College students experience a powerful message during a visit to the iconic Knife Angel
GCSE English Language students at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College recently visited the Knife Angel and spent a week looking at resources by Staffordshire Police, which resulted in them drafting an article about knife crime in the local community.
The Knife Angel is a touring monument making its journey around specific locations across the country to towns and cities that have nominated themselves to host it.
The British Ironwork Centre along with artist Alfie Bradley created this impressive 27ft, 3.5-ton sculpture out of 100,000 confiscated knives from 43 Police forces across the UK.
The Knife Angel highlights the negative effects of violent behaviour and the critical need for change in our society. It also acts as a memorial for those whose lives have been lost as a result of these violent actions.
The statue encourages the surrender of knives and 1,800 of the knives used in the creation of the Knife Angel came from amnesties in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire in 2015 and 2016.
During April, the Knife Angel visited Stoke-on-Trent and, on Tuesday the 26th of April, Sixth Form College students studying GCSE English Language visited the sculpture, located at the Smithfield in Hanley. For the remainder of the week, the group studied resources by Staffordshire Police focused on the #DitchTheBlade campaign which sets out the importance of us all working together to tackle knife crime.
First-year student Rodrigo Marinas-Butt felt the week “illustrated the danger that knives pose in the community” and whilst it was “overwhelming at times” he was pleased to see that the Knife Angel is raising awareness which is having a positive impact on our community.
Ahmad Elkanzi also a first-year student, commented, “The Knife Angel is a strong symbol to use to encourage people to stop carrying knives. It was shocking to look at first when you see each rusting blade. The messages engraved on its wings were very hard hitting too.”
Below are two examples of students’ opening to the articles they have written:
Experiencing the Knife Angel Firsthand
The Knife Angel is a sculpture composed of 100,000 knives: 1,800 of them being from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire (except for the head and hands). It towers at 27 feet tall and symbolises knife crime and helps spread awareness.
Witnessing an Angel
Witnessing the Knife Angel can be overwhelming, seeing all the blades and thinking about the harsh intents they may have had and those who might have been lost due to the blades that are now put on display for everyone to see. It creates a powerful message about the impacts a knife may have on anyone. The sculpture has messages on the blades of love and remembrance.
The Knife Angel is a perfect sculpture symbolising forgiveness and grief as it gives people the chance to hand in their knives that may be used with ill intent (forgiveness), and it helps those that have suffered from knives (grief)…
Reported by James Skelton
The Mystery Behind the Knife Angel
The statue is made from a hundred thousand seized knives:
One hundred thousand knives. One hundred thousand lives. One hundred thousand die. Other than knives, beneath this statue holds a thousand cries.
Every knife holds its own story. It could be to protect yourself; it could be to harm someone on purpose. No matter what the circumstances are, if you get caught with a knife, you can say goodbye to your life.
The story behind the Knife Angel:
Each knife holds a story, and a meaning. The statue emphasises the brutality of knife crimes and the effect it has on people, family, and friends – the whole community. The artist who created this remarkable statue made this to educate the younger generation about the dangers of having a knife and how it can affect your life. Mothers were sick and tired of burying their children because of knife crimes, so the artist decided to make this statue in memory of all the people who have been affected.
I do think this statue will help decrease the level of knife crimes; people who are involved in knives could see this statue which will give them a reality check and make them think is this the life I really want to live?
Reported by Amil Sakhawat
Teacher of English, Lucy Twigg said “The impact the Knife Angel had on their writing was fantastic if not bittersweet. The students learnt a lot about role models and making the right decisions. The work they produced was outstanding and I am very proud of the respectful and mature way they handled this difficult topic.”
To learn more about the Knife Angel and to see where the Angel is going next, visit: https://www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk/show-areas/the-knife-angel-official