The Peace Pole Project

The Peace Pole Project

The idea of Peace Poles originated in Japan in 1955 as a call for world peace following the atomic bomb. Traditional Peace Poles are white and display the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in several languages. Although their words and designs have evolved over the years, they are still seen as internationally recognised symbols of peace on earth.

It’s estimated that by 2023, over a million poles will have been erected across the world by religious and non-religious groups, schools, community groups, artists and others. They appear in many notable places such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the Pyramids, the North Pole as well as everyday places such as parks, schools, town halls, and public squares across the world and now Park Hill Park, Croydon’s Central Park.

We won a community grant from Croydon Commitment in 2019 to create our own version of Peace Poles in the walled garden. However, the project was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. Due to be completed in 2023, the project will connect 12 different communities from across Croydon by creating poles alongside local artists, erected together as a forest of peace in the Walled Garden Project of Park Hill Park.

We hope to add ours to the worldwide map created by the Rotary Action Group for Peace.

This project is being co-ordinated by volunteer Josi Kiss. As an artist & designer herself, and former director of ‘Made in Croydon CIC’, she is working on the Peace Pole project with a number of Croydon artists and community groups.

Each pole is 2-3 m long and is made from recycled wood, sourced through Croydon based Solo Wood Recycling CIC. The design theme and colours are chosen by the community group involved and incorporates three words that mean peace to that group. At a workshop in Park Hill Park’s ranger’s offices, hosted by Josi, the group create their design on three sides of the Peace Pole, assisted by a local artist. The artist then creates their own fourth side using the groups’ design theme, whilst at the same time connecting the designs of all four sides of the pole together.

Once completed, the poles are sealed and securely planted (via a steel spike and concrete) in the Walled Garden. As a finishing touch, each one is topped off with either a brightly coloured bird house or bug hotel surrounded with insect friendly and wildflower planting.

Good Gym team painting their pole for The Peace Pole Project

Since 2021 the following groups and artists have taken part:

  1. Faiths Together in Croydon (FTiC) / artist Josi Kiss
  2. Park Hill Infants School / artist Alastair McKinlay
  3. Croydon Soroptimists International / artist Nicolas Graham
  4. Good Gym Croydon / artist Josi Kiss
  5. MOSS (Makers of Stuff Squad) at Turf Projects / artist Josi Kiss
  6. The South London Inclusive Dance Experience (SLiDE) / artist Alastair McKinlay
  7. Aspire Learning (Special Educational Needs school) / artist Alastair McKinlay

As of July 2023, we have 5 groups to create Peace Poles with in the coming months.

We would love more Peace Poles in Croydon, and Josi has written a step by step How to Create a Peace Pole guide to make it simple for other park and community groups to create their own Peace Pole. If you would like a copy, please email us.

How do Peace Poles build peace?

1. Engage

Peace requires our collective collaboration. Peace Poles bring communities together to engage and celebrate peace.

2. Educate

Peace Poles serve as tools to initiate meaningful conversations around peace education for all ages and as to how to build peace within the whole community.

3. Empower

Peace Poles are an inspiration to others to take action for peace through art, conversations and education. The more we can inspire, the more peace action will follow, creating a more peaceful world for all.

Rotarian Action Group for Peace logo