The Cathedral holds what is considered to be the best of four remaining 1215 copies of Magna Carta and the project brief was to deliver a step-change in the interpretative focus given to Magna Carta at the Cathedral, emphasising the themes of legacy and social justice.
hsd worked collaboratively with the Chapter, Fabric Advisory Committee and Activity Planners at Salisbury Cathedral, to develop RIBA Stage II and III proposals to support a Round II HLF application. Professional services offered included interpretative planning, concept and developed design, graphic styling, media brief definition and stakeholder engagement. The scheme won HLF funding in September 2014.
Oriel Wilson, Interpretative Consultant at hsd, said: “Working on the project was a huge privilege for hsd. We have taken a broader approach to the exhibition narrative, offering visitors a fresh experience and understanding of Magna Carta. We have emphasised local Salisbury connections to Magna Carta, as well as including contemporary reflections on Magna Carta’s legacy of justice and liberty today.”
Working on a design & build basis, hsd developed and oversaw the fabrication of the exhibition in time for this year’s 800-anniversary Magna Carta celebrations. A key partnership was formed between hsd and Red Balloon, a media company based within Bournemouth University. This has enabled a number of the immersive film and animation pieces specially commissioned for the exhibition to be produced in conjunction with students, supporting the wider inclusion and activity planning objectives of the scheme.
Viresh Patel, Senior Project Designer at hsd, commented, “Our creative design work has incorporated a range of site-specific media solutions. We have worked carefully within the stunning and sensitive interiors of the Cathedral to develop an exhibition that we believe will appeal to a wider visitor profile.
“An interesting part of our design work was working with Antomic Woodworking (main build contractor) and Archaeovision on a 3D replica frieze as a traditional cast could not be taken due to the sensitivities surrounding the fabric of the building.”
The exhibition will deliver a new interpretative experience for the Cathedral’s diverse visitorship, in particular, attracting more families and group visitors from the local region and supporting lifelong learning. Highlights of the new exhibit include the re-housing of Magna Carta within a fabric ‘chamber’, tactile hands-on activities to give visitors a feel of medieval life, an interactive touchscreen programme exploring the continued fight for justice and rights in the 21st –century and a community-curated ‘My Charter’ film produced with local students.
Images courtisy of Ash Mills Photography