The Power of an Idea, the Power of the Artist

18 September 2014

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red is the stunning installation hand-made ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Why Remember? is the schools campaign linked to this art work.

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The campaign was launched by Lord Jim Knight, the Historic Royal Palaces learning team and children from Primary and Secondary schools on September 16. John Brown, director of operations at the Tower, spoke about how it was ceramicist Paul Cummins who came up with the powerful idea to plant 888,245 ceramic poppies, each one representing a British or Colonial fatality during the First World War; and how it was the set designer, Tom Piper, who had given the installation its dynamic form.

The schools campaign is framed around 3 questions:

  • Why should we remember?
  • Why is 100 years significant?
  • How do you want to remember?

Further information can be found here

At the launch the schools gave performances using movement, text, song and music; giving human story and emotion to the act of remembrance. The installation and the performances are testimony to the power of art to make meaning from and to interpret the past. Why remember? To learn from the mistakes of the past; and to consider what has been lost so that we know better the value of what we have.


Alison Lightbown
, Head of Explorer Programmes at Historic Royal Palaces, will be speaking at the AND Learning Exchange (Schools) on the importance of working with schools and what Museum and Heritage learning brings to education.