Huge poem unveiled at University

Published on 2 March 12

A new two-storey high poem by renowned writer Lemn Sissay – celebrating the virtues of peace and quiet – has been unveiled in University Place.

“Let There Be Peace” (Manchester 2012) is part of the award-winning Manchester poet’s Poems As Landmarks project.

The first in the series was “Hardys Well”, inscribed on to the popular Manchester pub of the same name in the mid-1990s. Other work to be found in the city include “Flags”, laid over  a mile on The Northern Quarter’s Tib Street, and “Rain” on Oxford Road, near the Contact Theatre - you may pass it every day on your way into University.

The latest addition - right in the heart of your University - provides a tranquil and inspiring backdrop for the large atrium space in University Place. It was painstakingly hand painted over five days by a local Manchesyer sign writer, onto what was previously a blank white wall.

The open-plan atrium space can be used by people across the University, with many students passing through it on their way to visit the accommodation office and use support services.

But the area also provides a haven for quiet personal study or small group work – amid the hubbub of an otherwise busy building, which houses large lecture theatres, the main refectory and dozens of teaching rooms.

Tall glass windows on each corridor of the six story building allow building users to enjoy the 15 metre high poem as they pass it every day.

The poem was officially unveiled by Lemn himself and Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, President of the University. The event was attended by staff, students and members of the Manchester public, including legendary Manchester DJ and writer Dave Haslam.

The commission and installation of the poem was funded by alumni of the University through the Your Manchester Fund, which supports projects across campus to enrich the student experience. Students and staff can put forward proposals to the Fund - look out for further details in the coming weeks.

Lemn Sissay said: “Let There Be Peace stands with my Landmark Poems as testament to the creativity and pride of a world class city with a world class University. Manchester.”

* Coverage on BBC Online
* Coverage on BBC NWT (20 minutes into the show)

Most of the Lemn Sissay’s Landmark poems can be seen at


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