work experience. All local schools in the area participated in a sculpture tile competition with the winners making bas-reliefs for the sculpture plinth. The multi-generational project also saw local members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) attend workshops with their creations also incorporated into the sculpture plinth.

With the help and support of partners and local businesses including Bell Architects, Moore’s Coleraine, Armstrong Medical, Causeway Chamber of Commerce and Causeway Enterprise Agency the ‘Towards Tomorrow’ vision has become a reality. The key material used for the sculpture was sourced locally. The sustainable geopolymer banahMETA was designed by local Coleraine company banahUK. 

Professor Karise Hutchinson, Provost of Ulster University Coleraine campus commented:

“Over the past year we have been marking our 50th anniversary in Coleraine with a series of events and celebrations. We have reflected on our history of excellence, innovation and breaking boundaries and presented our ambitious plans for the future. This impressive sculpture is our gift to the local community and will stand as a symbol of Ulster University’s past, present and future role in Coleraine and the surrounding area.”

The artist behind this ambitious sculpture, Sara Cunningham-Bell said:

“As a local artist it has been an honour to lead this community project. I had the opportunity to do something quite different and share my passion and expertise with the local community. Through a series of workshops with local school pupils and the local U3A I have directly incorporated their artwork into the sculpture which will stand proudly for years to come.”

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1 comment
  • Regarding the strange statue in celebration of our University, I have no wish to demean the work of all those informed people involved but I struggle to relate to it in any meaningful way. Other people I confess not many in my presence, were totally lost. They felt it was more mystical and strange. I wonder what the ordinary commoner that represents most of us really makes of it. In order for the masses to relate to such works of art I would have thought there would be clearly inserted clues reflecting traditional forms of life. Sorry, but I am just expressing how I feel without being promoted by designers interpretations.

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