Hope Triptych sculpture on the Strathclyde campus for COP26 and beyond


The University of Strathclyde is home to one of three public sculptures located in Glasgow for COP26 and beyond, which reflect the scale of the climate emergency.

The 3.5-meter ‘Triptych of Hope’ in the university’s Rottenrow Gardens is part of a series of public art installations created by artist and designer Steuart Padwick to recall the fragility of our environment and our mental health.

The sculpture, which was launched at the United Nations Youth Climate Conference (COY16) held in Strathclyde with the Strathclyde student union, StrathUnion, is an adaptation of the main 23-meter-tall Hope sculpture located in Cuningar Loop, which is part of Clyde Gateway. It features a child neutral in terms of age, gender and race, embracing the surrounding nature and striving for a greener and more hopeful future.

Hope Sculpture

A third sculpture, ‘Beacon of Hope’ is also located at Glasgow Central Station, with visitors being encouraged to access the sculptures via a walking and cycling route that connects the rooms.

Reclaimed steel

The Strathclyde sculpture is made up of three colorful figures, symbolizing the power to come together and is crafted from reclaimed sheet steel with a low carbon cementless concrete foundation.

Like the other works, it is inscribed with messages of hope from great Scottish writers, poets and schoolchildren.

Dr Rodge Glass, author and MLitt Head of Creative Writing at Strathclyde, and fellow speaker and award-winning novelist Jenni Fagan have written posts, as have other Scottish authors Ali Smith and Nick Brooks.

Sculptor Padwick, who has designed several large public art installations in support of mental health, including the ‘Head above Water’ sculpture on London’s South Bank, worked with Mental Health Foundation on all posts and each sculpture has mental health signage nearby to offer a range of support.

He said: “We all need to tackle this new global agenda so that our young people can embrace a hopeful future.
“It’s very simple, why would anyone want to poison their future? “

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, director of the university, said:

The Hope Triptych is a powerful symbol of how we can all work to deliver a net zero and sustainable future. The backdrop of COP26 being in Glasgow allows this sculpture to highlight the need to address the global challenge of climate change.

This piece also serves as a permanent reminder of how our mental well-being is unmistakably linked to the rest of the world.

Professor Sir Harry Burns, Director of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The Hope Triptych reminds us all that even in the darkest of times we can offer a silver lining. for the future. Hope empowers us to act, and by taking action to protect the future of our global environment, we can also protect our physical and mental well-being.

Low carbon

All sculptures are made from low carbon, reclaimed, recycled or sustainable materials, almost all of which are sourced locally, with construction demonstrating a 75% lower carbon impact.

Hope Triptych

Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Director of Sustainability at Strathclyde, said: “We are proud to welcome the Triptych to the heart of our campus and hope that it will become a place where the entire university community can reflect on its message of hope.

“It is fitting that the sculpture, which is crafted from reclaimed metal, is located here as it embodies the University’s commitment to sustainability.”

The main construction partners for the project include the main consultant Ramboll, the main contractor Urban Union (part of the Robertson group), Aggregate Industries (member of Holcim) and Keltbray.

The team has also developed dedicated activities for schoolchildren, giving an overview of the many career opportunities in the construction sector. The games, tasks and discussion topics highlight the important role designers, engineers, builders and scientists play in creating a more sustainable future.

Strathclyde student, former StrathUnion president Kayla Burns, who is also a climate and social justice activist, said:

The Hope Sculpture serves as an amazing visual reminder to all of us of the beautiful and better future we can create.

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