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14-18 NOW is a major cultural programme taking place across the United Kingdom to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Perceptions of the war have been shaped to a great extent by the artists of the time, including poets, writers, painters, sculptors, photographers and film-makers, many of whom served, and who reflected on the war and its effects. Their work had a profound and lasting impact.

Now, one hundred years later, 14-18 NOW is inviting contemporary artists from the UK and around the world to explore the resonance of the First World War today.

Working with cultural organisations across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 14-18 NOW commissions large-scale special projects. These are selected to encourage people from every community to reflect on how the First World War has shaped today’s world and our attitudes to conflict now

14-18 NOW commissioned effect and The Unloved to work on one of its key projects ‘LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER’.

LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER’ is unique war memorial, one made only of words and by thousands of people. Standing on platform one of Paddington station in London is a statue of a soldier reading a letter. Authors Kate Pullinger and Neil Bartlett are inviting everyone in the country to pause, take a moment and write that letter. All the letters published will be published on the LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER website.

We were given the opportunity to handle phase 3 of the website for this thought provoking project, which involved designing and building the ‘Read’ section within the site, the idea behind this was to represent people who submitted a letter in a variety of life situations, taking time out to reflect on the war and share their feelings. The team were so pleased with our concept that they asked us to apply our design to the entire site evolving the existing design (phase 1 & 2).

The site will continue to accept letters until 4 August, which marks the centenary of the announcement by Prime Minister Asquith that Britain had joined the First World War. The site allows visitors to write and post their letters to the Unknown Soldier and all letters will remain available online and will be archived within the British Library. The response to date has been phenomenal with over 16,000 letters being posted by the 25th July and with celebrities like Stephen Fry and the Prime Minster submitting their own letters to the site.

We look forward to working the LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER team to adapt the site to form a year round resource.

“Thanks to you all for understanding what Neil and I were hoping to achieve with the look of the letters, and for getting in there so quickly and delivering so efficiently!! I’m already recommending you to everyone I meet”.

– Kate Pullinger

In addition to the LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER work we have also been appointed to look at other elements of the 14-18 NOW website, to include the LIGHTS OUT site and a year round maintenance contract for the entire site.

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