Bar Convent and New Visuality charity launch appeal for origami doves from York public for Christmas installation

Bar Convent office manager Hannah Wilkinson with an origami dove

THE Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre is launching an appeal for origami peace doves to add to a symbolic installation this Christmas.

Maintaining the tradition of creating a meaningful, community-spirited festive display, the Bar Convent, in Blossom Street, York, is partnering with New Visuality, an award-winning York charity that seeks to advance the arts, culture and heritage.

Prompted by the outbreak of war in Ukraine, and countries still at war around the world, the partnership will design a display of origami doves – the universal symbol of peace and love – and is appealing for the public to participate by making their own.

Sister Ann Stafford, superior at the Bar Convent, says: “The world is in need of prayer, especially for peace. The Ukraine has been suffering since February and there are other countries at war too. This is not what God wants for our world.

Ails and Greg McGee: Co-directors of York charity New Visuality

“God sent the Angel Gabriel to ask a young girl called Mary to be the mother of a baby who would redeem the world. That is what we celebrate at Christmas: the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Here the angels came to the shepherds and announced this special news. The message to the shepherds was one of ‘Peace on Earth’.

“This is why, this year, our Christmas theme will be the dove; an enduring and universal symbol of peace and love.”

Sister Ann continues: “We would like to create a meaningful display of origami doves to show our solidarity and support to those countries at war and encourage prayers for peace.

“We are asking for help to create the display, and we would love for schools, community groups, parishes and individuals to be a part of it by contributing their own origami doves.”

Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre. Picture: Gareth Buddo

New Visuality co-director Greg McGee says: “This is an opportunity for people to not only get creative but to see their creativity exhibited in a world-class space.

“We will display all the doves inside Bar Convent; we’ll get professional artists to provide neon designs to hang alongside; we’ll capture footage that will be projected as illuminations at a later date, and everyone who gets involved will be able to say, years from now, they were exhibiting artists at a game-changing art exhibition.”

Co-director Ails McGee concurs: “It’s a perfect moment for inclusivity. For too long, people have seen heritage as something you have to hurt your neck to look up to. This allows the young artists to take ownership of one of the city’s most exciting venues and visit with friends and family and know that they’re a part of it.”

Instructions and an accompanying video is available on the Bar Convent website at

Origami doves should be sent in or dropped off by 5pm on Monday, November 21, to go on display from November 29.