Following an extensive community consultation, the sculpture is being designed by artist Antonia Stowe, and will include more than 6 million buttons that have been collected in Kirklees and beyond over the past nine years. It will be designed specifically for the concourse leading to the main entrance of the University of Huddersfield. The sculpture will be a place of contemplation and remembrance, and will provide a focus for educational and artistic activities. It may include sound, words and images as well as three dimensional objects.
The idea of a ‘pledge’ is being considered, committing each place of education and training in Kirklees to an annual visit and involvement in the connected programme. The intention is to provide ‘way markers’ within the plans: information features at local and regional railway stations, in Huddersfield town centre, at Huddersfield New College, at Greenhead Park, and at other important regional sites.
Who is it for?
Everyone, but with a special emphasis on young people aged 12 to 25 living and working in Kirklees and across the north of England.
Why is it important?
Because the Holocaust is still a living possibility.
Because each year there are fewer Holocaust Survivors to tell the story and each generation needs to refresh its understanding of the historical events.
Because racism and prejudice are still with us, both in the media and our communities.
Because it demonstrates how we use the creative arts to speak out for justice and against oppression.
Because we want to ignite a flame of confidence, hope and passion, encouraging people to stand up as individuals and in groups to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
Why is it going to be in Kirklees?
Because people who collected the buttons want to see the 6 million+ installation given a permanent home in its place of origin that will move people and encourage them to take action.
Because the impetus, energy and commitment to the programme of Holocaust education over the past nine years has come mainly from Kirklees Council officers, councillors, local schools, colleges and volunteers.
Because the Holocaust Memorial Day projects and events in Kirklees are held up nationally as innovative and exemplary, especially in their ability to connect the Holocaust to contemporary lives and events.
Because it is important to remember the Holocaust everywhere, including areas like Kirklees where there is a very small Jewish population but significant ethnic, and other, minorities.
The feasibility study was paid for by Kirklees Council and Arts Council England. A further £1.5 million pounds is required to create the permanent memorial and a sustainable connected programme of information, education and live events.
It is an incredibly important opportunity to show our commitment as a diverse authority to challenging prejudice and racism. Each one of us can look at what we learn from the Holocaust about the consequences of excluding others based on their difference from us.Cllr Jean Calvert, Kirklees Council.