Forward Together

What does 'together' look like and how can it be built in a city such as Birmingham, where we celebrate our diversity but at the same time we need to ensure cohesiveness?

The Forward Together monument shows Birmingham’s greatest asset, our vibrant and multicultural society. The catalyst for this project, it depicts 25 everyday folk, each with their own powerful and personal stories, working in unison to overcome everyday problems.

The monument presents contemporary reimaginations of the female artist and male forger supporting the official coat of arms of the City of Birmingham working with 25 ordinary citizens to ‘drag’ the crest from the ground. This reimagined crest incorporates two famous quotations from the poem ‘We Refugees’ by poet and actor Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘No one is here without a struggle’ and ‘We all came here from somewhere.’ Zephaniah described the monument as a ‘symbol of Birmingham and the Midlands.’ 

Forward Together is about people working together towards a shared future, respectful of their differences, and committed in their shared values and a promise of a better tomorrow.

The monument was designed by Black Country artist Luke Perry, who built it in 14 days in the midst of lockdown alongside Edward Cadbury Honorary Fellow Raaj Shamji, artists Haldin Wright, Pauline Bailey and Natalie Perry.

Luke and the team wanted to respond to the fact that public art lacked inclusion of everyday people and  art that depicts that together we are stronger.

The monument is the inspiration for a programme of activities which seeks to engage the wider community of the West Midlands in thinking about what togetherness means for them, in real and practical ways. The message that ‘we are stronger together’ needs to be more than just a saying, it needs to be explored, outworked and implemented in practical ways in our community. Using the monument as a catalyst, the Forward Together project will host a series of dialogues in various formats from town hall meetings, to podcasts, to private roundtables. To express an interest in taking part in these events or to learn more, contact the team at



‘Forward Together’ today is simply a monument located in Birmingham City Centre with a strong message paying ‘homage to the citizens of our city region; those who were born here and those who came here. It salutes their collective efforts in creating the place we now all call home.
(Jas Sansi, photographer)