• Tuesday, December 07, 2021
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HEADLINE STORY

Sadiq Khan plans to make London’s public spaces look more diverse

London’s public spaces are set to become more diverse (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday (21) unveiled a £1 million ‘Untold Stories’ fund to ensure the city’s diversity is reflected better in its public spaces.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be given to successful community-led organisations to create public displays, including murals and street art, to celebrate London’s diverse history.

The unveiling of the Untold Stories grants programme follows the publication of the first comprehensive audit of public sculpture and monuments across the capital – part of a national research project by Art UK, funded in part by City Hall.

The study reviewed sculptures in public spaces across London over the past 1,000 years. It found that out of almost 1,500 monuments in the capital, more than a fifth are dedicated to named men, while only four per cent are dedicated to named women.

The number of sculptures that feature animals – almost 100 – is double that of named women.

Of a total of almost 50 sculptures of named women, there are only three sculptures dedicated to named women of colour – Noor Inayat Khan and Mary Seacole, Nicola Adams. Just 14 sculptures across the entire city depict named men of colour.

According to Khan, London’s statues, street names and buildings have only shown a limited perspective on the city’s complex history, although “diversity is its greatest strength”.

“I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure our public realm presents a more complete picture of everyone who has made London the incredible city it is today. That’s why I’ve launched a £1 million fund to help the diverse communities who know our city best lead the way in celebrating our capital’s Untold Stories,” he said.

A new partnership with Bridging Histories – to create an interactive platform and enable people to learn more about the city – was also announced.

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