Commemoration and celebration

Commemoration survey 2008 – results summary:
The results from the 321 completed surveys indicate the strong connection Londoners have to the public realm and its civic role for commemoration.

  • London’s public realm was seen by respondents as the best place to commemorate people and events (95%).
  • There was a strong reaction against the idea of decommissioning, although, against this, almost half of respondents were open to the idea of a designated area for newly commissioned memorials in the capital.
  • ‘Context or place’ was the most popular answer when respondents were asked to explain the reason behind their choice of favourite memorial or commemorative place in London.

The outcomes of the survey indicate a number of complexities and conflicting issues between public opinion, current approach and the realities of commissioning.  They show both an enduring public appetite for new commemorative commissions, and a strong opposition to decommissioning, suggesting that once an artwork is in the public realm, it is likely to remain there. The survey also showed that the quality of our public realm and its civic role is important to us, and yet new commemorative commissions are still too often considered in isolation and positioned in hindsight.