Coat of Hopes Hosted By Bradford Cathedral

in Bradford

Bradford Cathedral is set to host an extraordinary event this June with the arrival of the Coat of Hopes. This remarkable patchwork coat, made up of over 600 blanket patches, embodies a powerful message of community and hope.

It will be on display from Saturday, June 8, 2024, during the Cathedral’s usual opening hours.

A Symbol of Collective Hopes and Memories

The Coat of Hopes is a unique creation that has traveled over 1,500 kilometers, bearing the griefs, remembrances, prayers, and hopes of various individuals and groups. Each patch on the coat represents a personal or communal sentiment related to the climate and ecological crises.

Starting its journey as a blank canvas, patches were added during its pilgrimage from the south coast of England to COP 26 in Glasgow in 2021, a nine-week journey aimed at urging global leaders to commit to a sustainable future.

Journey and Exhibition at Bradford Cathedral

Since its inception, the Coat of Hopes has journeyed across Scotland and back into England, recently completing a segment from Edinburgh to York. Its next stop is Bradford Cathedral, where it will be displayed in the West End tower space from June 8 to June 29. The coat will arrive on the evening of June 7, coinciding with the ‘Tree of Life’ concert, and will be available for viewing during the Cathedral’s regular hours.

Alongside the coat, visitors can expect information boards detailing its journey and significance, as well as a short video presentation. The exhibition will culminate on June 29, after which the coat will continue its pilgrimage to Haworth Parish Church, with an invitation for the public to join in this 18-kilometer walk.

Community Engagement and Artistic Vision

The Coat of Hopes is more than just an art piece; it’s a medium for engagement and reflection. Artist Barbara Keal, who has been instrumental in its journey, emphasizes the coat’s role in focusing on the climate emergency and fostering connections among those facing it.

“The Coat’s work through this ongoing pilgrimage is to offer everyone the invitation to stop and, in wearing it, to focus on the climate and ecological emergency, and our connection to all those others who face it with us. The Coat of Hopes also carries forward, in its fabric, the stories of people and places encountered on its way. It will be so good to meet, walk, sing, and sew with the people of West Yorkshire, and take them with us as we continue on our way – walking towards the end of this emergency,”

Keal says.

The Revd Canon Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts at Bradford Cathedral, shares the excitement of this collaboration with Shine, West Bowling, a mission partner of the Cathedral. He highlights the alignment of this event with Bradford’s upcoming designation as the City of Culture and the Cathedral’s commitment to environmental care.

“We are excited to be collaborating with our mission partner, Shine in West Bowling, in welcoming the Coat of Hopes to Bradford. As we look ahead to being the City of Culture next year, we are planning a whole season of events and exhibitions at the Cathedral that reflect our textile history. The Coat of Hopes is a foretaste of these as well as connecting with one of our passions at the Cathedral, care for the environment,”

Lunn states.

Events and Activities

In addition to the exhibition at the Cathedral, the Coat of Hopes will also be taken to local schools and community groups in Bradford over the three-week period. This outreach aims to broaden the impact of the coat’s message and engage a wider audience in the conversation about climate change and community resilience.

Visitors planning to see the coat should check with the Cathedral beforehand to ensure it is on display, as it may be temporarily exhibited elsewhere in the community. The Coat of Hopes is accompanied by its song, a symbolic piece sung whenever a new person wears the coat. Over 900 people wore the coat on its original journey, and many more have done so since, each time reinforcing the coat’s message and purpose.

Practical Information

The Coat of Hopes will be on display from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, from June 8 to June 29. It will arrive during the ‘Tree of Life’ concert on June 7 at 7:30pm, with tickets available at the event’s Eventbrite page. For more information about the Coat of Hopes and its journey, visitors can refer to the Coat of Hopes website or the Bradford Cathedral website.

Bradford Cathedral invites everyone to come and experience this unique piece of living art, reflect on its message, and participate in the ongoing journey towards ecological and communal healing.

Full press release here.

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