Edward Colston: Project launched for statue replacement

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People's PlatformImage source, People's Platform
Image caption,
The project is being supported by Arts Council England

A new augmented reality project is inviting ideas for what should replace the Edward Colston statue.

The slave trader's monument was thrown into Bristol's floating harbour during a Black Lives Matter rally in June.

A temporary statue of protester Jen Reid replaced it before being removed by Bristol City Council.

Poet Lawrence Hoo has now launched People's Platform which he says will allow those who have "not been heard" to put forward their suggestions.

Image source, People's Platform
Image caption,
Organisers hope children will also share their ideas

Mr Hoo, who set up historical installation CARGO in 2019, says he wants anyone to contribute but particularly schoolchildren.

"The idea came from the fact there is a lot of confusion about what should go on the Colston plinth and this is something we can create in a virtual space," said Mr Hoo.

"It will be a blank canvas that's open to anyone.

"I really hope we hear from Bristol's schoolchildren because their voices are the ones that seem to be missing at the moment and they are the future of the city."

From October people will be able to stand at the empty plinth and use augmented reality from the People's Platform website to bring the ideas to life on their smartphones.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The plinth remains empty after BLM protesters took down the controversial statue

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said he was in no hurry to replace the Colston statue, and Chas Golding, who works for creative agency Hello Charlie and is leading the technical side of People's Platform, said he hoped the augmented reality exhibition could run alongside any permanent replacement.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A statute of Jen Reid was placed on the plinth but later removed by Bristol City Council

"The idea behind People's Platform is 'semi-permanence'," he said. "The conversation about the statue has been happening for years anyway, and this will allow it to continue.

"No matter what level of ideas we get, if they're just sketches or a more fully realised concept, our team will translate that into 3D and it will be placed on the plinth."

People's Platform is being supported by Arts Council England, University of Bristol and other arts organisations in the city.

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