By Zoe Kramer
Cardiff University’s Student Union has recently confirmed plans to create a Lennon wall in the SU building.
A Lennon wall is a wall designated for public free speech, from graffiti to sticky notes to art. The original Lennon wall is located in Mala Strana, Prague, and paid homage to John Lennon’s message of peace after his death in 1980. Featuring Beatles lyrics among other assorted graffiti, the original wall conveyed a message of peace and resistance towards Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. It was a celebration of popular music with a message of freedom, music which had been banned for many years.
However, more recently, the Prague wall has been put under surveillance in order to curtail vandalism and obscene artworks, often at the hands of tourists. The wall is now considered an open-air gallery and much of the earlier graffiti has been replaced by commissioned artworks in the spirit of the original peace-centric wall.
Since 2014, many Lennon walls have also sprung up in Hong Kong, often consisting of hundreds of sticky notes. These sticky notes contain messages of support towards the protests as well as some messages in opposition to the protests. They serve as ways for the public to communicate and have their voices heard.
Last term, after an idea was submitted on the Union’s ‘Ideas Hub’, the Student Senate voted to implement a Lennon wall within the Union itself, and it is intended to replicate these ideals of free speech.
SU President Jackie Yip commented that the SU is still in the process of working out the logistics of the wall: “Student Senate has passed a motion seeking the Union to provide a suitable location and permission for a Lennon Wall. This will be set up and installed in the coming weeks.”
Regarding the content of the wall, she said, “We expect that the wall will be used for students to show solidarity with individuals and groups around the world who they feel are facing oppression. There will be guidance provided at the wall highlighting expectations on use and the wall will be regularly monitored to ensure that any offensive content is removed. We are still considering a number of locations that provide good access for students to engage with the wall.
“We sincerely hope that students will use the wall as intended and the Union will reserve the right to remove content or remove access to the wall if it becomes a focal point for aggression or offensive content. Such actions may cause the Union to consider whether additional action may be taken to seek a harmonious campus or to pursue disciplinary action with individuals.”