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Planning permission has been granted for Ulster University’s public art project to mark its 50th anniversary in Coleraine.

Planning permission has been granted for Ulster University’s public art project to mark its 50th anniversary in Coleraine.

Designed by and for the local community under the direction of local visual artist Sara Cunningham-Bell, the sculpture will reflect the University’s unique and continued contribution to the local area.

The 30ft sculpture entitled ‘Towards Tomorrow’ will stand at the Lodge Road roundabout at the entrance to the town.

The project is a partnership with Garfield Weston Trust, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and The Honorable The Irish Society. Additional contributors to date include banah and Murray Architects, with wider business community involvement also underway.

The key material being used for the sculpture is sustainable geopolymer, which has been designed by a local Coleraine-based company banah UK.

Community engagement has been key to the production of the sculpture with the artist Sara working closely with students in the Belfast School of Art, local schools, U3A groups and community groups who have participated in ceramic workshops, contributing to the creation of the sculpture.

Professor Karise Hutchinson, Provost at Ulster University Coleraine, said:

“As we come towards the end of our 50th anniversary celebrations of Ulster University in Coleraine this impressive sculpture will stand as symbol of our past, present and future role in Coleraine and the surrounding area.

This project is a real community endeavour. Renowned local artist Sara Cunningham-Bell has been working hard to deliver our vision with the help of our students, local school pupils, community groups and local businesses.”

Work on the sculpture is well underway with the installation set for June 2019.

The sculpture depicts a student dressed in a graduation gown holding a quadrant representing research, innovation and inventiveness.

Gathered around the figure’s feet are objects reflecting academia, research, music and sporting achievement.

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

“I am delighted to be involved in this exciting project which depicts the vital role Ulster University plays in the local community.

This project is unique in that I have been working closely with local school pupils and community groups. It has been an opportunity to share my passion and expertise with the local community, both young and old, and directly incorporate their artwork into the sculpture. This piece of art is a true collaboration between the community and the university and is something that everyone can enjoy.”