The cover of this issue of Leisure Management shows Kate Middleton planting a poppy in the moat of the Tower of London, as part of an art installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.
The installation is by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, who was inspired by a poem of the same name by an unknown soldier. He worked with a team of artists to hand-make the poppies in a studio in Derby, UK and collaborated with stage designer Tom Piper to bring the installation to fruition in partnership with the Tower.
Volunteers planted 120,000 ceramic flowers before the opening on 4 August – 100 years to the day after Britain declared war on Germany. They’ll continue to plant them until the last flower is laid symbolically on Armistice Day – 11 November 2014. A total of 888,246 will be planted, one for each British casualty.
The poppies, which range in size from one to two feet, are for sale on the Tower of London website with all the profits going to a number of service charities.
Web outreach has been organised as part of the project, making it possible for people to dedicate a poppy to a specific person or to make a donation on behalf of someone living or dead. The dedications are searchable on the website for all to see.
The installation was officially opened by Middleton, with Princes William and Harry on 5 August and you can find out more about it on page 8 where we profile Cummins.
This poignant commemoration visually illustrates the human cost of the conflict, bringing home how many people lost their lives. The Tower appears to be bleeding, as the moat gradually fills with scarlet.
For the Tower of London to be the focus of this commemoration places one of the world’s most iconic historic visitor attractions at the heart of a global event and the dignity, creativity, beauty and audacity of the idea is to be celebrated. It’s simply breathtaking and very moving.
With so much conflict in the world, it’s important to remember troubles can subside and we can find enduring peace. Work such as Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – and its glorious setting in what was once a military building – have powerful and positive symbolism.
The tourism and leisure industries have the power to bring people together, to encourage them to be reflective, to share and learn from mistakes, to heal, to celebrate life, to overcome barriers and to build understanding. Many of the world’s problems result from inequality, ignorance and poverty and our industries can help to redistribute wealth, improve quality of life, educate and bring economic opportunity.
And it’s a virtuous circle because tourism and leisure can only thrive where there is peace and stability, so the work we do to grow our industry then, in turn, feeds its success and leads us in an ever more positive direction.
Liz Terry, editor @elizterry