A very modern memorial

There’s no denying Bristol is a hub for creativity and innovation. So when the world-renowned TEDx came to the city on 11th November, we just had to get involved.

Entitled ‘Great Expectations’, the event brought together speakers from all walks of life to explore our great expectations for the future. Inspirational stories were told to a captivated audience, from tales of unwavering determination and astonishing innovation to impressive and inspiring personal challenges.


  • by Kubiak Creative

Live speakers from a variety of professions were interwoven with the notorious TED Talks videos, which sparked deep discussion within the Bristol crowd, not to mention the Kubiak office!

For us, one speaker stood out from the crowd – Kate Pullinger. Professor of Creative Writing and New Media at Bath Spa University, Kate writes for both print and digital platforms and gives talks and readings frequently.  What caught our attention was her recent project, ‘Letter to an Unknown Soldier’, which is, as she describes, ‘a new type of memorial made by thousands of people.’

Kate was asked to create a digital marketing piece to commemorate the Great War. Her answer to this challenge was a poignant website that transcended the digital world to touch thousands of lives. Here’s her creative vision in her own words, which we at Kubiak think is extraordinary…

“On Platform One of Paddington Station in London, there is a statue of an unknown soldier; he’s reading a letter. On the hundredth anniversary of the declaration of war – in a year crowded with official remembrance and ceremony – we invited everyone in the country to pause, take a moment or two, and write that letter. All the letters the soldier received are published here, creating a new kind of war memorial – one made only of words.

The response was astonishing; by the project’s close, 21,439 letters had been written by all sorts of people. School children, pensioners, students, nurses, serving members of the forces and even the Prime Minister penned their thoughts, all of which were published on the website for everyone to read.

Kate’s website has taken the traditional war memorial – namely cenotaphs, poppies and silence – and updated it for the modern age. She has, if you like, created a ‘new age statue’ that captivates the public in an innovative and thoughtful way.

Her inspiration? People, places and the world around us. This, for Kubiak, is at the heart of creativity and the route to extraordinary vision.


NOTES: The letters are destined for the British Library’s archives, where they’ll remain permanently accessible online, providing a snapshot of what people in this country and across the world were thinking and feeling about the centenary of WW1.

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